thu 17/10/2019

Venice

DVD/Blu-ray: Don't Look Now

Don’t Look Now is beautiful in its dankness – an eldritch psychological thriller that follows a grieving father’s stream-of-consciousness as it flows into deadly waters. Time Out 's critics have been magnanimous in twice voting Nicolas Roeg's...

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Monteverdi Vespers, Cummings, The English Concert, Garsington Opera Chorus review – Gloria in the Chilterns

Scholars still wrangle over the work now known as Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. Was this an integral piece written for a single liturgical occasion, or a sort of anthology of luxury items assembled to help the composer’s bid to escape the underpaid...

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58th Venice Biennale review - confrontational, controversial, principled

There’s a barely disguised sense of threat running through the 2019 Venice Biennale. Of the 79 participating artists and groups, all are living and there’s a sharp sense that the purpose of the exhibition is to diagnose the ills afflicting the...

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Cathy Wilkes, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale review - poetic and personal

Dried flowers like offerings lie atop a gauze-covered rectangular frame. Pebbles surround its base alongside plaster casts, a desiccated dragonfly and an animal foot charm. Their placement is purposeful; their exact significance unclear. Four rib-...

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Betrayal, Harold Pinter Theatre review - Tom Hiddleston anchors a bold, brooding revival

The grand finale of Jamie Lloyd’s remarkable Pinter at the Pinter season is this starry production of one of the writer’s greatest – and certainly most personal – works, inspired by his extramarital affair with Joan Bakewell. The 1978 play is...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Comfort of Strangers

“There’s a lot of weirdness I didn’t want explained,” Paul Schrader reveals at one point in a new director’s commentary to his 1990 film. He certainly succeeded on that score: with its script by Harold Pinter (adapting Ian McEwan’s elliptical 1981...

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A Discovery of Witches, episode 2, Sky 1 review - when the sorceress met the vampire

Witches, vampires and magicke of all descriptions continue to be big box office, so Sky 1’s new dramatisation of the first book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy should be finding a ready-made audience. Anybody who’s into this kind of stuff...

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Sargent, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - wonders in watercolour

This sparkling display of some four score watercolours from the first decade of the last century throw an unfamiliar light on the artistry of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), the last great swagger portrait painter in the western tradition. None...

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57th Venice Biennale review - riveting and bewildering

Riveting and bewildering, the 57th Venice Biennale has just opened its myriad doors to the public with several thousand exhibits spread across Venice and its islands. The preview days were thronged with the art world and its coterie of high and low...

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theartsdesk in Venice: Shylock comes home

"In such a night as this..." begins Lorenzo's beautiful speech in Act V of The Merchant of Venice. Watching Shakespeare's play in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo on a balmy evening under a darkening navy blue sky, with cicadas providing a busy background...

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Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

Arts festivals the size of the Venice Biennale are inevitably patchy. The appointed directors are hardly ever given enough time to curate and fill absolutely vast volumes of space. They can exhort the many national and individual participants to...

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The Silk Road, BBC Four

Terracotta warriors, Bactrian two-humped camels, Heavenly Horses, Buddhist caves, sand dunes, the world’s first printed book, a silk factory and temples galore including one that was the great mosque in Xi’an, were but some of the ingredients in a...

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