tue 27/07/2021

Italy

Off the Rails review - go for the scenery, not the script

Mamma Mia! hovers unhelpfully over every frame of Off the Rails, a road movie of sorts in which three women make a music-fueled pilgrimage to Mallorca to honour the wishes of a fourth friend, who has died before time of cancer.The difference here is...

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L'amico Fritz, Opera Holland Park review - slow-burning love, Italian style

“If this is love, then why have I fought it?” The stock romantic-comedy prevarications had a Greenwich Village setting in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town at Opera Holland Park less than two weeks ago. Last night, the place was nominally Alsace but the...

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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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Blu-ray: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto) is Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s dark 1970s satire on state corruption. The...

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Pagliacci, Opera Ensemble, Longborough review - stripped down but live

List all the problems that the pandemic places in the way of operatic performance, and you might well end up wondering why anyone would bother. Opera Ensemble, however, have bothered, in the shape of an accomplished and moving production of...

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Judith Herrin: Ravenna review - flashes of order and beauty in a chaotic world

Anyone mesmerized by the mosaics in seven of Ravenna’s eight Unesco world heritage sites may be surprised by the historical scope of Judith Herrin’s wide-roving history. From the gem-like “Mausoleum” of Galla Placidia (425-50) to the flowery meadows...

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Pinocchio review - wooden heart

This seems a perfect project for Matteo Garrone, a director who has found new ways to conjure old Italian dreams, and invests even his most grimly realistic films with fairy tale logic and wonder. Carlo Collodi’s 1883 story is here returned to its...

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Blu-ray: Story of a Love Affair

The tortuous drama of James M Cain’s 1940’s thriller The Postman Always Rings Twice has inspired many films: the slow-burning mix of erotic desire, temptation, murder and guilt was ideally suited to American film noir, so it’s in some ways...

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Ennio Morricone 1928-2020: A lost afternoon in his apartment in Rome

Ennio Morricone was a genius, or as close to that description as makes no odds. If we mean someone who created a unique body of work, one that changed culture, had a distincive style and was massively influential, then Morricone fitted the bill....

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Classical music/Opera direct to home 16 - putting freelancers first

The latest wave of musicians to make their voices heard comes from the freelancers who haven't been able to claim anything so far for their loss of income and of the ability to work together. As a group of top players putting out their plea observes...

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Shutdown: The Virus That Changed Our World, Sky Documentaries review - a chaotic response and an uncertain future

It’s too early for a definitive account of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this was very much a Sky News version of what we’ve been through so far. Although it seems the virus has peaked and we’re entering a tentative stage of partial de-lockdown, the...

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Nathalie Léger: The White Dress review – masterfully introverted

Nathalie Léger’s The White Dress brings personal and public tragedy together in a narrative as absorbingly melancholic as its subject is shocking. The story described by Léger’s narrator – a scarcely fictional version of herself – is of the...

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