tue 01/12/2020

World War Two

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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The Bletchley Circle, Series 2, ITV

For a drama as committed to the exploration of the changing role of women in post-war Britain, The Bletchley Circle isn’t above a little sleight of hand. The second series of the critically acclaimed whodunnit began with a flashback to 1943 and to...

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War Requiem, BBCSO, Bychkov, Royal Albert Hall

How many reviews of War Requiem do you want to read in Britten centenary year? This is theartsdesk’s fourth, and my second – simply because though I reckon one live performance every five years is enough, Rattle’s much-anticipated Berlin...

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Home, Arcola Theatre

This is a strange one. Precious little happens and, in some ways, little is said in David Storey's muted chamber play from 1970. Two men named Harry and Jack – getting on in years, but keeping up appearances in jackets and ties – linger on a...

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From Here to Eternity, Shaftesbury Theatre

“Love and pain is like peace and war - you want one you have to have the other.” It’s a line that pretty much sums up From Here to Eternity. The title of James Jones’s novel and the classic movie which it spawned gets rather lost in the new musical...

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