mon 21/09/2020

World War Two

Blu-ray: Beanpole

Kantemir Balagov’s second feature announces the arrival of a major new talent in arthouse cinema. Made by the Russian director when he was just 27, and premiered at Cannes last year, where it won in the “Un Certain Regard” strand, Beanpole...

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The Painted Bird review - bestial horror conveyed with beauty

Based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird is an extraordinarily powerful chronicle of a young Jewish boy’s survival in Eastern Europe, the scene of some of the most terrible violence, inhumanity, and depredation during the Second World...

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Alex Halberstadt: Young Heroes of the Soviet Union review - a familial history of the twentieth century

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a collective examination of its past, with Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich at the helm. Young Heroes of the Soviet Union looks back at the USSR through the lens of the personal, much like...

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The Battle of Britain, Channel 5 review - 80th anniversary of the RAF's finest hour

The notion of massed aircraft dogfighting over southern England seems inconceivable now, but the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 was all too horribly real for its participants. Marking the 80th anniversary, this three-part recreation of...

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Das Boot, Series 2, Sky Atlantic review - multi-layered war drama goes from strength to strength

Das Boot made an impressive debut early last year with its entwined narratives of war by land and sea. This second instalment (Sky Atlantic) looks set to be better still, exploring the strata of life under Nazi occupation in the German-run port of...

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Now is the hour - 103 and trending: Dame Vera Lynn eight decades after her debut

Last Sunday evening I was making lentil soup (words I never thought I’d type) when Radio 4’s discussion of wealth, or lack thereof, gave way to a profile of Dame Vera Lynn. She was “trending”, her NHS fundraising duet with Katherine Jenkins of “We’...

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Flowers for Mrs Harris, Chichester Festival Theatre online review - a warmly open-hearted weepie

18 months or so after it opened in Chichester, Flowers for Mrs Harris launches a sequence of streamed productions from the West Sussex venue just in time to allow a new British musical to join the ever-swelling ranks of theatrical offerings online....

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Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Bill Brandt’s photographs and Henry Moore’s studies of people sheltering underground during the Blitz (September 1940 to May 1941) offer glimpses of a world that is, thankfully, lost to us. A year and a half after the end of the bombing...

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'You’re Jewish. With a name like Neumann, you have to be'

It was during my first week at Tufts University in America, when I was 17, that I was told by a stranger that I was Jewish. As I left one of the orientation talks, I was approached by a slight young man with short brown hair and intense eyes. He...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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Francesca Wade: Square Haunting - Bloomsbury retold

These days, Bloomsbury rests in a state of elegant somnolence. The ghosts of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell linger on in the shabby gentility of Russell Square and its environs, the bookish institutions that are the bones of the place conferring...

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Blomfield, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH review - sounds of a troubled truce

Concert programmes that set out to tell us a story can prove a mixed blessing. Yes, it’s valuable and stimulating to find ideas, and narratives, embodied in the musical flow. But great pieces, well-performed, have a habit of cutting loose from the...

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