tue 12/12/2017

France

DVD: A Journey Through French Cinema

Bertrand Tavernier’s trip through French cinema is shot through with the love of someone who has grown up with cinema and knows how to communicate his passion in a way that is totally engaging. The three hours-plus he delivers make you want to...

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CD: Gaspard Royant - Wishing You a Merry Christmas

French stylist Gaspard Royant has recorded at London’s garage-rock-central studio Toe Rag and been produced by Edwyn Collins. Both fit a worldview which encompasses collaborating with Eli Paperboy Reed, who crops up here on “Christmas Time Again”, a...

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Happy End review - grimly compelling but to what end?

No movie that folds Toby Jones of all people into a Gallic entourage headed by Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant, the two as formidable as one might wish, is going to be without interest. Nor is it likely that the ever-severe Austrian...

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Witnesses: A Frozen Death, BBC Four review - plummeting temperatures in the Pas de Calais

A thankless task, perhaps, to find oneself following in the footsteps of the berserk Spanish melodrama I Know Who You Are (theartsdesk passim). However, BBC Four’s new Saturday night import, whose first series was shown on Channel 4 a couple of...

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Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Montparnasse 19

The myth of Modigliani, the archetypal tortured artist, was set in train while he was still alive and remains potent almost a century after his death. Every so often a few game academics try to put things straight, and now Tate Modern’s exhibition...

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DVD: The Death of Louis XIV

Albert Serra has earned himself the directorial moniker “the Catalan king of stasis”, and nothing in The Death of Louis XIV is going to dispel such a reputation – if anything, he has honed that characteristic approach further, concentrating this...

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Messiaen & Shostakovich, St John's Smith Square review - Osborne and Gerhardt anchor 1940s masterpieces

Only connect. As the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series at St John's showcased supreme eloquence in two searing but perfectly-proportioned meditations from the Second World War, over the road at Smith Square Europe House was...

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The Best of AA Gill review - posthumous words collected

Word wizard. Grammar bully. Sentence shark. AA Gill didn’t play fair by syntax: he pounced on it, surprising it into splendid shapes. And who cared when he wooed readers with anarchy and aplomb? Hardly uncontroversial, let alone inoffensive (he...

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Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery review - eye-opening and heart-breaking

Some 50 portraits by Paul Cézanne – almost a third of all those the artist painted that have survived – are on view in this quietly sensational exhibition. Eye-opening and heart-breaking, it examines his art exclusively in the context of his...

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Marcel Proust: Letters to the Lady Upstairs - a very slim volume

Marcel Proust was a prolific letter-writer. He wrote tens of thousands of them, and at speed, as can be seen from the two facsimiles which are included with the text of Letters to the Lady Upstairs (there are quite a few more in the original French...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Frantz Fanon - Black Face White Mask

The much-respected visual artist Isaac Julien made his name as one of the first great black British filmmakers, not least with Looking for Langston (1989) and Young Soul Rebels (1991). While Steve McQueen moved from gallery art and installations to...

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