sun 24/01/2021

religion

Buddha: Genius of the Ancient World, BBC Four

This programme was a puzzle. It didn't quite work, and it should have worked an absolute treat, as Buddhism is in some respects the religion, or rather the way of life, that has more and more caught the attention of the West in terms of scholarship...

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10 Questions for Broadcaster Bettany Hughes

How do you live a good life? Is wealth a good thing? How do you create a just society? The United Kingdom's electorate recently pondered such questions in the polling booth, and made their decision. The Labour Party is agonising over them as it...

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Sex and the Church, BBC Two

I’ve got no idea what the opposite of dumbing down might be. Swatting up? Whatever it is, it’s surely going to set the tone for the next couple of Friday nights on BBC Two, where Sex and the Church is as erudite a piece of television as we’re going...

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MacMillan's St Luke Passion, King's College Chapel

The St Luke Passion I heard last night was my second sung Passion of the day. The first was in a parish church as a central part of the liturgy of the day on Good Friday: nothing too fancy, as befits an amateur choir, the words of St John as set by...

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Why everyone should see The Mysteries from Cape Town

One night in Cape Town, I was caught in a power cut. Like an untenanted theatre, the city went utterly dark, darker than perhaps it had been since settlers first arrived three centuries earlier. Street lamps, restaurants, car showrooms, offices were...

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Saints and Sinners: Britain's Millennium of Monasteries, BBC Four

When in Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies Thomas Cromwell exclaims in exasperation,  “to each monk, one bed; to each bed, one monk. Is that so hard for them?” he sums up the state of moral decay into which the monasteries had apparently...

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Bach B minor Mass, Trinity College Choir, OAE, Layton, St John's Smith Square

While the embers of the concert year are dying out around the country, you can be sure of a great blaze-up at St John’s Smith Square. The annual Christmas Festival of quality early-music groups and top choirs – this is the 29th – now traditionally...

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Canterbury Cathedral, BBC Two

Attracting over one million visitors each year, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With its picturesque location and very nice, very white staff, the cathedral offers an easy metaphor for the version...

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Stations of the Cross

There is ice at the heart of German director’s Dietrich Brueggemann’s Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg). Winner of this year’s Berlinale Silver Bear for best script – the director wrote the film in collaboration with his sister Anna – it’s a chilling...

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The Overnighters

In The Overnighters documentarist Jesse Moss found his story and pursued it with remarkable empathy, all in the best traditions of the genre. He persuaded both sides in this tale of (quiet) confrontation to trust him, and they opened up completely....

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Shadows of War, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Another week, another war commemorative; it’s the story of all the arts in 2014. But – because you can always rely on David Bintley and Birmingham Royal Ballet to be different – last night’s programme at Sadler’s was overshadowed by the Second World...

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The Calling

Jason Stone’s directorial debut is chock-full of killer-thriller tropes. Serial killer with a religious bent; cop with a drink and drugs problem; smalltown investigator butts heads with intransigent chief of police in the big city; a lightbulb...

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