THE WHITE CROW is Russian slang for a person who is “unusual” and not like the others. It is a double-edged term used both for someone of exceptional ability and for an outsider who doesn’t fit in anywhere .
Screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival ,beautifully, elegantly photographed this film tells the story of the young Rudolf Nureyev from his birth on a train to his dramatic defection in Paris in 1961. It is directed by Ralph Fiennes (his third film as director) who also in the film plays Nureyev’s teacher and mentor Alexander Pushkin. Julie Kavanagh’s biography of Nureyev was adapted for the screen by David Hare. It is mostly in English but there are sequences in Russian and French with English surtitles. There are some exquisite shots of Paris. Continue reading THE WHITE CROW : A TERRIFIC FILM FOR DANCE LOVERS→
This sensational, broad, swirling epic, filmed live from the National Theatre , is magnificently staged and acted with towering performances by Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in the lead roles. Directed by Simon Godwin we see how the two worlds of Egypt and Rome collide and love blindly leads to tragedy.
The production has been transposed to now with mobiles, hi tech computer screens etc and contemporary speech patterns. But the poetry remains and is fresh and exciting ( eg Enobarbus’s “ purple barge “ speech ) .It begins with Caesar’s (Tunji Kasim) arrival at Cleopatra’s monument to discover she has just died and he issues order that she be buried alongside Antony. “No grave upon the earth shall clip in it ,A pair so famous.” We then look back on the great relationship between Antony and Cleopatra .
In Hildegard Bechtler’s set designs Egypt is represented by cool turquoise and water pools, Rome by stark polished offices and war rooms with precise hardness and neatness and displays of primitive masks ( Egyptian plunder? ) . Video footage of riot-shield clashes and a crescendo of mortar blasts in bombed-out streets put us bang in the middle of current middle-eastern clashes .There is a wonderful evocation of a submarine and The Monument uses tall simple lines. At times the use of the revolve is dizzying . Continue reading NT LIVE : ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA→
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare. Filmed live from the National Theatre, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power. Director Simon Godwin returns to National Theatre Live screens with this hotly anticipated production.
Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war.Continue reading ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA FROM NT LIVE. PREVIEW GIVEAWAY→
George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 MAN AND SUPERMAN with more than 57,000 words, is an epic romantic comedy of manners, a witty social satire and presents a range of very profound philosophical arguments and other existential topics and theories.
Full of contradictions, the play is a comedy about ideas – most of the characters passionately discuss and debate a range of subjects including politics, capitalism, socialism, social reform, male/female roles in courtship. It definitely has a certain Wildean appeal, with a multitude of clever witticisms, about music and the morals of the English upper classes, whilst questioning the integrity of English politicians.
When first published it was pronounced as being unstageable, because its verbosity made it unwieldy. The play asks fundamental questions about how we live, during its four acts lasting nearly four hours, and all the messages conveyed remain still very relevant today, and in its genre this play remains forever a provocative theatre landmark.
James Bond 007 returns. This week, full details for the latest outing of Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 were announced live from the franchise’s British studio home Pinewood Studios
The upcoming 24th James Bond 007 film will be called SPECTRE. The title was announced Thursday, along with new cast members Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott and Monica Bellucci.
At the height of his brilliant career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death. The younger woman was Nelly Ternan, 27 years his junior. They met when she was 18 and appearing with her mother and sisters in a play Charles was producing.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes from a screenplay by Abi Morgan, is based on the biography of the same name, by Claire Tomalin, published in 1991. The biography tells of their long-term clandestine affair, after Charles had ceased to love his wife Catherine who had borne him 10 children.
It’s worth checking in to THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (M) for the cavalcade of rich characters and invigorating incident.
A flashback story related by one guest to another, it concerns a consummate concierge by the name of M. Gustave, played with esteemed eloquence and incandescent clowning by Mr. Ralph Fiennes.
Gustave has elevated beck and call to a sublime service to become the indispensable and undisputed crown custodian of the hotel’s guests whims and desires. Not merely a keeper of the keys but a caretaker of comforts, especially with a coterie of grateful dowagers who show their gratitude in gratuity.
Most glorious of all endowments comes from Madame D., an almost unrecognisable Tilda Swinton whose bequest raises the murderous ire of her son, Dimitri, played in arch villainous mode by Adrain Brody, who dispatches his homicidal henchman, Jopling, played with bulldog stubborn, tripping on a high wire menace by Willem Dafoe.
Loosely based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, Wes Anderson’s film is a romp, a collide-a-scope, articulate, detailed, gorgeous to the eye and ear, and peopled with a cast that illustrates fidelity from previous films and the obvious desire of performers to work with the wunderkind Wes-meister.
Among the galaxy of stars in this big bang movie is F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Mathieu Almaric and Lea Seydoux.
The faded opulence of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL as conjured by production designer Adam Stockhausen confers a wonderful piss elegance to the picture which is beautifully shot in old fashioned format by Robert D. Yeoman, Anderson’s cinematographer of choice since the director’s debut, Bottle Rocket. The tinge of tat eloquently conveys the eclipse of empire and the emerging shadow of fascism and totalitarianism that would engulf Europe.
With a dip o’ the lid to Lubitsch, Coward and the Marx Brothers, Anderson conveys a warm welcome to The GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL such a lovely place, such a funny place, to bring a happy face. You’ll be glad you checked in. It’s an engaging and enchanting stay.
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