sun 24/01/2021

Holocaust

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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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Bristol Old Vic/Kneehigh/Wise Children online review – ravishing vision of Chagall's early life

One of Marc Chagall’s last commissions was for a stained-glass window in Chichester Cathedral, which channelled his characteristically exuberant spirituality into a response to the verse from Psalm 150, “Let everything that has breath praise the...

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Blu-ray: The Painted Bird

Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird (Nabarvené ptáče in Czech) comes with a lot of baggage, a critics’ screening at the 2019 Venice Festival punctuated by mass walkouts but finishing with a ten-minute standing ovation. Then there’s the supposedly...

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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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Rose, Hope Mill Theatre online review - a performer at her peak

Solo plays and performances are, of necessity, the theatrical currency of the moment, whether across an entire season at the Bridge Theatre or last week at the Old Vic in the too briefly glimpsed Three Kings, starring a rarely-better Andrew Scott....

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'I loved being a dresser': Sir Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning writer, dies at 85

Ronald Harwood, who has died at the age of 85, was best known for his play about tending to the needs of the larger-than-life actor-manager Donald Wolfit. The Dresser, adapted by Harwood, went on to become a great film success starring Tom Courtenay...

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Alex Halberstadt: Young Heroes of the Soviet Union review - a familial history of the twentieth century

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a collective examination of its past, with Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich at the helm. Young Heroes of the Soviet Union looks back at the USSR through the lens of the personal, much like...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Distant Journey

Czech director Alfréd Radok’s Distant Journey (Daleká cesta) has an unprecedented place in the history of cinema of the Holocaust. Initially released in March 1949, it has been called the first fictional treatment of the Jewish experience during the...

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'You’re Jewish. With a name like Neumann, you have to be'

It was during my first week at Tufts University in America, when I was 17, that I was told by a stranger that I was Jewish. As I left one of the orientation talks, I was approached by a slight young man with short brown hair and intense eyes. He...

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Confronting Holocaust Denial with David Baddiel, BBC Two review - grappling with the incomprehensible

It’s all in the timing. Here was David Baddiel beginning a stand-up turn at a gig in Finchley. A Holocaust survivor gets to heaven, and God asks for a Holocaust joke. God says that his joke isn't funny, and the survivor replies “Well, I guess you...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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Belsen: Our Story, BBC Two review - inside the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz reminds us once again of the unfathomable horror of the Holocaust. The revival of anti-semitism in our own country and elsewhere is why it’s worth telling these terrible stories again and again....

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