tue 28/09/2021

Communism

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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Blu-ray: Cinema of Conflict: Four Films by Krzysztof Kieślowski

Early in The Scar (1976), the opening film in Arrow Academy’s Cinema of Conflict limited edition quartet, Stefan Bednarz (Franciszek Pieczka) requests a partial reshoot of what is to be his first interview as the newly appointed director of a large...

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Mr Jones review - a timely testament to journalism

While the horrors of Hitler’s rule are well documented, Joseph Stalin’s crimes are less renowned, so much so that in a recent poll in Russia he was voted their greatest ever leader. This chilling fact made acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland feel...

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Filmmaker Agnieszka Holland: 'Without journalism, democracy will not survive'

Agnieszka Holland is one of Europe's leading filmmakers. Growing up in Poland under Soviet rule, her films have often tackled the continent's complex history, including the Academy Award-nominated Europa, Europa, In Darkness and Angry Harvest. In...

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Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer, Hampstead Theatre review - it's game over for this chess play

We’ve had Chess the musical; now, here’s Chess the play. Tom Morton-Smith, who has experience wrestling recent history into dramatic form with the acclaimed Oppenheimer, turns his attention to the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavík, in which...

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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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The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson, BBC Four review – the future we’ve left behind

John Simpson remains the BBC’s longest serving foreign correspondent. Here, he returns to the biggest moment of his career. This personalised retelling of the collapse of the Berlin wall encompasses fond remembrance, factual detail and the...

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Jung Chang: Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister review – China's century in three women's lives

In 1930, a couple of romantically involved Chinese expats in Berlin – both revolutionaries in their own way – went on a farewell date. One of them, Deng Yan-da, was due to return home to continue his clandestine political work. The pair saw Marlene...

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