thu 02/04/2020

Israel

Christos Tsiolkas: Damascus review - the author of The Slap goes biblical

To Christos Tsiolkas fans expecting something in the vein of his riveting bestsellers The Slap and Barracuda, the sixth novel by this Australian writer may come as a shock. We're not in Melbourne any more. Damascus is a serious historical enterprise...

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DVD: The Cakemaker

The Cakemaker is Ofir Raul Graizer’s debut feature, and the film must somehow reflect the parabola of the Israeli-born director's life: it’s set between Berlin and Jerusalem, the two cities apparently closest to him, and one of its main...

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CD: El Khat - Saadia Jefferson

Israel isn’t generally kind to the Jews who have come from somewhere other than eastern Europe and Russia. Music has provided one of the avenues through which this despised and often culturally Arab minority has been able to make itself recognised....

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Foxtrot review – controversial movie dances to an ugly tune

Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot uses irony and visual poetry to condemn his nation’s militarism. Twenty months after the movie won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice, it opens in the UK trailing a divisive history. When it first emerged in 2017...

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The Little Drummer Girl, BBC One, series finale review - Le Carré drama comes to the boil at last

Was The Little Drummer Girl commissioned by algorithm? Those who liked The Night Manager might reasonably have been supposed to enjoy another le Carré adaptation. The two dramas had DNA in common. Both steered away from the Cold War, and told of a...

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The Little Drummer Girl, BBC One, review - latest Le Carré just passes audition

When after six novels John Le Carré turned away from the Cold War, he turned towards another simmering post-war conflict, between Israel and Islam. The Little Drummer Girl was published in 1983, and filmed a year later with Diane Keaton and Klaus...

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Turner Prize 2018, Tate Britain review - a shortlist dominated by political issues

I’ve just spent four hours in the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain. The shortlisted artists all show films or videos, which means that you either stay for the duration or make the decision to walk away, which feels disrespectful. For unlike...

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Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century review - a sceptic's optimism?

The bestseller Sapiens (2011, first published in English in 2014) by the hitherto little-known Israeli academic Yuval Noah Harari has sold enormously well, and justly so: recommended by Bill Gates no less, it has become a worldwide publishing...

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Returning to Haifa, Finborough Theatre review - a bumpy journey into the Arab-Israeli past

This year the state of Israel marks its 70th birthday. Which means it will also be the year Palestinians remember the Nakba, the catastrophe, the mass dispossession. With that in mind, the Public Theater in New York commissioned this adaptation of a...

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DVD: In Between

In Between didn’t get nearly enough attention on its cinema release in the UK last autumn, hampered perhaps by its nothingy title and a synopsis that can make it sound like it will be a worthy evening out when in fact it’s anything but. One of the...

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Nicholas Blincoe: Bethlehem - Biography of a Town review - too few wise men but remarkable women

Suitably enough, Nicholas Blincoe begins his personal history of the birthplace of Jesus with a Christmas pudding. He carries not gold, frankincense and myrrh but this “dark cannonball” of spices, fruit and stodge as a festive gift to his girlfriend...

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'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period...

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