tue 26/10/2021

Japan

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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True Mothers review - how many people does it take to raise a child?

On the 30th floor of a Tokyo apartment building, a charming little boy brushes his teeth, watched over by his smiling mother who sings to him gently. He’s full of joy - today his dad’s coming with them on the walk to nursery school. The little...

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Polly Barton: Fifty Sounds review - what is lost in translation

Fifty Sounds is translator Polly Barton’s first novel, conceived as part of Fitzcarraldo’s annual essay prize. The book begins with listed Japanese words or phrases (katekanas), translated into poetic English, setting the reader up for the central...

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First Person: violinist Abigail Young on getting back to her Japanese orchestra in Covid year

February 2020: an item a long way down the agenda of the nightly news caused me to remark, fairly casually, “I wonder if that will affect me”. I had already heard about Covid-19, the new virus emerging from China; now it was spreading...

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Blu-ray: Tokyo Story / The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice

Yasujirō Ozu’s The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice and Tokyo Story were released in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Tokyo Story regularly features in critics' Top 10 lists and was voted Best Film of all time in a 2012 poll of film directors in Sight...

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Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan, documentary-like slice of extreme Japanese life, suggesting how the director’s amusingly doomy Teutonic persona now dominates his own cinema.Family Romance is a real company which...

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