sun 14/04/2024

Communism

DVD/Blu-ray: Padre Pio

Faith and damnation frequently collide in Abel Ferrara’s films, drawing fiery performances from often starry casts. The New York master who made The Driller Killer and Bad Lieutenant now lives in Rome and, like his Pasolini, Padre Pio is a political...

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Anna Reid: A Nasty Little War - The West's Fight to Reverse the Russian Revolution review - home truths

During the Cold War, US presidents often claimed that the West and the Soviet Union had never fought one another directly. This observation made sense geopolitically – the likelihood of mutually assured destruction made a nuclear conflict seem...

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Marx in London, Scottish Opera review - the humour of history made manifest

An opera about a day in the life of Karl Marx doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs. But then so much of Jonathan Dove’s witty 2018 work proves that things are not always what they seem, whether that’s through Dove’s jaunty score-writing,...

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Oh What A Lovely War, Southwark Playhouse review - 60 years on, the old warhorse can still bare its teeth

In Annus Mirabilis, Philip Larkin wrote,"So life was never better than In nineteen sixty-three (Though just too late for me) – Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban And the Beatles' first LP."That might be the only point...

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1984, Hackney Town Hall review - Room 101 shapeshifts into 2023, but remains as terrifyingly plausible as ever

The day after I saw the show, as went about the mundanities of domestic life, I wondered how long it would take to come across a reference to 1984. My best bet was listening to an LBC phone-in concerning next week’s conference at Bletchley Park on...

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Masha Karp: George Orwell and Russia review - dystopia's reality

The war in Ukraine, which Russia’s President Vladimir Putin insists on calling a “special military operation”, may have given fresh urgency to George Orwell’s warning in Nineteen Eighty-Four of the dangers of totalitarian newspeak. Yet, as Masha...

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Prom 16: Hallé, Elder review - a mighty Russian journey

Perhaps music and politics should always stay at a decent arm’s length; in the modern world, they seldom can. The Hallé’s annual visit to the Proms presented an all-Russian bill and closed with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony: his much-disputed “...

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Extract: Bacon in Moscow by James Birch

In 1988, James Birch – curator, art dealer, and gallery owner – took Francis Bacon to Moscow. It was, as he writes, "an unimaginable intrusion of Western Culture into the heart of the Soviet system". At a time of powerful political tension and...

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Andrey Kurkov: Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv review - a city speaks its multitudes

Rock music helped to subvert the Soviet Union by glamorising youthful rebellion and the West. In the opening scene of Andrey Kurkov’s novel Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv, a bunch of ageing hippies gather at night on the anniversary of the American...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Lyric Hammersmith review - wild ride in hyperreality slides by

As the UK undergoes yet another political convulsion, this time concerning the threshold for ministers being shitty to fellow workers, it is apt that Bertolt Brecht’s parable about the challenges of being good in a dysfunctional society hits London...

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The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Rose Theatre review - new production of classic proves a gruelling experience

Brecht – as I suppose he intended – is always a shock to the system. With not a word on what to expect from his commitment to the strictures of epic theatre in the programme, a star of West End musical theatre cast in the lead and a venue...

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Blu-ray: Kuhle Wampe

Kuhle Wampe is a fascinating curio, a blend of documentary, social realist drama and political debate which so bothered the German authorities upon its release in 1932 that they promptly banned it. The censorship board’s justification condemned the...

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