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Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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13 Jan 2:06pm Sir Robert Cohan, modern dance legend, dies aged 95
The Guardian
The choreographer and influential teacher was a pioneer of contemporary dance in the UK Tributes have been paid to the choreographer Sir Robert Cohan, a pioneer of contemporary dance in Britain, who has died at the age of 95. A New Yorker who performed with Martha Graham’s dance company, often partnering Graham herself, Cohan moved to London where, in 1967, he became the first artistic director of the venue
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13 Jan 12:28pm The Mauritanian review – fence-sitting Guantánamo drama provides few answers
The Guardian
This painfully worthy adaptation of former inmate Mohamedou Ould Salahi’s diary stars only good guys, and is hand-wringingly self congratulatory Any movie that reminds us of the ongoing civil rights scandal at the US’s extrajudicial detention camp at Guantánamo Bay should be a good thing:
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13 Jan 11:00am Recon review – GIs on a mission to nowhere
The Guardian
Second world war soldiers in Italy march warily towards a possible trap in a disappointingly flat adaptation of Richard Bausch’s much-lauded novel The Tenet-style action “rewind” in Recon’s opening scene suggests this adaptation of Richard Bausch’s 2008 novel Peace, based on his grandfather’s wartime experiences, might offer more than the average second world war thriller. Don’t get your hopes up. There’s no time travel, nor multi-perspective narrative tricks, nor even an innovative depiction of trauma’s impact on memory. Recon takes place in just the single dimension of reality, and a rather leaden one at that. Alexander Ludwig (Vikings) stars as Marson, a US army corporal stationed somewhere in Italy, who is sent trudging into the mountains by a callous commanding officer on a pointless and potentially suicidal reconnaissance mission. He and his small crew are irritable, exhausted and haunted by a recently witnessed war crime, all of which they articulate at length as they struggle through the snow. Their guide is an elderly farmer (
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13 Jan 10:00am The Dig review – Sutton Hoo excavation romance is none too deep
The Guardian
Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes unearth an Anglo-Saxon burial ship, but leave their emotions interred, in this robustly English drama The Dig is actually not a very earthy film, though there is intelligence and sensitivity and a good deal of English restraint and English charm, thoroughly embodied by the fine leading performers Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes. But the passions mostly stay buried, and the movie is disconcertingly structured in such a way that we are first asked to invest in these two intriguingly complex personalities, but then – just when their emotions might get disinterred – the focus shifts to a younger pair with more obvious romantic potential, played by Johnny Flynn and Lily James. Mulligan and Fiennes look like two characters who have been written out of their own soap opera. This doesn’t stop The Dig being engaging, and with a beautiful sense of landscape.
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13 Jan 9:30am The Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer review – a peek into the abyss
The Guardian
This Netflix four-parter nobly attempts to deglamorise Richard Ramirez’s crimes but can’t help looking for heroes in a bungled police investigation Six-year-old Anastasia Hronas was in bed one hot summer’s night in 1985 when Richard Ramirez opened her window. The serial killer abducted her and drove her across Los Angeles to his home. A quarter of a century later, Hronas recalled her ordeal. “I don’t know how long I was in the car. He wanted me to look at him and touch him and things like that.” Once at his house, Ramirez zipped her into a duffel bag and only let her out to repeatedly sexually assault her. “I remember saying: ‘Stop, this hurts.’ Something in the way that he would look at me, it was almost like: ‘I’m sorry that I’m doing this to you. But I’m not sorry, ’cause I’m not gonna stop.’”
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13 Jan 9:29am Not just for drunken sailors: how sea shanties took over TikTok
The Guardian
Once the preserve of salty old sea dogs, the folk songs are the latest craze on the social media site. But is it wholesome fun, or a sign lockdown has broken us?
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13 Jan 8:54am Super Meat Boy Forever review – a gristly challenge
The Guardian
PC, Nintendo Switch (version tested), Xbox One, smartphone (forthcoming); Team Meat
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13 Jan 8:00am Blithe Spirit review – Judi Dench presides over a deathly farce
The Guardian
Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann and Isla Fisher mug spiritedly but there is little life in this unfunny Noël Coward adaptation The classic Noël Coward comedy about a ghost (first filmed by David Lean in 1945 with Rex Harrison) has now been adapted again, with stage and TV director Edward Hall making his movie debut. It can only be described as an un-reinvention, a tired, dated and unfunny period piece that changes the original plot a bit but offers no new perspective, and no new reason to be doing it in the first place. (Not compared with, say, Matthew Warchus’s stage revival of Coward’s
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13 Jan 7:15am Top 10 unconventional essays | Eula Biss
The Guardian
Taking in everything from town planning to cruising for sex, this mongrel genre claims an eccentric free range not available to other kinds of writing
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13 Jan 7:00am Words Fail Us by Jonty Claypole review – the positive case for ‘speech disorders’
The Guardian
A writer with a stutter offers a thought-provoking defence of disfluency and takes a sideswipe at Freud
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13 Jan 6:00am Imperial Blue review – Ugandan adventures of a drug-smuggling dope
The Guardian
A dealer who dreams of discovering the source of a mystical substance that lets you see the future heads deep into Africa Drug smuggler Hugo (Nicolas Fagerberg) has “the connect”. Or he’d like to think he does. Certainly this debut feature from British director Dan Moss knows several good spots, guiding us through a series of impressive locations with the confidence of a seasoned traveller. After Hugo’s big-money hashish deal in a partly flooded Mumbai building site goes wrong, he’s introduced to
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13 Jan 5:54am Jimi Hendrix family dispute escalates over use of name for music school
The Guardian
Brother and niece found to have infringed injunction from company run by guitarist’s stepsister, preventing them from using the Hendrix name commercially Jimi Hendrix’s brother and niece have been found in contempt of court, after they violated a ruling that forbids them from using the Hendrix name commercially. The rights to Hendrix’s music, name and likeness are held by two connected companies, Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix, created by the musician’s father Al Hendrix in 1995. Since his death in 2002, the companies have been run by Al’s adopted daughter Janie Jinka.
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13 Jan 4:00am The Act of Living by Frank Tallis review – the analysts can teach us
The Guardian
We need a strong sense of self, to feel safe, to be loved. Reading Freud and others in the psychotherapeutic tradition can help, this genial study argues An old man with a shaggy white beard and matching hair stands in front of an audience of seekers and flower children. They are looking for ways of amplifying their human potential, of becoming more aware of their sense perceptions. It’s the tail end of the 1960s and the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, is where it’s happening. Throughout the decade, the fame of Fritz Perls – founder of Gestalt therapy in the 50s along with his rarely mentioned wife, Laura, and the once-lauded social critic Paul Goodman – soared. Perls’s so-called Gestalt Prayer was doing the rounds: “I do my thing and you do your thing, / I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, / and you are not in this world to live up to mine. / You are you, and I am I, / and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful. / If not, it can’t be helped.” (Even by this time Gestalt had lost its intellectual oomph, having moved away from its earlier therapeutic intent into the world of yogis and platitudes.)
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13 Jan 2:30am A Burning by Megha Majumdar review – a brilliant debut
The Guardian
A young Muslim woman in Kolkata is accused of a terrorist outrage, in a thriller about poverty and social aspiration that is also a moral drama Megha Majumdar’s excellent debut novel begins with a pile-on, the kind of digital public shaming Jon Ronson has written about. A young Muslim woman named Jivan reads on her phone about a terrorist attack at a railway station near the slum in Kolkata where she lives. More than a hundred people were killed in the blaze. She posts a question – simple, pointed, instinctive: “If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean the government is also a terrorist?” Her question spreads across social media like forest fire. Monstrous accusations are hurled at her. She is alleged to have been spotted at the station carrying a bulky package and, worse, chatting online with someone the local police declare is a known terrorist recruiter. Charged with the heinous crime, she’s sent to jail to await trial.
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13 Jan 1:20am TV tonight: Rosario Dawson swaps her lightsabers for detective drama
The Guardian
Dawson stars as Allegra Dill in Briarpatch. Plus: Julia Bradbury walks Cornwall and Devon. Here’s what to watch this evening
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13 Jan 1:00am Playwright Mark Ravenhill: why I took up ballet after my mum died
The Guardian
He tried dance to cope with grief – and found himself in a class with ‘25 mostly retired ladies’. It all fed into his new play, about his mother, his childhood and his obsession with Jemima Puddle-Duck The playwright of Shopping and Fucking, Some Explicit Polaroids and Mother Clap’s Molly House is remembering the joy of dressing up as Jemima Puddle-Duck. A trip to the cinema for
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12 Jan 7:01pm See you in the virtual bar! Digital dramas capture buzz of theatregoing
The Guardian
Sound Stage, a season of eight new audio plays, will enable audience members to connect with each other virtually A new digital initiative has been launched to recreate the social experience of theatregoing, complete with a virtual bar where audiences can chat over interval drinks. Sound Stage, presented by Pitlochry Festival theatre and the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh in collaboration with Naked Productions, will have an opening season of eight new audio plays by writers including Mark Ravenhill, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Roy Williams and John Byrne. There will be one premiere a month from March onwards. Pitlochry’s artistic director, Elizabeth Newman, said that it would enable audience members to connect with each other during the isolation of lockdown and give them the sense of a special event that is missing from many theatre streams. For people who live on their own, she said, the theatre is “a place to go and see other people – to have a story but also to talk about what they’ve just experienced”. The buzzy atmosphere in a venue before the play starts and the social interactions with front-of-house staff are recreated online. Audiences buy a ticket, visit the Sound Stage website and are taken to their virtual seat or to the bar, where a host enables them to chat with others, before the bell warns them the play is about to begin. Afterwards there will be post-show discussions with the creative team. Newman said that an integral part of theatregoing for her has always been catching up with friends and having conversations about the play. Sound Stage intends to bring that interactivity and sense of community online.
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