tue 17/10/2017

France

Loving Vincent review - Van Gogh biopic of sorts lacks language to match its visuals

Loving Vincent was clearly a labour of love for all concerned, so I hope it doesn't seem churlish to wish that a Van Gogh biopic some seven or more years in the planning had spent more time at the drawing board. By that I don't mean yet further...

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LFF 2017: Blade of the Immortal / Redoubtable - Samurai slasher versus the Nouvelle Vague

This is the 100th feature film by Takashi Miike, Japan’s fabled maestro of sex, horror and ultra-violent Yakuza flicks, and here he has found his subject in Hiroake Samura’s Blade of the Immortal manga comics. Manji (Takuya Kimura) is a veteran...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Guy Johnston, Joyce El-Khoury, Michael Spyres, The Chanteuse

Guy Johnston: Tecchler’s Cello - From Cambridge to Rome (King’s College Cambridge)Acquiring a second-hand instrument always leads one to wonder what sort of a life it led before. Did said instrument enjoy a flourishing professional career, or was it...

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CD: Carla Bruni - French Touch

Carla Bruni delivers smooth and sophisticated pop. She undoubtedly has plenty of talent, and this latest collection of songs – all of them covers, and sung in impressive English – reeks of good taste, careful artistic choices and a wide knowledge of...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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Senza Sangue/Bluebeard's Castle, Hackney Empire - uneven French-Hungarian mix

Has Hackney ever seen or heard such a spectacle – a full Hungarian orchestra taking up most of the Empire stalls to complete the semi-circle of a relatively empty stage? And did enough of London get to hear about it? I certainly wouldn’t have done...

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Extract: Peter Brook - Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning

A long time ago when I was very young, a voice hidden deep within me whispered, "Don’t take anything for granted. Go and see for yourself." This little nagging murmur has led me to so many journeys, so many explorations, trying to live together...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Love of a Woman

In Jean Grémillon's final fiction film The Love of a Woman, Marie Prieur (Micheline Presle) arrives on the Breton island of Ushant to replace the tiny settlement's aging Dr Morel (Robert Naly). While showing Marie her new digs and surgery, Mme Morel...

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Blu-ray: Ronin

There are three bravura scenes in Ronin that merit the price of acquisition. Two of them are French car chases, one along the twisting alleys of Nice, the other through the tunnels and up the wrong side of the carriageway in Paris. It’s a mark of...

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Fred Vargas: The Accordionist review - intriguing Gallic sleuthing yarn

The two haunting series of crime novels by Fred Vargas, the writing pseudonym of a French archaeologist and historian, have acquired a worldwide following: quirky, idiosyncratic, eccentric and beautifully written, they are highly individual and, for...

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Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy review - a fascinating compilation

A 19th-century silver and wood pot in which to make chocolate, pertly graceful; 17th-century blue and white Delftware; a Chinese calligraphy panel; a 19th-century carved wooden god from the Ivory Coast; a bronze and gold earth goddess from South-...

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