mon 23/05/2022

France

Vortex review – an old couple's road to nowhere

Life, opined Thomas Hobbes, is “nasty, brutish, and short”. In Gaspar Noé’s Vortex it’s not short enough for a dementia-afflicted octogenarian psychiatrist (Françoise Lebrun) and her addled film critic husband (giallo auteur Dario Argento), whose...

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Downton Abbey: A New Era review - will we ever see its like again?

A dozen years have passed since Downton Abbey first landed on our TV screens, since when it has passed into folklore. Whether you thought it was escapist historical froth, a ludicrous anachronism full of class-system clichés or a documentary probing...

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Blu-ray: Jules et Jim

François Truffaut’s Nouvelle Vague masterpiece revolves around an endlessly mutating love triangle, set in a world that encompasses the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the horror of the First World War, and the book burning that ushered in the Nazi...

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Happening review - searingly intimate, furious abortion drama

France is a female dystopia in Audrey Diwan’s immersive illegal abortion drama, set in 1963 and based on Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel.Anamaria Vartolomei is Anne, the first girl from her rural family to go to college, where she is a modest...

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The Forest, Hampstead Theatre review - puzzling world premiere from Florian Zeller

If Florian Zeller isn’t a Wordle fan, I’d be very surprised. As with the hit online game, the French playwright likes to offer up a puzzle for the audience to solve, clue by clue, before the curtain falls. His latest play, The Forest, which had its...

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Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child, Hayward Gallery review - the wife, the mistress, the daughter and the art that came out of it

Louise Bourgeois didn’t throw anything away and, during the last 20 years of her life, she used her own and her mother’s old clothes to create theatrical tableaux which revisit painful childhood memories. “These garments have a history,” she...

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Blu-ray: Hiroshima mon amour

Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Alain Resnais’s first feature-length film, followed a number of remarkable short documentaries, the most famous of which was Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog, 1956), a haunting evocation of Nazi terror, and still a...

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Sandrine Piau, David Kadouch, Wigmore Hall review - the joy is in the detail

“It mustn’t be a surface thing. You have to put in the work,” Janet Baker once said. Sandrine Piau’s Wigmore recital of German song followed by French song was the perfect demonstration of that credo in action.Whereas Piau described the repertoire,...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Belleville Rendezvous

Why Les Triplettes de Belleville was rechristened Belleville Rendevous in the UK is one of several questions left unanswered by this reissue. Along with what happened to French director Sylvain Chomet’s animation career, which seems to have fizzled...

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Album: Jarvis Cocker – Chansons d’Ennui Tip-Top

Wes Anderson and Jarvis Cocker do 1960s French pop – this frothy confection couldn’t be any more “art school” if it were smoking a gauloise in a black polo-neck. Truly, what a match made on the Eurostar! For one so thoroughly Sheffield born-and-bred...

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Devieilhe, Tharaud, Wigmore Hall review - French soprano attracts young audience

Soprano Sabine Devieilhe (pronounced Devielle) and pianist Alexandre Tharaud are both well on their way to becoming "Monuments Nationaux" in France. When their most recent album Chanson d'Amour (Erato/Warner) was launched in September 2020...

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Two of Us review - a lesbian love story with a difference

“Do you have a problem with old dykes?” demands Nina (the superbly ferocious Barbara Sukowa) of a bland, nervous young estate agent, halfway through this wonderfully original first feature from director Filippo Meneghetti. No, he stammers. “You see...

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