tue 13/04/2021

France

Berlinale 2021: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn review – cheeky, timely and very provocative

The Romanian director Radu Jude invariably serves spicy satire that challenges his compatriots to face historical crimes and present failings. The latest is an erudite and daft, raunchy and knockabout, endlessly provocative film that, for sake of...

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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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Joseph Andras: Tomorrow They Won't Dare to Murder Us review - injustice and tenderness in the Algerian War

Joseph Andras wastes no time. “Not a proud and forthright rain, no. A stingy rain. Mean. Playing dirty.” This is how his debut novel kicks off, and it’s a fitting start for his retelling of the arrest, torture, one-day trial and subsequent execution...

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Album: Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains - Banane Bleue

Frànçois Marry’s sixth album as Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains evokes warm days spent lounging in fields of clover reflecting on friendship, places visited and journeys which could be undertaken. Banane Bleue’s 10 tracks are unhurried and...

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Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn’t elaborate. Produced in Belarus, it’s a Holocaust drama based on a novella by the veteran East German screenwriter/director...

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Blu-ray: Liberté

Catalan director Albert Serra’s interest in late 18th century France is well established – his previous film was The Death of Louis XIV – but the title of his new one has precious little to do with the triadic revolutionary slogan that swept away...

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Annie Ernaux: A Man's Place review - an intimate portrait, necessarily incomplete

As much as we would like it to, writing can never fully recapture someone who is gone. This we learn all too effectively in A Man’s Place by Annie Ernaux, arguably one of France’s most important living authors. The text, released in an updated...

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Blu-Ray: La Haine

The BFI has done an excellent job of giving La Haine the 4k restoration treatment under the vigilant eye of the film’s cinematographer, Pierre Aïm. From the opening image of planet earth being torched by a slo-mo Molotov cocktail to the...

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Little Wars, Union Theatre online review - richly emotional, but formulaic

Feuds make good theatre. I mean, look at the furious 1970s spat between playwright Lillian Hellman and critic Mary McCarthy. Yikes. So far, I’ve counted three recent stage versions: in 2002 there was Nora Ephron’s Imaginary Friends, followed in 2014...

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Julia Bullock, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review – bewitching dreamscapes

Nobody would wish it this way, but orchestras playing on a stage specially built-up for distancing to a handful of invitees have never sounded better in the Royal Festival Hall. The Philharmonia’s outgoing principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is a...

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Summer of 85 review - a tender, tragic coming-of-age

Intriguingly, Summer of 85 could have been François Ozon’s very first film. Back in the mid-Eighties the French director was much taken by Dance on My Grave, the YA novel by Aidan Chambers on which it’s based, its youth-romance, coming-of-age story...

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Blu-ray: Beau Travail

This fifth feature from Claire Denis must surely be the director’s most sheerly concentrated film. Scaling back narrative and dialogue alike – story elucidation relies mainly on intermittent retrospective voice-over narration – Beau Travail engages...

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