mon 20/11/2017

Iceland

Heartstone review - huge visuals, close-up performances

Icelandic writer-director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson has made an impressive feature debut with this story of crossing the threshold from childhood to young adult experience. Heartstone acutely and empathetically catches the path from innocence to...

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Iceland Airwaves 2017 review - political change at Reykjavík's major music festival

Óttarr Proppé, the stylish chap pictured above, was appointed Iceland’s Minister of Health in January this year. Last Saturday, when the shot was taken, he was on stage in his other role as the singer of HAM, whose invigorating musical blast draws a...

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Kuusisto, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - Icelanders fare better than Sibelius

London orchestras do communicate with each other, sometimes at least, when it comes to programming. It can’t have been a coincidence that on Wednesday we had one Finnish chief conductor, Sakari Oramo launching his BBC Symphony Orchestra Sibelius...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Oh dear. I thought that this was going to be one of those exciting fantasy films that livened up TV on weekend afternoons in my childhood, and that there would be kitschy special effects and ludicrous dialogue. But no, it's not 20,00 Leagues under...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Ólafur Arnalds

We’ve been here before. Not to exactly the same territory, but to a neighbouring space in the same time frame. Last year, theartsdesk looked at a reissue of 2007’s Room to Expand, the first widely available album by the minimalist pianist Hauschka....

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DVD/Blu-ray: American Gods

Neil Gaiman understood the country where he’d landed as an immigrant in the Nineties by writing American Gods. His first substantial novel after his crowning comics achievement, The Sandman, mined an idea of infinite plenitude: if every immigrant...

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Sunday Book: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir - The Legacy

Anyone who's followed Yrsa's earlier novels, many of them featuring down-to-earth attorney Thora Gudmundsdóttir as heroine, will value her superb evocation of very distinct and haunting parts of Iceland - the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Heimaey island,...

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Sunday Book: Neil Gaiman - Norse Mythology

Odin the All-Father, “lord of the slain, the gallows god”, has two ravens that “perch on his shoulders and whisper into his ears” as he wanders in disguise around the world. They are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. Over many centuries, the...

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Case, Channel 4

Another night, another woman battered/strangled/raped/murdered. On Sunday a pregnant woman was brutally slapped about by her husband in Call the Midwife, while Emily Watson’s character in Apple Tree Yard was the victim of a punishment rape. And so...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Iceland Airwaves 2016

On the final night of Iceland Airwaves 2016, Polly Jean Harvey and her band are ranged in a line just inside the edge of the stage constructed inside Valshöllin, a sports hall south of Reykjavík’s city centre. The festival’s five days have climaxed...

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Björk, Royal Albert Hall

I'll be straight: I wasn't sure what to expect at this show, because I've never been a Björk fanatic as such. I loved – and saw live – The Sugarcubes as a teenager, I've raved to her Nineties Debut and Post era tracks, and I've enjoyed plenty...

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CD: Jóhann Jóhannsson - Orphée

Despite culminating with “Orphic Hymn”, a musical setting of Ovid’s text, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Orphée is not a literal interpretation of the Orpheus myth. Instead, the album uses retellings of the story – quoting the press release – to inspire “a...

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