sat 20/04/2019

Syria

CD: TootArd - Laisser Passer

It’s impossible to discuss TootArd without digging into the history of their region. They’re a funky desert blues outfit but they don’t derive from Saharan Africa; they were born and raised in the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. This...

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'I come from there': how the Royal Court brought home plays from Ukraine, Chile and Syria

The autumn season of plays at the Royal Court leads with international work. B by Guillermo Calderón (from Chile), Bad Roads by Natal'ya Vorozhbit (from Ukraine) and Goats by Liwaa Yazji (from Syria) have a long history with our international...

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Insyriated review - claustrophobic terror in a Damascus war zone

It doesn’t take long, I think, to work out the associations of the title of Insyriated: we are surely being presented with a variation of “incarceration”, one tinged by the very specific context of the conflict that has ravaged Syria for six years...

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The State, Channel 4 review - dishonest portrait of British jihadis

It’s a burning question of western civilisation: what persuades young people brought up among us to walk out on their lives and join the cult of murderous fanatics who call themselves Islamic State? If any dramatist could attempt a coherent answer...

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The Other Side of Hope review - Aki Kaurismäki at his tragicomic best

It takes real skill to make a film about a desperate Syrian refugee and a dour middle-aged Finn reinventing himself and turn it into the warmest, most life-enhancing film I’ve seen this year. But Aki Kaurismäki has form, he’s been making movies...

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Syria’s Disappeared review - 'must-watch can't-look record of Assad's atrocities'

“The following images are extremely graphic.” The words appeared in white lettering against a black background, two-thirds of the way in. For the next minute, the screen filled with photographs of naked, emaciated corpses, some with crude writing...

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War Child, Channel 4

In the mindset of Nigel Farage and his biddable followers, the route from Asia into Europe throngs with undesirables. Their threatening faces can be plastered on a vote-winning poster. In this calamitous failure of empathy, young men – hordes of...

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DVD: The Music of Strangers

A welcome antidote to the mood of a time which seems hell-bent on closing borders and building walls, The Music of Strangers is about a unique musical collective that breaks through division and reaffirms the potential of culture to unite. Subtitled...

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The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, with Damon Albarn & Guests, RFH

Before playing a version of  “Out of Time”, the lead single from Blur’s 2003 album Think Tank, Damon Albarn explains that “at Glastonbury, it really was out of time: there was a problem with our monitors and we were about a bar a half out.”...

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When Hamlet came to a Syrian refugee camp

It would have been impossible to go to Syria. Our plan to perform Hamlet in every nation in the world faced its biggest obstacle to date and the Globe producers were left pondering a Plan B. We considered performing in a Syrian embassy - technically...

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Storyville: A Syrian Love Story, BBC Four

Managing the boundaries of closeness in documentary filmmaking can be a complicated issue. Does the documentarist figure only as a fly-on-the-wall observer – or become involved, caught up in the story of his or her subject? Is it possible to...

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Dispatches: Escape from Isis, Channel 4

“Say your last words before you leave this life.” Somewhere in the so-called Islamic State, a woman was accused of adultery. Her father joined her accusers, then, as her shrouded body was lowered into a pit, picked up a rock and hurled it at her. We...

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