sat 24/07/2021

World War Two

Blu-ray: Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love & War

What we don’t learn about filmmaker Harry Birrell is as tantalising as what is actually revealed during the course of Matt Pinder’s beguiling 90-minute documentary. We hear that Birrell was born in Paisley to a father he never met, who had been...

Read more...

The Pursuit of Love, BBC One review - extravagantly entertaining

Nancy Mitford's 1945 literary sensation looks poised to be the TV talking point of the season, assuming the first episode of The Pursuit of Love sustains its utterly infectious energy through two hours still to come. Adapted and directed by the...

Read more...

Six Minutes to Midnight review - Judi Dench retains her dignity

It can't be easy maintaining dignity when everyone in your vicinity is losing theirs. But that's the position in which the inimitable Judi Dench finds herself in Six Minutes to Midnight, a bewildering movie in which star and co-author, Eddie Izzard...

Read more...

Blu-ray: The Ascent

There’s a striking interview among the extras for this Criterion edition of Russian director Larisa Shepitko’s fourth and final feature. The director was talking in 1978 to Bavarian Television at the Berlin Film Festival, where The Ascent had won...

Read more...

Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn’t elaborate. Produced in Belarus, it’s a Holocaust drama based on a novella by the veteran East German screenwriter/director...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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’...

Read more...

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....

Read more...
Subscribe to World War Two