sun 17/12/2017

Stalin

Anne Applebaum: Red Famine review - hope around a heart of darkness

Hands both sensitive and surgical are needed to guide a reader into the heart of the 20th century’s second biggest genocide and out again. Anne Applebaum is the right person for a queasy and difficult task, never turning away from the horrifying...

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DVD: Revolution - New Art for a New World

Revolution - New Art for a New World film starts well: the opening shot (main picture) is of young women painting white letters onto a red banner. “We all knew what to paint,” says the voice-over. “Bread, Work, Vote, but the message was ‘...

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Child 44

"There is no murder in paradise" is the official line of the authorities in 1950s Russia, but nevertheless Child 44 is the blood-drenched tale of a hunt for a mass-murdering paedophile in Stalin's deathly shadow. The source novel was the first in...

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Silent Planet, Finborough Theatre

Russian prisoner Gavriil is telling his psychiatrist a story about a strange and frightening dragon who demands a female sacrifice from the local townsfolk every year. When Gavriil gets to the end of his hot-breathed tale, his doctor drily remarks...

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David Schneider Makes Stalin Laugh

When Dostoyevsky was asked why he wrote Crime and Punishment he famously replied, “To further my career and get shortlisted for book prizes.” He didn’t, of course. I made that up. But what artist/writer/actor creates a piece of art/writing/acting...

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The Love Girl and the Innocent, Southwark Playhouse

Southwark Playhouse's new production of The Love Girl and the Innocent is London’s first in over 30 years, and there’s a reason Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s play rarely reaches the stage: it’s a lumpy mammoth of a script, demanding a cast upwards of 50...

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DVD: 3 Documentaries by Sergei Loznitsa

The Belarusian director Sergei Loznitsa recently made an impact with the powerful In the Fog, a delicately balanced examination of the pressures at play in World War II Russia. Before that, his international calling card was My Joy (2010), a first...

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The Flames of Paris, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House

The Bolshoi left it till last to be most itself, to dance a ballet that is truly of its blood, its seed - its closing on Alexei Ratmansky's The Flames of Paris will leave much happiness in the memory to override the problematic productions of...

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Opinion: When artists could speak out

Take note of the title, with its “could”, not “must”. “The word ‘must’ is not to be used to Princes,” quoth Good Queen Bess as echoed in Britten’s Gloriana. Yet that was the verb used by New York writer Scott Rose, guest-posting on Norman Lebrecht’s...

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DVD: Burnt by the Sun 2

Nikita Mikhalkov’s Burnt by the Sun was one of the few good news stories in Russian cinema in the Nineties. Made with his longterm scriptwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov, it picked up a main prize at Cannes in 1994 and the Best Foreign Film Oscar the...

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Foyle's War, Series 8, ITV

Always a treat to see the shrewd, penetrating gaze of DCS Christopher Foyle back for one of its all-too-brief runs, though no doubt rationing Foyle's War to short series at long intervals is what has enabled writer/creator Anthony Horowitz to...

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The Master and Margarita, Barbican Theatre

The Master and Margarita is a rare beast. Not only is it considered to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, it also regularly tops reader-lists of all-time favourite books. So it’s no wonder that, since its publication in 1966, 26...

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