sat 24/08/2019

World War Two

Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with Soviet and post-Soviet citizens who were children during the second world war. They recount strange and terrible...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: The Night of the Generals

Anatole Litvak’s The Night of the Generals (1967), beautifully restored here to 4K, is a tortuous and at times entertaining mash-up of the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler and the murder of a prostitute in Nazi-occupied Warsaw a few years earlier....

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Small Island, National Theatre review - fun epic takes ages to warm up

Novelist Andrea Levy's 2004 masterpiece, Small Island, is a tribute to the Windrush Generation, those migrants to England from the Caribbean that came first on the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, and then subsequently on other ships. Being British...

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The Aftermath review - it looks great but it lacks bite

Is it time for the rebirth of the old-fashioned wartime weepie? If so, this time next year The Aftermath will be dragging a clanking heap of statuettes round Hollywood, attached to the rear bumper of its 1940s army staff car. If not…A cynical person...

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Q&A Special: Actor Bruno Ganz on playing Hitler

There is nothing quite like the Iffland-Ring in this country. The property of the Austrian state, for two centuries it has been awarded to the most important German-speaking actor of the age, who after a suitable period nominates his successor and...

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Das Boot, Sky Atlantic review - menacing drama on land and sea

Wolfgang Petersen’s film Das Boot is now nearly 40 years old, but in this new TV sequel time has moved forward a mere nine months from the original story, into the autumn of 1942. Whether it’s still springtime for Hitler is moot, but the U-boat...

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Blu-ray: Diamonds of the Night

The opening shot of Jan Němec’s 1964 debut feature, Diamonds of the Night, recalls the start of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil. Němec’s camera also ducks and dives, here following a pair of teenagers fleeing from a moving train and escaping into a...

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The Last Survivors, BBC Two review - living on

When they were children the interviewees in this film – the last survivors – were taken away in incomprehensible circumstances, on their way to be murdered for who they were, in Germany and places further east. A handful of the few thousands who...

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Magda Szabó: Katalin Street review - love after life

This is a love story and a ghost story. The year is 1934 and the Held family have moved from the countryside to an elegant house on Katalin Street in Budapest. Their new neighbours are the Major (with whom Mr Held fought in the Great War) and his...

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Mrs Wilson, BBC One review - real-life secrets and lies

In which the titular Mrs Wilson is played by her real-life granddaughter Ruth Wilson, in an intriguing tale of subterfuge both personal and professional. The curtain rose over suburban west London in the 1960s, where Alison Wilson was married to...

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Daša Drndić: Belladonna review - a tragicomic journey into Europe's darkness

Daša Drndić, the Croatian author who died in June aged 71, has posthumously won the second Warwick Prize for Women in Translation for her coruscating novel Belladonna. The award, set up last year to help rectify the acute, and long-standing, gender...

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