tue 21/11/2017

Turkey

Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul, Memories and the City review – a masterpiece upgraded

Along with Balzac’s Paris and Dickens’s London, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul now ranks as one of the most illustrious author-trademarked cities in literary history. Yet, as Turkey’s Nobel laureate told me during a Southbank Centre interview last month, he...

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Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

I can’t pretend to like the work of Fahrelnissa Zeid, but she was clearly an exceptional woman and deserves to be honoured with a retrospective. She led a privileged life that spanned most of the 20th century; born in Istanbul in 1901 into a...

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theartsdesk at the Istanbul Music Festival: East and West in perfect balance

The time is out of joint for Turkey at the moment, but it’s still a country equally split between those looking to the west for the culture of ideas and the more conservative element which at least needs its voice respected. They co-exist peacefully...

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Elif Batuman: The Idiot review - memories of student life and travels meander

University, anyone? Student days? If you were ever an undergraduate, who does not remember the simultaneous sense of dislocation and excitement, the feeling of the familiar combined with a heady awareness that we might fall off a cliff,...

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The Promise review - genocide reduced to melodrama

The Armenian genocide by the Ottomans during and after World War One killed 1.5 million people and is a wound that won’t heal for Armenians, though modern-day Turkey continues to insist that no genocide occurred. It’s only through the efforts of...

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'My father Sabahattin Ali is being rediscovered'

I was 11 years old when my father was killed. A body was found near the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. According to authorities it belonged to my father even though the corpse was decomposed beyond recognition. My mother and his mother were not...

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DVD: The Music of Strangers

A welcome antidote to the mood of a time which seems hell-bent on closing borders and building walls, The Music of Strangers is about a unique musical collective that breaks through division and reaffirms the potential of culture to unite. Subtitled...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Pianist Idil Biret at 75

Has any living pianist had a richer or more charmed life than Idil Biret? As a child prodigy she studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Alfred Cortot, and both there and in Germany with Wilhelm Kempff. At the age of four she was reproducing Bach...

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theartsdesk at the D-Marin Festival: Turkish poetry in music, Bach at sunrise

Istanbul six weeks before the failed coup, the south-west coast of Turkey six weeks after: what's the difference? None that I could see; once past the Turkish Airlines flights, with literature and screen full of the "People's Victory", there was no...

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theartsdesk at the Istanbul Music Festival: classics alla Turca

Flashback to 1981, when the Bolshoy Ballet danced Swan Lake Act Two to a tinny Melodiya recording in Istanbul's Open-Air Theatre (seats were cheap for Interrailing students). Turkey was friends with the Soviet Union then. It hadn't been in the 1950s...

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Mustang

Teenage girls in the West who routinely abuse their parents for imposing midnight curfews, cancelling suspicious sleepovers, and insisting bra straps be concealed should hope that they are not suddenly dragged along to see Mustang. The...

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Theeb

The epic and the intimate combine impressively in Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature Theeb. The epic is there is the scale of the stunning desert landscapes that are the backdrop – though the desert itself almost feels like a...

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