tue 15/06/2021

World War Two

The Mill, Series 2, Channel 4 / The Lancaster: Britain's Flying Past, BBC Two

Supposedly, The Mill [*] was Channel 4's highest-rating drama of 2013, and the viewers' reward is this second series. However, the secret of the success of this dour, dimly lit series is hard to fathom. Its attempt to convert the history of working-...

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Sniper Elite III

Sometimes virtual violence can simply be fun, even morally dubious violence. Sniper Elite III is pretty reprehensible and fairly morally indefensible. It gleefully glamorises violence. Yet throughout, it's fun. Really good fun.Sniper Elite's key...

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Les Rendezvous/Dante Sonata/Façade, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome

“The touch is light. We like it so,” wrote Ninette de Valois in one of her later poems. You didn’t know the founder of the Royal Ballet wrote poetry? Don’t worry, you’re not missing much – except the occasional phrase which can serve as an epigraph...

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D-Day Sacrifice, National Geographic

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day following hard on the heels of the extensive World War One commemorations, battle fatigue is becoming a very real concern for TV-watchers. Breaking the mould of retrospective war documentaries becomes increasingly...

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Generation War, BBC Two

This German-made drama about World War Two scored huge ratings when it was shown in its homeland last year, but has also prompted scathing criticism. Chiefly, its detractors don't buy the series' portrayal of five photogenic young German friends as...

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Quartet for the End of Time, Village Underground

Take a cushion or two among the beautiful young people gathered around the players – no Proms Arena crowd, this - pull up a chair or find your standing place; sit bolt upright, lie back, stretch your legs, tweet during the music if you like (an...

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theartsdesk in Calais: Monument, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Were it not for the bombs which rained down on Calais, its current Musée des Beaux-Arts would not exist. The 1966 building was part of a civic reconstruction programme, so it too is a war memorial of sorts. And it's now playing host to an exhibition...

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Georg Baselitz, Gagosian Gallery/British Museum

Georg Baselitz, the veteran German artist who likes to bait, provoke and raise hackles, most recently with an interview in Der Spiegel in which he said women artists couldn’t paint (he mentioned the few exceptions, which was generous of him), is...

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Repin, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Fedoseyev, RFH

Valery Gergiev once described Yevgeny Svetlanov’s USSR - later Russian - State Symphony Orchestra to me as “an orchestra with a voice”. Then Svetlanov died and the voice cracked. Which are the other big Russian personalities now? Gergiev’s own...

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The Book Thief

Derived from Markus Zusak's bestseller, director Brian Percival's movie is well cast and brimming with good intentions, but it's too long, too safe and too uneventful to do justice to its subject matter. The story charts the rise of Nazi Germany...

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The Monuments Men

The Nazi war machine had great taste: it wanted all of the world’s art treasure for itself. Someone had to stop them .Based on Robert M Edsel’s book, George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s screenplay takes a starry stab at telling a culturally serious...

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The Railway Man

The agony of war and of surviving it almost destroyed Eric Lomax. A British POW after the fall of Singapore who was put to work by the Japanese on the Burma Railway, he suffered brutal and prolonged torture, trauma he dealt with in subsequent...

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