thu 12/12/2019

Iran

Taxi Tehran

Taxi Tehran is Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s third film since the 2010 prohibition that, among other restrictions, forbade him from working in cinema for 20 years. While its very existence may count as an achievement in itself, much more...

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Closed Curtain

Any consideration of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain will inevitably be through the prism of how it was made, and the director’s current position in his native country. It’s his second work, after This Is Not a Film from 2011, to be...

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The President

What’s it really like to be a dictator? Or president, if we put it more circumspectly, as Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf does in his new film of that name – though this President clearly believes he’s of the “for-life” variety, if not even a...

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Xerxes, Longborough Opera

One hardly expects operas about historical figures to bother much with the actual facts of their lives. But Handel’s Xerxes must nevertheless rank as an extreme case. Instead of bridging the Hellespont and invading Greece with a million men – a...

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A skateboarding female vampire in a striped Brêton top. A James Dean look-alike with a junkie father. A prostitute as confessor. Spaghetti western-influenced music. The black-and-white A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a smorgasbord of attention-...

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Manuscripts Don't Burn

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s Manuscripts Don’t Burn will raise many questions for its viewers, not least the practical one: just how was it made at all?Rasoulof has had plenty of problems with the regime in his native country over the years...

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A Story of Children and Film

Every cinephile is going to have a personal perspective on Mark Cousins’ A Story of Children and Film, an engrossing, affectionate, and frequently revelatory look over how aspects of childhood, and children, have been portrayed on screen over more...

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Homeland, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4

Homeland's coming home? Well not exactly, but the conclusion to this crazy, mixed-up third series did suddenly feel as if the writers had finally managed to express something that they'd been groping towards for the last three months. Namely, if the...

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Arab Nights, Soho Theatre

Given the present Middle East uproar, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that contemporary versions of The 1001 Arabian Nights are sprouting everywhere. With their variety of stories and roots in countries undergoing such political upheaval...

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Light from the Middle East: New Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum

This compilation of nearly 90 photographs by 30 photographers from 13 different countries of the Middle East is literally and metaphorically illuminating. The Paris-based Iranian photographer Abbas puts it thus: “I write with light.”Framed in three...

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Argo

No one can resist a story based on declassified truth and in Argo’s case, no one should. The broad strokes of this so-ridiculous-it-must-be-true tale involve six American hostages who escape the siege of the Iranian Embassy in 1979. They hole up at...

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Shappi Khorsandi, Soho Theatre

If the first rule of being a novelist is to write about what you know, then the first rule of comedy is to be yourself. And in that respect Shappi Khorsandi starts with an advantage, as being herself means she's warm and likeable and the audience...

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