sat 28/05/2022

Japan

Blu-ray: In the Realm of the Senses

Publishing this review of In the Realm of the Senses the day after Valentine’s Day feels very strange. Nagisa Ōshima’s 1976 film is about sex and obsession. Sexual games that start with insatiable lust progress to hitting, a choking to...

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Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy review - a trio of tales from Japan

With some films it’s all about the editing, a brisk parade of striking images accompanied by a kinetic score.  And then there are films like Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and the Oscar-nominated Drive My...

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Blu-ray: Hiroshima mon amour

Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Alain Resnais’s first feature-length film, followed a number of remarkable short documentaries, the most famous of which was Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog, 1956), a haunting evocation of Nazi terror, and still a...

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Album: Boris - W

This is just boggling. The Japanese rock trio Boris have been together in the same lineup for over a quarter of a century – and it’s longer still since their original formation – but they’re outdoing themselves record by record. Their last record,...

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Drive My Car review - talk therapy on the road

In the first 35 minutes of Hamaguchi Ryūsuke’s three-hour Drive My Car, which the Japanese director adapted with Oe Takamasa from a story in Murakami Haruku’s Men Without Women collection, the successful actor Kafuku Yūsuke (Nishijima Hidetoshi)...

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Invasion, Apple TV+ review - sci-fi epic or a pile of space junk?

Conceived on a global scale to depict the enormity of an alien menace from outer space, Apple's new series Invasion has grand ambitions, but crash-lands like a pile of space junk. After a few hours of this, waiting for something to happen, you’ll be...

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Isamu Noguchi, Barbican review – the most elegant exhibition in town

Isamu Noguchi may not be a household name, yet one strand of his work is incredibly familiar. In 1951 he visited a lamp factory in Gifu, a Japanese city famous for its paper lanterns. This prompted him to design the lampshades that, for decades,...

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Madam Butterfly, Welsh National Opera review - decent performance, disagreeable context

It’s easy enough to see the difficulty Madam Butterfly places your thinking director in. I share her pain. What the whirring brain will quickly see as a penetrating, or at least surface scratching, study of a whole repertoire of modern obsessions –...

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10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami sits firmly amongst the Japanese literati for her sharp and pensive depictions of life in contemporary Japan. Since the translation of Breasts and Eggs (2020), she has also become somewhat of an indie fiction icon in the UK, with her...

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Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight - Storyville, BBC Four review - the tycoon who fell to earth

The extraordinary story of motor industry executive Carlos Ghosn is a heady combination of power, money, corruption and international politics, with a Mission: Impossible-style ending that carries it over the finishing tape in dramatic style. It...

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After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories

Limbo, in Jack Thorne’s latest play, is a room lined ceiling-high with drawers, a sort of morgue rebooted as a vast filing system. It apparently provides comfy accommodation for the souls waiting to pass over, and its activities are run in tight...

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Album: Scotch Rolex - TEWARI

Ask someone in the early 2000s to predict which cities were going to be influential in electronic music in coming years, and it’s unlikely many would have picked Kampala, Uganda. But here we are. Across African countries, vernacular electronic forms...

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