tue 07/04/2020

France

Nathalie Léger: The White Dress review – masterfully introverted

Nathalie Léger’s The White Dress brings personal and public tragedy together in a narrative as absorbingly melancholic as its subject is shocking. The story described by Léger’s narrator – a scarcely fictional version of herself – is of the...

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Director Marjane Satrapi: ‘The real question is do you like everyone? No? So, why should everyone like you?’

Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-born French filmmaker, has a reputation that precedes her. Her upbringing was the subject of the acclaimed films Persepolis (2007) and Chicken With Plums (2011). Persepolis won the Cannes Jury Prize, two César awards and...

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The Art Mysteries, BBC Four review - secrets and symbols of Van Gogh's famous self-portrait

Presenter Waldemar Januszczak suffers from something very like Robert Peston Syndrome, which makes him bellow at the camera and distort words as if they’re chewing gum he’s peeling off the sole of his shoe. Nonetheless he has a knack for finding...

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The Truth review - a potent Franco-Japanese pairing

It may offer veteran French star Catherine Deneuve as substantial and engaging a role as she has enjoyed in years, but the real surprise of The Truth is that it’s the work of Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda. The director, whose Shoplifters took the Palme...

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Fidelio, Royal Opera review - fitfully vivid singing in a dramatic void

Emblazoned on a drop-curtain in front of a mirror-image of the auditorium, the three great tenets of the French revolution seem to be mocking us right at the start, above all the second of them: equality, really, given the make-up of the Royal Opera...

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire review – love unshackled

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is windblown, spare, taut, and sensual – a haunted seaside romantic drama, set in the 18th century, that makes most recent films and series dressed in period costumes seem like party-line effusions of empty style and...

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La Cage aux Folles [The Play], Park Theatre review - half-cock farce

Not the musical then, worst luck. How timely it would have been to mark Jerry Herman's passing with a celebration of a great achievement. Just how brilliantly the pathos and panache of his score lift Jean Poiret's long-running 1970s farce about a...

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Les Misérables, Sondheim Theatre review - join in our crusade

Do you hear the people sing? In recent months, you're more likely to have heard news stories about the longest running West End musical than the actual music. Stephen Sondheim – who celebrates his 90th birthday in March – missed the gala opening of...

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Nathalie Léger: Exposition review – mysteries, rumours and facts

Nathalie Léger’s superbly original Exposition is a biographical novel meditating on the nature of biography itself. Its plot – if indeed its 150 pages of intense reflection bordering continuously on stream of consciousness can be called a plot – is...

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Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – splendid Baroque knees-up

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of Sunday night’s 40th birthday celebration for his ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Well, lovers of old recordings know...

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The Boy Friend, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fun but featherweight

There’s slight (White Christmas, to name but one) and then there’s The Boy Friend, a period musical so unabashedly vaporous that if you sneeze, it might blow away. All credit then to the Menier Chocolate Factory for anchoring Sandy Wilson’s...

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Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

In one of Dora Maar’s best known images, a fashion photograph from 1935 (pictured below), a woman wearing a backless, sparkly evening gown appears to be making her way backstage through a proscenium’s drapes. The star of the show exits the limelight...

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