sun 10/12/2023

Germany

Blu-ray: Pandora's Box

The story has often been told of how GW Pabst cast the American starlet Louise Brooks in his Berlin-made Pandora’s Box (1929) and fashioned his version of Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu plays” around her transfixing performance as the helpless pan-sexual...

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Frang, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Jurowski, Barbican review - on the summit

These days British orchestras count themselves lucky if they can see, and plan, five years ahead. In Bavaria they do things rather differently. As the ducal court ensemble, and later the house band of the Munich opera, the Bayerisches...

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First Person: the Bayerisches Staatsorchester's Managing Director Guido Gärtner on its 500th anniversary

Nine cities in seven countries; all in all, eleven concerts, on top of that, an appearance at home in Munich. Celebrating its 500th anniversary, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester is currently on an extended journey. We have been looking forward with...

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Afire review - a moral reckoning by the Baltic

Experts in irony tend to see life as faintly absurd, relatively meaningless and usually circular. They’re too self-aware to be neurotic and live life in short bursts, letting out little private snorts of dry, amused exasperation at frequent...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Klar!80 - celebrating Düsseldorf’s early Eighties underground

Düsseldorf’s most famous band is Kraftwerk. Neu!, La Düsseldorf, and, a little later, D.A.F also helped mark-out the west German city as the home of musical boundary pushers – folks doing their own thing. Fellow Düsseldorf residents Die Toten Hosen...

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World on Fire, Series 2, BBC One - return of Peter Bowker's panoramic view of World War Two

Writer Peter Bowker apparently had plans to make six series of World on Fire, but the arrival of Covid after 2019’s first series threw a spanner in the works. Anyway, here’s the second one at last, and it’s a little strange to find that this...

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Blu-ray: Laurin

Mario Bava and Dario Argento are cited as key influences on Robert Sigl’s debut feature Laurin (1989). British viewers will also be reminded of the series of MR James ghost story adaptations broadcast by the BBC in the 1970s; a glimpse of a murdered...

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Götterdämmerung, Longborough Festival review - from the hieratic to the mundane and back

Götterdämmerung is not only the grandest of Wagner’s Ring operas, it is also the most varied. Siegfried’s journey down the Rhine transports him in a short quarter-hour from the hieratic world of the Norns and the World Ash to the soap-opera of the...

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Die Verlierer, New River Studios review - Berlin punks instantly find an audience at their UK debut

It’s flabbergasting. OK, there’s the power of the internet as a propagation tool but here’s a German band playing their first UK show to a jumping-up-and-down audience punching the air while shouting along with the chorus of “X-Ray Vision” – which,...

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Arminio, Royal Opera review - Handel does Homeland, and it works

Invasion by a colonising power has convulsed a country, dividing families – even individuals – between the rival claims of resistance and collaboration. A captured freedom-fighter from the indigenous elite faces execution; an imperial general hopes...

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Villeneuve Pironi: Racing's Untold Tragedy, Sky Documentaries review - a macabre slice of motor racing mythology

Netflix’s hit show Drive to Survive has proved that F1 can grab ratings, but Villeneuve Pironi: Racing's Untold Tragedy (Sky Documentaries) is a more esoteric offering.It’s a story from the annals of early-Eighties Formula One, in which filmmakers...

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Blu-ray: Saraband for Dead Lovers

The 17th century romantic tragedy Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948), Ealing Studios' first Technicolor film, was conceived as a magnificent spectacle. The opulent costumes and Oscar-winning sets, shot in pleasingly muted tones and rendered almost 3D...

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