fri 26/02/2021

1940s

Holy Sonnets/The Heart's Assurance/A Charm of Lullabies, English Touring Opera online review - darkest hours

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.” John Donne’s Holy Sonnets may summon all his art of wit and paradox to mock that might and dread; still, we sense the abject terror behind the formal...

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Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English Touring Opera online review - Britten and Shostakovich in a double mirror

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a piano. It’s no secret to any opera goer that even the barest outlines of a staging can magnify the...

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Black Narcissus, BBC One review - a haunting in the Himalayas

It’s dangerous territory, remaking a classic British film as a TV mini-series. In 1947 when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger created Black Narcissus, a heady adaptation of Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel, they never set foot in the Himalayas....

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Shirley review - hothouse art film about American horror writer

Shirley is one of those films that the mood you’re in when you watch it will dictate whether you think it’s a great psychological horror movie or overheated and pretentious. Go to the cinema wanting to be plunged into a fever dream of gothic...

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The Secret Garden review - blooming charming

With Netflix releasing Rebecca on Wednesday, who’d have thought that a kid’s film would be this week’s best adaptation about an estate haunted by the memory of the deceased lady of the manor? Written and directed by the team behind Channel 4’s...

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Bryn Terfel, Britten Sinfonia, Barbican review – a moment of re-connection

This concert by Sir Bryn Terfel and the Britten Sinfonia, the very first concert given at the Barbican in front of an audience since 15 March, was surely in need of some stronger explanation than that offered by the blurb for the evening, namely “...

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Blu-ray: Beanpole

Kantemir Balagov’s second feature announces the arrival of a major new talent in arthouse cinema. Made by the Russian director when he was just 27, and premiered at Cannes last year, where it won in the “Un Certain Regard” strand, Beanpole...

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The Plot Against America, Sky Atlantic review - fascism comes to 1940s USA

Based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name, The Plot Against America flashes back to the global turbulence of the 1940s to depict a counterfactual America that turns to the dark side. Instead of the re-election of Franklin D Roosevelt for a...

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Blu-Ray: A Foreign Affair

In the year when we should be reflecting on seventy years of peace in Europe but are too occupied with present day viruses, Brexit, and racism to remember our past, it’s timely that a film about the Allied victors occupying Berlin in 1947 should be...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: John Lee Hooker - Documenting The Sensation Recordings 1948-1952

John Lee Hooker’s recording career began on Friday 3 September 1948. He’d attracted the attention of the Kiev-born Bernard Besman, who was in Detroit after his family moved there in 1926 following five years in London’s East End. By the 1940s Besman...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Distant Journey

Czech director Alfréd Radok’s Distant Journey (Daleká cesta) has an unprecedented place in the history of cinema of the Holocaust. Initially released in March 1949, it has been called the first fictional treatment of the Jewish experience during the...

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Hollywood, Netflix review - rosy escapism serving good causes

If you're catering for wish fulfilment, you might as well go the whole hog. Some say that Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, in their latest peachy extravaganza, aim no higher than the cheesier fantasies of the late 1940s Hollywood they take into...

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