thu 26/11/2020

Expressionism

Blu-ray: Waxworks (1924)

Stylistically, Waxworks (1924) was the apogee of German Expressionist cinema in that it was the last pure distillation of the form, in which visual distortion, chiaroscuro, exaggerated staccato acting, and nightmarish atmosphere collectively evoked...

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Blu-ray: The Golem

A lumbering, barrel-chested hulk with a weirdly Ancient Egyptian wedge of hair, the eponymous clay monster of Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s The Golem: How He Came Into the World compensates for his limited intelligence with brute strength and a...

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theartsdesk in Bergen: Gothic shocks and Romantic treats

Ole Bull sounds like some legendary gun-slinging hero of the Wild West. A legend he definitely was, and he spent long enough in the US to found a migrant community in Pennsylvania. But the Norwegian virtuoso (1810-1880) made his name not with a...

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Williams, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall Manchester review - vision before gloom

The BBC Philharmonic have given memorable accounts of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4 in Manchester before – notably conducted by Günther Herbig in 2010 and by John Storgårds in 2014 – but surely none as harrowingly grim as under Mark Wigglesworth this...

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Matthew Holness: 'I wanted to make a modern silent horror film'

Watching Matthew Holness’ debut feature Possum, you’d be forgiven in thinking he was a tortured soul. Lead character Phillip (played by Sean Harris, pictured below) is a lean marionette of a man, prone to horrific flights of fantasy involving a...

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Machinal, Almeida Theatre review - descending into darkness

The American playwright/journalist Sophie Treadwell's 1928 expressionist drama crops up every so often in order to allow a director to leave his or her signature upon it, so the first thing to be said about Natalie Abrahami's Almeida Theatre revival...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - symphonies of death and new life

In the 27 years since he first conducted Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Sir Simon Rattle has steadily integrated its moodswings and high contrasts into a reading of a piece which now feels more than ever like the work of a man engaged in a form of...

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Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Colours had meanings for Emil Nolde. “Yellow can depict happiness and also pain. Red can mean fire, blood or roses; blue can mean silver, the sky or a storm.” As the son of a German-Frisian father and a Schleswig-Dane mother, Nolde was raised in a...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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Salome, Royal Opera review – lurid staging still packs a punch

David McVicar may seem too gentle a soul for the lurid drama of Strauss's Salome, but his production, here returning to Covent Garden for a third revival, packs a punch. He gives us plenty of sex and violence – or at least nudity and blood – but...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Vampir Cuadecuc

Pere Portabella’s remarkable Vampir Cuadecuc is almost impossible to classify. It may have been filmed on the set of Jesús Franco's 1970 Hammer horror film El Conde Dracula – with the obviously enthusiastic participation of a cast led by...

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Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

I can’t pretend to like the work of Fahrelnissa Zeid, but she was clearly an exceptional woman and deserves to be honoured with a retrospective. She led a privileged life that spanned most of the 20th century; born in Istanbul in 1901 into a...

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