sun 18/04/2021

documentary

This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, Netflix - the last word (for now)

It’s no surprise that 30 years on, the individuals most closely connected to the world’s biggest art heist are showing their age. Anne Hawley was a young woman just months into her directorship of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston when...

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Queen Elizabeth and the Spy in the Palace, Channel 4 review - how the Fourth Man burrowed deep into the British Establishment

Director of the Courtauld Institute, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and a particular expert on the art of Poussin, Sir Anthony Blunt spent decades at the epicentre of the royal family and the British Establishment. He was, as the so-called “Fourth...

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Stray review - a delightful portrait of a dog named Zeytin

It’s a dog’s life, this lockdown; if only I could meet my friends whenever I want to and roam around freely without obeying these annoying restrictions! Stray is a documentary about the street dogs of Turkey in which film-maker Elizabeth Lo...

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My Father and Me, BBC Two review - Nick Broomfield's moving voyage around his family

Nick Broomfield made his first film 50 years ago, and his career over those five decades (and some three dozen works) has been as distinctive, and distinguished as that of any British documentary maker. It has ranged from early films on British...

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Drive to Survive, Season 3, Netflix review - the agony and the ecstasy of the 2020 F1 campaign

The 2020 Formula One season was all set to start in Australia last March when it was derailed by the Covid emergency. The F1 organisers insisted that they’d get the racing back on track somehow, and what sounded like foolhardy bravado was justified...

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Berlinale 2021: Petite Maman review – magical musings on the parent-child relationship

Hot on the heels of her 2019 triumph Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma’s fifth feature continues a perfect track record; this is yet another gorgeous and perceptive film, told from a determinedly female perspective but with a wisdom...

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Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche review - memorialising her mother

There was always something a little diffident about teenage Marion Elliott-Said, who created her on-stage persona Poly Styrene after putting together her band X-Ray Spex from a small ad in the back pages of the NME in 1977. Male fans and the music...

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Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry, Apple TV+ review - sprawling account of the singer's rise to superstardom

The Billie Eilish story is a paradigm of pop music and marketing, 2020s-style. Eilish’s instinctive talent became evident when she was barely into her teens, and she flourished with the support of a close-knit and musical family. But the club-gigs-...

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Assassins review - unravelling the bizarre death of Kim Jong-nam

The 2017 killing of Kim Jong-nam, older half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, was a chilling expression of merciless Pyongyang realpolitik. Labyrinthine planning by a team of North Korean undercover agents went into the attack, carried...

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The Capote Tapes review - lush portrait of the louche writer

"A candied tarantula" is one of the many great descriptions of Truman Capote that light up this conventionally made but enjoyable profile of the American author most famous for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. Written and...

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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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Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain, BBC Two review - documentary fails to deliver

What a television programme gets called is not always the choice of the people making it, but it certainly is the choice of its broadcaster. In the case of Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain, the relevant people at the BBC may come...

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