wed 14/11/2018

South Africa

Katharine Kilalea: OK, Mr Field review - architecture and alienation on the Cape Town coast

Modern novels with an architectural theme have, to say the least, a mixed pedigree. At their finest, as in Thomas Bernhard’s Correction, the fluidity and ambiguity of prose fiction mitigates, even undermines, the obsessive planner’s or designer’s...

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The Wound review - gay love hurts in strong South African drama

The title of South African director John Trengove’s powerful first feature works in more ways than one. In its literal sense, it alludes to the ritual circumcision, or ukwaluka, that accompanies the traditional rite of passage for young Xhosa men,...

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DVD: Blood and Glory

George Orwell’s maxim that sport is war minus the shooting never loses its currency. This summer it may acquire more when the football squads of the pampered west head for Russia. Historically, it applies to a small sub-genre of films about the...

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Big Cats, BBC One review - how cats conquered the world

Accepted wisdom seemed to be that in the animal world rats and cockroaches were the most adaptable and the most widely geographically distributed, followed by those pesky humans. But think again: the premise in this new three-part series is that the...

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Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five times denser than seawater — it is succumbing to toxic shock. As biomatter...

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cadogan Hall review - peace, love and harmonies

On a dreary evening in what passes for summer, the news unutterably grim, an evening in the company of South Africa’s greatest export can’t help but lift the spirits. The nine singers that comprise Ladysmith Black Mambazo are mostly blood family,...

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Call the Midwife: 2016 Christmas Special, BBC One

While Miranda Hart's Chummy is no more and Jessica Raine (who played Jenny Lee) has long since departed to perish in Line of Duty and pout crossly in Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife has evolved into a sort of Heartbeat with nuns, featuring antique pop...

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Albums of the Year: Shabaka and the Ancestors - Wisdom of Elders

The future direction of jazz has been the subject of anxious discussion for at least 50 years, and the last few have seen particular fervent speculation, usually provoked by another tedious “death of jazz” article. Fortunately, such pieces almost...

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theartsdesk in Cape Town: Summer of nostalgia

Just 22 years old, South Africa’s national “Day of Reconciliation” on 16 December has shuffled into its perplexed young adulthood. Although commemorative events abound, few people seem to know how to strike the right note for this (just) pre-...

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A Man of Good Hope, Young Vic

The first thing you hear are the marimbas – music that’s pounded, punched out of the air by hundreds of fists. Later the instruments give us dances and songs, but this musical violence is never truly absent from an orchestra made up entirely of...

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First Person: A Man of Good Hope

To begin writing a book is to start something over which you are going to lose control. As it comes to life, a book acquires its own quiddity, its own interior authority, and if the writer does not obey this authority she ruins the book. A Man of...

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Wallander, Series 4, BBC One

Having enjoyed so many Scandinavian dramas created in their own homelands, it feels like taking a step backwards to return (for its final series) to Kenneth Branagh's Anglo-Wallander. Far worse was that this first of a three-part series, The White...

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