wed 19/06/2024

France

Album: Bab L'Bluz - Swaken

Bab L’Bluz are a French-Moroccan four-piece that play a tasty blend of fiery psychedelic rock backed up with hypnotic North African gnawa rhythms. Featuring electric awisha lute, guembri, percussion and castanet-like qraqeb rather than more...

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Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbican review - blazing French masterpieces

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me – could not have been disappointed in their late-stage replacements. Elizabeth Watts is as much of a national...

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Anthracite, Netflix review - murderous mysteries in the French Alps

Ludicrous plotting and a tangled skein of coincidences hold no terrors for the makers of this frequently baffling French drama. Nonetheless, its story of a bizarre cult, a rapacious medical corporation and a trail of dead bodies stretching back...

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Daphnis et Chloé, Tenebrae, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - lighting up Ravel’s ‘choreographic symphony’

Antonio Pappano fervently believes that talking about music is a vital part of his communicative art, and nobody does it better. Given that the London Symphony Orchestra's enterprising Half Six Fix format is scheduled for an hour each time, and that...

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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire review - a bit of a monster let-down

The latest blockbuster of 2024 is this disappointing fifth entry in the so-called MonsterVerse franchise, owned by Legendary Pictures. About half of the film contain actors, while half of it is computer-generated – the likely brief future of cinema...

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The Origin of Evil review - Laure Calamy stars in gripping French psychodrama

A young woman (Laure Calamy; Call my Agent!; Full Time; Her Way) is trying to pluck up the courage to call her father, who she’s tracked down and has never met. Her voice trembles, she can barely speak, she has to hang up. But finally she manages it...

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theartsdesk in Strasbourg: crossing the frontiers

A single pair of swans glided serenely under the bridges of the river Ill as I walked to the premiere of the Opéra National du Rhin’s new production of Lohengrin in Strasbourg on Sunday.It felt like an auspicious omen for Michael Spyres’s first full...

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Album: Laetitia Sadier - Rooting for Love

It must be kind of unreal living in the Stereolab universe.A band of geeky introverts, beloved of the type of hairclip-and-satchel indie ultras a friend of mine used to call “the Scooby Gang” for their tendency to resemble Shaggy and Velma, over the...

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Lugansky, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Letonja, Cadogan Hall review - Russian soul, French flair

To judge by the post-interval empty seats near me, some of the Cadogan Hall audience had turned up last night solely to hear Nikolai Lugansky play Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Well, the more fool them. For sure they would have enjoyed their...

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The Taste of Things review - a gentle love letter to haute cuisine

Awarded the best director prize at Cannes last year, Anh Hung Tran has served up cinema’s latest hymn to gastronomy, The Taste of Things. Tasting (and smelling) what’s on the screen is obviously impossible, but even so Tran provides as total a...

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Tatty Macleod, Soho Theatre review - cross-Channel relations

Tatty Macleod, whose debut show is about the differences between the French and the English, has a confession to make: she's not French. She not even half English/half French, despite having lived her life between the two countries. But she's...

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Blood Coast, Netflix review - mayhem in Marseille

The original title of this French crime drama was Pax Massilia, a reference to the classical roots of its setting in what is now known as Marseille. Dating back to the 6th Century BC, it’s supposedly the oldest city in France. An atmospheric mix of...

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