tue 13/11/2018

Japan

Kusama - Infinity review - amazing tale of survival against the odds

Wearing a red dress covered in black polka dots and a bright red wig, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama sits drawing, a look of intense concentration on her face. It takes her three days, she says, to finish one of these huge repeating patterns (main...

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CD: Tim Hecker - Konoyo

It may be mean to say, but it seems sadness agrees with Tim Hecker. The Canadian has been a mainstay of the global experimental music world almost since the turn of the millennium, sitting somewhere between neo-classical, shoegaze, ambient and...

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Blu-ray: Mishima - A Life in Four Chapters

So much of Japan can be lost in translation, and yet the West is fascinated by a culture that articulates the possibilities of belief and being in such a different mode than our own. Paul Schrader’s now classic 1985 film on the writer and actor...

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: 'Ideally I'm recording all the time, 24 hours a day' - interview

Ryuichi Sakamoto has conquered underground and mainstream with seeming ease over four decades, never dropping off in the quality of his releases. Indeed his most recent projects, following his return to public life after treatment for throat cancer...

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Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne review - perverse staging, outstanding cast

Puccini’s heroines and the rough treatment he hands out to them have come in for plenty of opprobrium over the years. But just occasionally they fight back on his behalf in the person of an outstanding singing actress; and this is exactly the case...

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DVD/Blu-ray: An Actor's Revenge

Japanese director Kon Ichikawa’s An Actor’s Revenge is something of a one-off. Even in the context of the prolific director’s career variety, it’s an unusually stylised and visually captivating story of high artifice – there’s rich melodrama in its...

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Isle of Dogs review - canine caper with a message

This isn't a feature about London's former docklands (although much of it was made in a studio nearby), but rather Wes Anderson's second foray into stop-motion animation (after 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox) and a quiet hymn to two of his...

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The Third Murder review - unpacking a crime enigma

Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu offers up mystery aplenty in his new film The Third Murder, enigma and riddle too. He also moves away from the territory of family drama for which he is best known. There’s similar intensity in some of the...

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The Great Wave, National Theatre review - moving epic of global loss

You could call it an absence of yellow. Until very recently British theatre has been pretty poor at representing the stories of Chinese and East Asian people, and even of British East Asians. In 2016, Andrew Lloyd Webber called British theatre “...

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Roma Agrawal: Built review - solid love

"I've been known to stroke concrete," writes self-professed geek Roma Agrawal – and from the very beginning of her memoir-cum-introduction to structural engineering, Built, where she describes her awe as a toddler at the glass and steel canyon of...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Ryuichi Sakamoto - async

From his days as a session musician in mid-Seventies Tokyo through global mega fame in Yellow Magic Orchestra and on, Ryuichi Sakamoto has always had a Stakhanovite work ethic. And that's still the case, even at the age of 65, and despite the fact...

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LFF 2017: Blade of the Immortal / Redoubtable - Samurai slasher versus the Nouvelle Vague

This is the 100th feature film by Takashi Miike, Japan’s fabled maestro of sex, horror and ultra-violent Yakuza flicks, and here he has found his subject in Hiroake Samura’s Blade of the Immortal manga comics. Manji (Takuya Kimura) is a veteran...

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