thu 17/08/2017

history

Matthew Dunster on adapting 'A Tale of Two Cities'

When you are adapting a novel like A Tale of Two Cities, it's a privilege to sit with a great piece of writing for a considerable amount of time. You also feel secure (and a bit cheeky) in the knowledge that another writer has already done most of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash’s remarkable 1991 film tells the story of the Peazant family, the descendants of freed slaves who live on the Georgia Sea Islands, an isolated community on the South-Eastern seaboard of the USA, more in touch with African traditions than...

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Jonathan Miles: St Petersburg review - culture and calamity

Talk about survival: St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, now again St Petersburg, all the same city, has it nailed down. It was founded through the mad enthusiasm, intelligence, determination and just off-the-scale energy of Peter the Great in 1703...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Sorrow and the Pity

All the accolades heaped onto this documentary in the near 50 years since it was made are wholly deserved. Over 251 minutes, Marcel Ophuls weaves together an extraordinary collection of interviews and archive to tell the story of France during the...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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John Man: Amazons review - the real warrior women of the ancient world

As Wonder Woman hits screens worldwide, the publication of a book that explores the myth and reality of the Amazon seems timely. The latest of John Man’s works of popular history is opportunistic enough to end with a fascinating account of the...

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Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row, review – how history repeats itself

Immigration…immigration… immigration… that’s what we need! Not the words of record-breaking, tap-dancing trumpeter Roy Castle, rather it’s the gist of a Times leader from 1853 (admittedly, fairly heavily paraphrased). It was just one of the eye-...

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A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery review - grime does pay

Why is dust so fascinating yet, at the same time, so repellent? Maybe the fear of choking to death in a dust storm or being buried alive in fine sand provokes a visceral response to it. My current obsession with dust comes from having builders in my...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Naked Civil Servant

For those of us still mourning John Hurt, this lovely HD restoration of the actor’s favourite film is a real joy. Made in 1975 for Thames Television, it’s stood the test of time remarkably well. Funny, moving and often cited as a turning point in...

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Common, National Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duff fails to ignite

History is a tricky harlot. She is bought and sold, fought for and thrown over, seduced and betrayed – and always at the mercy of the winners. In a general election week, it is hard to deny that still now we are the progeny of the possessive...

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DVD/Blu-ray: My 20th Century

Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s 1989 debut feature My 20th Century (Az én XX. Századom) opens on a grandiose scene depicting the first public demonstration of Thomas Edison’s electric light-bulb. We see the wonder of onlookers as they ...

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Peter Ackroyd: Queer City - London's gay life over two millennia

2017 is proving the year of celebrating queer. To mark 50 years of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, we are enjoying a host of cultural and historical reminders, from Tate Britain to the British Library, and many locations in between, all...

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