fri 07/10/2022

Communism

The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Rose Theatre review - new production of classic proves a gruelling experience

Brecht – as I suppose he intended – is always a shock to the system. With not a word on what to expect from his commitment to the strictures of epic theatre in the programme, a star of West End musical theatre cast in the lead and a venue...

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Blu-ray: Kuhle Wampe

Kuhle Wampe is a fascinating curio, a blend of documentary, social realist drama and political debate which so bothered the German authorities upon its release in 1932 that they promptly banned it. The censorship board’s justification condemned the...

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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Bliss, Finborough Theatre review - bleak but tender

When Bliss, a new play adapted from an Andrei Platonov short story by Fraser Grace, made its debut in Russia in early 2020, Cambridge-based company Menagerie were told that their production was “very Russian”.I’m no expert on Russian culture, but I...

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Blu-ray: Hungarian Masters

Three films, each restored to glorious 4K, make up Second Run’s Hungarian Masters set. Billed as “essential works by three of Hungarian cinema’s most renowned filmmakers”, each film earns that praise in its own way.Zoltán Fábri’s ...

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Old Bridge, Bush Theatre review - powerful, poetic and profound

Is the Bosnian conflict of 1992–95 the war that Europe forgot? Maybe, although most fans of new writing for the British stage will remember its massacres as the inciting incident for Sarah Kane’s 1995 modern classic, Blasted. Certainly, this...

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Marcin Wicha: Things I Didn’t Throw Out review - the stories told by stacks of stuff

Marcin Wicha’s mother Joanna never talked about her death. A Jewish counsellor based in an office built on top of the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto, her days were consumed by work and her passion for shopping. Only once did she refer to her passing,...

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Myaskovsky Dialogues, Yekaterinburg online review - revival and revelation

The reputation of Nikolai Myaskovsky has long been cast into shadow by the more exportable extroversion of his contemporaries Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Even at their darkest moments, neither of them does Russian gloom quite like Myaskovsky, but...

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Deutschland 89, Channel 4 review - the Wall comes down, what next?

Joerg and Anna Winger’s gripping drama of East Germany, a loose portrait set over the final decade of that country’s existence, has reached its culmination, and this first episode of Deutschland 89 landed us right in the unpredictable maelstrom of...

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Karla Suárez: Havana Year Zero review - maths, phones and mysteries in down-at-heel Cuba

Havana, 1993. Far away, the fall of the Soviet empire has suddenly stripped Fidel Castro’s Cuba of subsidy and protection, while the US blockade strangles options for an economic reboot close to home. State-imposed “austerity” ushers in the “Special...

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Dear Comrades! review - Andrei Konchalovsky exposes the Soviet past

Veteran Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky has gone back to his beginnings for his latest film. The real-life events on which Dear Comrades! is based took place in June 1962, when social unrest over rising prices saw strikes break out in...

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Goran Vojnović: The Fig Tree review - falling apart together as Yugoslavia splits

Seven years ago, at a literary festival in the Croatian port of Pula, I heard Goran Vojnović talk about the vicious petty nationalism that that had poisoned daily life in the republics of former Yugoslavia. At that point the splintering of...

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