sat 21/09/2019

China

The Farewell review - warmly comic culture-clash

The cancer weepie is knocked off its tear-jerking axis by Lulu Wang’s sly and heartfelt autobiographical tale. Drawing on the first-generation immigrant, internal culture-clash she experienced after her Chinese grandmother’s terminal diagnosis, and...

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The King of Hell’s Palace, Hampstead Theatre review - Chinese scandal freezes the blood

New artistic directors are popping up all over British theatre. Every week seems to usher in a refreshingly versatile talent taking the reins of a major theatre. Tonight, veteran new writing advocate Roxana Silbert, the new head of Hampstead Theatre...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Ash Is Purest White

Chinese director Jia Zhangke has made a masterful career from following the changes that his native land has undergone in the 21st century, catching the speed of its transition from old ideological order to the relentless dynamism of subsequent...

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Chimerica, Channel 4 review - fake news, true drama

Chimerica is a stage-to-screen adaptation that has certainly kept up with the times. When it opened at the Almeida back in 2013 – a West End transfer followed, along with an Olivier award for Best New Play – Lucy Kirkwood’s drama was (very...

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Pah-La, Royal Court review - complex ideas, wild storytelling

Theatre can give a voice to the voiceless – but at what cost? Abhishek Majumdar, who debuted at the Royal Court in 2013 with The Djinns of Eidgah – about the situation in Kashmir – returns with his latest play, Pah-La. Just as his debut was...

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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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