sat 25/05/2019

France

Cannes 2019: Week One - a genre-heavy opening

Every year the Cannes Film Festival is a swirl of chaos, excitement, and controversy. Last year, the festival had a markedly different feel. Gone were the big starry names. Replacing them were less glitzy films that were given a chance to shine....

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Cannes 2019: The Dead Don't Die review - festival opens with rich zombie satire

“The world is perfect. Appreciate the details” says a WU-PS driver played by RZA, in Jim Jarmusch’s gleefully meta zombie-comedy that has just opened the Cannes Film Festival. It’s good advice. Jarmusch’s latest work is a finely tuned, deadpan...

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The Hustle review - rotten scoundrels

This third version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ yarn of rival, class-warring con artists on the French Riviera is just something for Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson to do till a better gig comes along. The concept goes no higher than teaming them up,...

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DVD: The House by the Sea

Robert Guediguian has spoken of the influence of Chekhov on The House by the Sea (Le Villa), and the shadow of the Russian dramatist, particularly The Cherry Orchard, can certainly be felt in the French director’s latest film, his 20th in a career...

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Banine: Days in the Caucasus review - revolutions, pogroms and love

By fifteen Ummulbanu Asadullayeva — or Banine, to call her by the name under which she wrote and translated — had already lived more than most of us will in a lifetime. She’d experienced great love, married, been both a refugee and returnee,...

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CD: L’Impératrice - Matahari

The French have developed an international reputation for a certain smooth style of electronic music. It’s the place where disco and house collide with something more urbane and far less sweaty. Daft Punk provided a defining moment with their 2013...

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Faust, Royal Opera review - fusty Gounod still dances

Goethe's cosmic Faust becomes Gounod's operatic fust in what, somewhat surprisingly, remains a repertoire staple. You go for the tunes, hoping for the world-class voices to do them justice and prepared for a pallid quarter-of-an-hour or two. David...

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At Eternity's Gate review - Willem Dafoe excels in hyperactive biopic

It's all go – no, make that Van Gogh –  when it comes to the Dutch post-Impressionist of late. Opening the same week as the Tate Britain's blockbuster exhibition about his years in London comes the artist-turned-filmmaker Julian...

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Interview with director Agnès Varda, who has died at 90

I met Agnès Varda, who died today aged 90, just once, for the interview that’s reproduced below. It was in Paris in January 2018, shortly before the Belgian-born filmmaker was to become the oldest Oscar nominee in history, for the wonderful...

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The White Crow review - gripping depiction of the brilliance of Nureyev

Genius is as genius does, and Rudolf Nureyev made sure nobody was left in any doubt about the scale of either his talents or his ambitions. Based on Julie Kavanagh's biography Rudolf Nureyev: The Life, The White Crow pairs director and actor...

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An encounter with John Richardson, Picasso's biographer who has died at 95

When I interviewed John Richardson, who has died at the age of 95, he was edging through his definitive four-tome life of the minuscule giant of Cubism. Of the various breaks he took from the business of research and writing, one yielded The...

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Sadie Jones: The Snakes review - lacking feeling

Bea and Dan are a young married couple. They have a mortgage on their small flat in Holloway and met while out clubbing in Peckham. She’s a plain-looking, modest and hard-working psychotherapist; he’s putting in the hours as an estate agent having...

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