fri 05/03/2021

China

76 Days review - disturbing record of the initial outbreak of Covid-19

It is probable that no other document gets closer to the direct experience of frontline workers and victims of Covid-19 than the documentary 76 Days. It is also true that the film is not very enjoyable. Nor, sadly, does it feel especially unique....

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Blu-ray: Goodbye, Dragon Inn

In his exclusive half-hour-plus interview for distributor Second Run, the affable Tsai Ming-Liang makes a striking admission: “I make very uncommercial films.” Viewers of the extra will most likely have just finished Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Bú sàn) (...

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Album: Emmy the Great - April / 月音

Emma-Lee Moss has a lovely voice. It conveys an ache, a longing, but is sweet too, and well-mannered. Combine this with an aptitude for literate, thought-provoking lyrics and hooky songs, and Emmy the Great is quite the package. It’s a mystery, then...

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Mulan review - Niki Caro's live action take on the '98 classic underwhelms

Whilst New Mutants slips surreptitiously into cinemas, Disney’s live-action spin on Mulan arrives with more fanfare on their streaming platform, even if it does come with a price-tag of nearly £20.Director Niki Caro (Whale Rider...

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Album: Rui Ho - Lov3 & L1ght

A new and very strange kind of pop music has bubbled up over the past half-decade plus. It’s internationalist, rooted in both underground electronics and the most populist styles, bound up with playful but sometimes terrifying ultra high definition...

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Shutdown: The Virus That Changed Our World, Sky Documentaries review - a chaotic response and an uncertain future

It’s too early for a definitive account of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this was very much a Sky News version of what we’ve been through so far. Although it seems the virus has peaked and we’re entering a tentative stage of partial de-lockdown, the...

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#aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, Hampstead Theatre online review – imbued with an urgent new relevance

London’s Hampstead Theatre has recently been very successful in bringing some of its best shows to a wider public – despite coronavirus. This week, it’s the turn of Howard Brenton’s #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, which was first staged at this...

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Valerie Hansen: The Year 1000 review - the first globe-trotting age

In 1018, the Princess of Chen – a member of the Liao dynasty that ruled northern China – was buried in a treasure-filled tomb in Inner Mongolia. Excavated in the 1980s, her grave contained luxury items sourced in Egypt, Syria, Iran, India, Sumatra...

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Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? review - documentary about Springsteen's saxophonist

I must confess the sum total of my knowledge of Clarence Clemons before watching this documentary was that he was, for many years before his death in 2011 at the age of 69, the mighty saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. And what a...

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The Iron Mask review - preposterous multi-national fantasy

Director Oleg Stepchenko’s follow-up to his 2014 yarn Forbidden Kingdom swaps the latter’s Transylvania for a fantastical computer-generated frolic round 18th century Russia and China, as pioneering cartographer Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) sets...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Raining in the Mountain

King Hu is the original master of wuxia or martial arts films – visual feasts of balletic conflict and near-slapstick humour – and this 1979 film is one of his best, though perhaps less well-known than Dragon Inn (1967), A Touch of Zen (1971) and...

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Long Day's Journey into Night review - Chinese art-house stunner

Marketed as a couples-friendly romance, Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey into Night made a massive $37 million on its opening day in China but was subsequently denounced by irate viewers who felt they’d been conned into watching a neo-noir pastiche that...

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