tue 19/03/2019

China

DVD: An Elephant Sitting Still

The story behind this first – and final – feature from the young Chinese film-maker Hu Bo is as sad as anything in recent cinema history. Stretching to nearly four hours, An Elephant Sitting Still is a film of almost unremitting bleakness, following...

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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four review - genius of song and dance

The movie musical: money making or true art – or both? This was a programme to sing along to, in the company of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. In this second instalment of Neil Brand’s brilliant three-part history, he...

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Strangers, Series Finale, ITV review - Eastern promise goes unfulfilled

After seeming to spend an interminable amount of time wandering around in a daze and blundering up blind alleys, Strangers finally gathered its wits and cantered towards the finishing tape with a renewed sense of purpose in the final two episodes....

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LFF 2018: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs review - Wild West tales, and Redford and Jackman

The “portmanteau” form of film-making is almost guaranteed to deliver patchy results, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Coen brothers’ six-pack of tall tales from the Old West (screened at London Film Festival), can’t quite avoid this age-old...

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Break of Noon, Finborough Theatre review - irredeemable?

I’ve forgotten my wallet. This is both embarrassing (where did the fun lush part between callow youth and irrefutable senility disappear?) and upsetting because by the interval of the Finborough Theatre’s revival of French symbolist writer Paul...

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Formosa, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Sadler’s Wells review - perfect in every detail

Whatever you do in the next couple of days, be sure to grab a ticket for this wonderfully atmospheric production. A glorious fusion of athletic dance, creative visuals and intoxicating sound, the piece pays tribute to the island of Taiwan, named...

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Sutra, Sadler’s Wells review – a masterpiece 10 years on

Sutra is back, 10 years after its premier at Sadler’s Wells. This is, in fact, the fourth time it has returned to London and such is the amazing popularity of this beguiling show that, in the past decade, it has been performed more than 200 times in...

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Civilisations, BBC Two review - no shocks from Schama

Lord Clark –  “of Civilisation”, as he was nicknamed, not necessarily affectionately – presented the 13 episodes of the eponymous series commissioned by David Attenborough for BBC Two in 1969; it was subtitled “A Personal View”, and encompassed...

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Bruno Maçães: The Dawn of Eurasia review - middle of nowhere

Part travelogue and part broad analysis of the current and future challenges facing the EU, the premise of Bruno Maçães’s new book The Dawn of Eurasia is to “use travel to provide an injection of reality of political, economic and historical...

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Human Flow review - two hours of human misery

Soaring over an expanse of blue sea, a white bird traverses the screen diagonally. Gliding unhindered through the air, it is the embodiment of freedom; by contrast, the movement of people down below is constrained by border crossings and passport...

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Chris Patten: First Confession - A Sort of Memoir review - remembrances of government and power

It’s 25 years since Chris Patten lost his seat as Conservative MP for Bath. The 1992 election was called by an embattled prime minister, bruised by the Maastricht Treaty (remember “the bastards”?). Neil Kinnock had been expected to win, Labour ahead...

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Sunday Book: Yiyun Li - Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life

Yiyun Li’s fiction comes garlanded in praise from authors and journals that don’t ladle it out carelessly, so it feels almost churlish to cavil over a memoir written during the course of two years while the author battled serious mental health...

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