sat 28/05/2022

Italy

The Tale of King Crab review - an unholy fool's phantasmagoric progress

“Crazy? Aristocrat? Sad? Killer? Drunk?” A modern Tuscan hunting lodge’s regulars remember the myth of irascible rebel Luciano many ways, as it endures from the previous century’s misty turn. Italian-American co-directors Matteo Zoppi and Allessio...

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Ennio review - sprawling biog of the maestro of movie music

Ennio Morricone’s collaboration with director Giuseppe Tornatore on 1988’s Cinema Paradiso was one of the countless highlights of his career, and it’s Tornatore who has masterminded this sprawling documentary tribute to the composer, who died in...

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Benedetta review - lesbian nuns' sex and faith collide

Paul Verhoeven’s latest provocation is an old-fashioned but vigorous 17th century lesbian nun shocker, based on eye-poppingly explicit testimonies at the Christian church’s sole lesbian trial. It’s his most sustained examination of faith and sex, a...

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Oberto, Chelsea Opera Group, Cadogan Hall review - Verdi’s first opera bounces into life

There are quite a few dull patches in the early Verdi operas that aren’t Nabucco, Ernani or Macbeth, so I wasn’t expecting so very much from the 26-year-old composer’s first shot. That was without taking into account how spiritedly the ad hoc...

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Three Floors review - nothing like good neighbours

A speeding drunk driver arrows down a silent street into a Roman block of flats. The impact’s reverberations ripple through the next 10 years, in Nanni Moretti’s soulful, Italian all-star adaptation of Eshkol Nevo’s novel, Three Floors Up.The...

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Cyrano review - a heady cinematic Valentine

Edmond Rostand’s familiar story of ventriloquised love becomes a sensual, sacrificial tragedy, in Joe Wright’s heady cinematic Valentine, adapted by screenwriter Erica Schmidt from her own stage musical, with music by members of The National.The...

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Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - second time lucky

Two Royal Opera staples, Verdi's La traviata and Puccini’s Tosca, now come round with too much frequency for critical coverage. It looks like Director of Opera Oliver Mears’ Rigoletto will do the same. Yet the production’s September 2021 debut was...

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Zingari/Tosca Suite, Opera Rara, Rizzi, Cadogan Hall review - symphonic mastery and fluent hokum

Two major composers took Pushkin’s narrative poem The Gypsies as the subject for two very different operas. The 19 year old Rachmaninov in 1892 had inspiration but not much sense of dramatic continuity; Leoncavallo in 1912, 20 years on from his...

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House Of Gucci review – gloriously gawdy trash

Back in 2013, Gina Gershon chewed up the scenery in the daytime movie House of Versace. Focusing on the murder of Gianni Versace, it was a tacky, cheap drama that knew what it was, and was all the more entertaining for it. The same can’t be said of...

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Monteverdi Vespers, La Nuova Musica, Bates, Wigmore Hall review - small venue, huge impact

I last heard Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, published in 1610, at Garsington Opera as the summer light of the Chilterns slowly dimmed across an airy auditorium dotted with singers who bathed us in scintillating meteor-showers of sound....

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Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space

Two men trade licks: one of them delves into the heart of the blues, a potent dose of the boogie, the medicinal music of the Mississipi Delta. The other with a mournful voice and violin draws on the equally stripped-down and drone-inflected roots of...

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Blu-ray: The Damned

One German writer found a neat yet teasing way to sum up the difference between Luchino Visconti’s The Damned (1969), the first film in the Italian director’s “German trilogy”, and the two films that followed it.The Damned, known in Italian as La...

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