sat 04/07/2020

Berlin

Blu-Ray: A Foreign Affair

In the year when we should be reflecting on seventy years of peace in Europe but are too occupied with present day viruses, Brexit, and racism to remember our past, it’s timely that a film about the Allied victors occupying Berlin in 1947 should be...

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7500 review - a turbulent ride

Thank goodness no-one’s going anywhere this year, because 7500 does for planes what Jaws did for bright yellow lilos. Set entirely within the cockpit of a passenger jet, this thriller trims all the fat, leaving a taut nightmare that pulls no punches...

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Blu-ray: The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse

The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960) was Fritz Lang’s final film, resurrecting his Weimar villain in Cold War Berlin and forming a satisfying circle with his career’s German first half, which included Metropolis and M. This ended when Goebbels...

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Eugene Onegin, Komische Oper, OperaVision review - sensual and devastating

Liberated from Pushkin’s salons, ballrooms and bedrooms, Barrie Kosky’s Eugene Onegin bursts out into nature. Tatyana and Olga lounge in the long grass stealing heavy fingerfuls of jam straight from the jar; party-guests run through the trees with...

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DVD: Babylon Berlin Series 1-3

There are bad times just around the corner for the characters of Babylon Berlin, though 1929 is grim enough. Focusing on the moment to take away the easy option of hindsight for the viewer and making its vast line-up, played by actors of supreme...

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Berlin Philharmoniker, Karajan, Digital Concert Hall review - a captivating musical time capsule

When I saw that the Berlin Philharmonic had thrown open the doors to its virtual concert hall the thing that most interested me was to see some Karajan. When I was a child in the mid-1980s I lived for a while in Berlin and my father took me to the...

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Colors performance stream on YouTube review - vocalists on lockdown

The Colors studio in Berlin has quietly created one of the biggest new brands in music from filming back-to-basics performances with laser-focused branding. From international megastars (Billie Eilish, Mac DeMarco) to up-and-comers, singers and...

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Classical Music/Opera direct to home 4 - Rattle in the ether

He may no longer be the Berlin Philharmoniker's Chief Conductor, but by a combination of serendipity and foresight on the orchestra's part, Simon Rattle's last concert in Berlin for the foreseeable future was filmed without an audience and led the...

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Classical music/Opera direct to home: 2 - Boris Giltburg and Igor Levit

Maybe it's not so surprising that the musicians one has long thought of as true Menschen of the profession - that applies to both sexes, of course, and maybe it's just more about the artists in question being natural communicators - have been among...

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Max Raabe, Palast-Orchester, Cadogan Hall review - escapism with irony

Escapism sometimes feels not just useful but necessary. To be carried back, for an evening, to the world of the 1920s/1930s dance band, with foxtrots, pasodobles, crisp starched collars and secco endings, of slick hair and even slicker arrangements...

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Berlinale 2020: Never Rarely Sometimes Always review - raw and unflinching abortion drama hits home

Back in 2017, writer-director Eliza Hittman won over audiences with her beautiful coming-of-age drama Beach Rats. Her latest film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, is a more quietly devastating drama, shifting the focus away from sexual...

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Berlinale 2020: Berlin Alexanderplatz review - a contemporary twist on a classic

Burhan Qurbani isn’t the first director to bring Alfred Döblin’s seminal 1929 novel, Berlin Alexanderplatz, to the screen. First, there was the Weimar Republic era adaptation that Döblin himself worked on. Fifty years later, Rainer Werner...

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