tue 31/01/2023

France

Women at War, Netflix review - contrasting stories entwine during the chaos of World War One

A sprawling French-made drama set in the early days of the First World War in 1914, Women at War tells the stories of a quartet of female protagonists as they struggle to make sense of the mayhem which suddenly engulfs them. The series – its French...

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Belcea Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - a riveting new string quartet

I am proud – if surprised – to continue to be pretty much a lone voice in the wilderness singing the praises of the composer Guillaume Connesson (b.1970), whose substantial new string quartet “Les instants retrouvés” was heard at the Wigmore Hall on...

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Nick Hasted's Top 10 Films of 2022

Audrey Diwan’s French abortion drama Happening was the year’s hardest but most luminescent watch, as a fiercely intelligent young woman fights for her future survival as an artist in 1963, when illegal abortion requires wartime subterfuge and bloody...

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Trans Musicales Festival 2022 review - vibrant eclecticism rules in Rennes

It’s Friday night and I’ve finally arrived at 43-year-old French music festival institution Trans Musicales. Due to some dreadful nonsense, it’s taken a 12-hour train journey, two baguettes, one short Stephen King novel, six large beers, a tumbler...

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Charlotte review - the story of artist Charlotte Salomon, murdered in Auschwitz

“Only by doing something mad can I hope to stay sane,” says Charlotte Salomon (voiced by Keira Knightley) to her lover, Alexander Nagler (Sam Claflin). “I feel it inside me, the same demon that’s haunted so many in my family.”Both are Jewish...

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Hold Me Tight review - Vicky Krieps mesmerises

Mathieu Amalric's Hold me Tight (Serre moi fort) keeps springing surprises. Perhaps the first is the title. It sounds like an invitation to settle down with the popcorn to enjoy a light French film dealing with intimacy. Not even...

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Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Wigmore Hall review - nine haute cuisine courses, twelve happy musicians

How do they do it? Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective ticks all the boxes of diversity and reaching out to all ages without needing to draw attention to it all. The answer is quite simple: the repertoire – in Saturday’s morning and afternoon concerts,...

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Blu-ray: The Strange Door

Under the umbrella Maniacal Mayhem, 1951's The Strange Door has been released on Blu-ray by Eureka Classics with two scarier Boris Karloff movies, The Invisible Ray (1936) and Black Friday (1940). It features one of Karloff’s least maniacal turns –...

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Yiyun Li: The Book of Goose - fame, reality and two teenage French girls

The Book of Goose, Yiyun Li’s fifth novel, is the gripping story of two teenage French girls and their intense, uneven friendship.On the surface, at least, it’s more accessible and light-hearted than some of her fiction, such as The Vagrants, an...

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Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022)

Paris, 16 March 1960 – and cinema ruptured. The first public screening of the 29-year-old Jean-Luc Godard’s debut feature, A Bout de Souffle, breathed life into an arthritic medium, announcing a new world of possibility.Its story, of a French petty...

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Her Way review - turning tricks for her son's sake

Marie (Laure Calamy), the efficient fortysomething sex worker protagonist of the French drama Her Way, doesn’t have life easy, but she calmly works the badly paid street corners of Strasbourg because she can choose her clients, some of them long-...

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The End of Eddy, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - powerful but lacking compassion

Those working-class people really are appalling, aren’t they? Racist, sexist, definitely homophobic, violent too. Thank god our young hero can escape their clutches into the safety of a nice, bourgeois acting academy where he can be his true self....

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