Culture news, comment, video and pictures from The Guardian
Actor Noomi Rapace: ‘I came from a poor farm, I’m not educated, no one opened doors for me’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:30:08 GMT

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star on playing an astronaut, the significance of her surname and the time Orlando Bloom broke her nose

Born Noomi Norén, the 44-year-old Swedish actor Noomi Rapace left home aged 15 to study acting in Stockholm. She broke through globally in 2009 when she starred in the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She has since appeared in films including Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus and the Icelandic folk horror Lamb. Rapace can currently be seen in Constellation, an eight-part Apple TV+ thriller in which she plays an astronaut, Jo Ericsson, who returns to Earth after a disaster in space to find parts of her life and her family subtly upturned. Rapace lives between London and Lisbon and has a 21-year-old son.

In Constellation, you’re often not sure, as a viewer, whether what you’re watching is real or not. How would you describe the show?
It’s all real… some sort of real. And that’s what Jo is trying to figure out: has she lost her mind? Is she psychotic? Is it a huge conspiracy? That’s what is so brilliant about Peter Harness’s writing: he doesn’t feed us easy solutions or truths. It feels like looking into a broken mirror. And I like watching films and shows that have that complexity, because it doesn’t treat me like I’m stupid.

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Raye, Tate McRae and a bit of a rave: all the Brits 2024 performances reviewed
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 09:00:10 GMT

From Kylie’s megamix to Rema’s maximalism, we rate and slate the performers at British music’s biggest night of the year

It would be inaccurate to say that Dua Lipa is entering her flop era – the first singles from her upcoming album, Houdini and Training Season, are currently in or around the top 20 most streamed songs globally on Spotify. But there’s something a little gimlet-eyed in how they’re written – catchy in a grimly determined rather than breezily natural way – that makes them hard to love, and some mean media types (not me, yet!) are wondering if she could be on the way down the other side of fame’s hill.

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Great expectations and a bleak house: the promise and perils of staging Dickens
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 18:05:58 GMT

London Tide at the National Theatre is the latest in a flood of Dickensian adaptations. Few have captured the novelist’s surreal imagination – are solo shows the most successful?

Dickens and theatre are forever linked. The latest adaptation of his work is London Tide, based by Ben Power on Our Mutual Friend – with songs by himself and PJ Harvey – and opening at the National Theatre in April. Given that the novel depicts a London where money is the measure of all things and the Thames is pitifully polluted, it seems a timely venture.

But, keenly as I await it, I suspect it will raise all the old questions about the problems and pleasures of dramatising Dickens. What is extraordinary is the deluge of Dickens adaptations over the decades. In his own lifetime, pirated versions of the novels were rushed on to the stage even while they were still being serialised: one adapter, WT Moncrieff, even challenged Dickens to end Nicholas Nickleby “better than I have done”. I also have a cherished copy of a 1952 book, Dickens the Dramatist, which itemises all the stage versions of his books up to that point. The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist head the popularity list with more than 25 entries each: the former includes an Esperanto version played in Cambridge in 1907 and the latter, long before Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, yielded an 1891 operetta simply called Bumble.

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‘Women have libidos too!’: Ethan Coen and wife Tricia Cooke on their raunchy new lesbian road movie
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 08:00:08 GMT

There’s a new Coen duo in town. Ethan Coen and his wife, film editor Tricia Cooke, have created a feature – Drive-Away Dolls. Here they talk about 70s B-movies, US politics, and the joys of their unconventional marriage

In the folklore that has grown up around the Coen brothers over the past 40 years, there are two siblings, Ethan and Joel, and Joel’s wife, actor Frances McDormand, who has been a regular since their first film, Blood Simple, and bagged an Oscar for her unforgettable performance as the pregnant policewoman in Fargo. Ultra-swotty groupies may remember that Ethan’s son, Buster, was credited as Matt Damon’s abs double on True Grit, though Buster was barely into his teens and Damon never displayed his abs.

But unbeknown to most, on seven of the Coens’ films, up until 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There, a fourth member of the clan was working away behind the scenes. Tricia Cooke joined the team as an assistant editor on Miller’s Crossing, which was filmed in New Orleans, rising to become their regular film editor. “At the time, I really didn’t know who Joel and Ethan were. I hadn’t seen Blood Simple or Raising Arizona, but I really wanted to go to New Orleans,” says Cooke. She and Ethan quickly hit it off, but there was just one problem: “He asked me out on a date, and I told him I was a lesbian.”

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Hannah Gadsby on culture wars, pot-stirring and Picasso: ‘I created that circus. I don’t need to watch it’
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:02 GMT

Australian comedian hopes returning to the stage will help them reconnect with the immediacy of standup

Hannah Gadsby would like to set one thing straight: nearly six years after the viral success of Nanette, they’re still getting their head around how that breakthrough moment reshaped their world.

“I feel fine, I’m OK, but I would like to go on record as saying, ‘I don’t know exactly what I’m doing or why,’” the 46-year-old deadpans. “The world I am in now is simply not the same as the world that I’ve worked slowly and laboriously for over 40 years to understand. And now I’m just a fucking babe in the woods again.”

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‘The slap’, protests and tears: what makes a memorable Oscar speech?
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:00:13 GMT

Daniel Kaluuya thanked his parents for having sex and Will Smith referenced slapping the host. Academy awards bring out the best and worst in winners, but is there a right way to do it?

If Da’Vine Joy Randolph is, as predicted, announced as winner of the supporting actress Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles next weekend, the actor from Philadelphia will have to stride up to the podium and come up with the goods yet again. She has already spoken well at both the Golden Globes and Baftas when honoured for her role in The Holdovers. Let’s hope she has something left in the bag.

For Wendy Shanker it is a familiar predicament. The American script-doctor is regularly called upon to write a few wise words for potential award winners and at this time of year her phone is red hot. “It can be difficult if you’ve already done acceptance speeches, like Da’Vine. She will want to have kept back something that’s unique for the Oscar. But then she might not get it,” she said this weekend. “So I often help clients find that fine balance between making the most of it and hanging everything on it.”

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Audrey or Sorrow review – darkly comic tale of ghosts and grief
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 10:39:02 GMT

Abbey theatre, Dublin
The black humour gets grimmer in Marina Carr’s latest play as two parents grieve the sudden death of their baby and a disturbing family history emerges

There are three kinds of sorrow, one character explains in Marina Carr’s latest play, which goes on to portray gradations of suffering that seem innumerable. Laced with black comedy in the first half, its grim subject matter is initially kept at a distance in Caitríona McLaughlin’s sleek co-production for Landmark Productions and the Abbey theatre.

Looser in structure than Carr’s adaptations of Greek myth, its setting is the present or recent past, with echoes of fairytales and gothic legends. When we first meet mysterious adult-children Mac (Anna Healy), Grass (Marie Mullen) and Purley (Nick Dunning), their ritualised party games come with strict rules and fluorescent costumes, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Their domain is a cavernous basement dominated by two steep staircases, designed by Jamie Vartan to suggest a portal to another world.

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‘This was their home too’: Frankie Mills’s intimate portraits of Ukrainian refugees in the UK
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 11:00:12 GMT

Two years ago, when the first displaced Ukrainians arrived in the UK, the photographer followed a small group of women and children as they settled in rural Devon. She, and two of the women involved, tell us about the project

The remote village of Moorhaven, 15 miles east of Plymouth, is a place far removed from war. With open, barren moorland on one side and rolling countryside on the other, the surrounding landscape is scattered with wandering sheep and horses. So when a dozen Ukrainian refugees arrived there two years ago, Frankie Mills, a photojournalist at the local paper, found it hard not to pay attention. “It’s a small, tight-knit British community. The people that came were very visible.”

When Mills posted on a village Facebook forum asking to photograph some of the refugees, there was some resistance. “People thought it was really insensitive. They were very wary and sponsors saw it as their responsibility to protect their guests.”

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TV tonight: an explosive finale for Vicky McClure in Trigger Point
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 06:00:04 GMT

Bomb disposal officer Lana faces a terrible dilemma. Plus: the excellent Alex Kingston tell’s the story of Frankenstein. Here’s what to watch this evening

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The best theatre to stream this month: Peaky Blinders, Prima Facie and more
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 00:01:40 GMT

Our roundup of what to watch at home includes Rambert’s prequel to the hit TV series, Jodie Comer reprising the legal drama and Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger

A doff of the cap to Rambert’s artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer for teaming up with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and the late Benjamin Zephaniah to deliver this blistering prequel to the street gang’s saga. A hit in 2022, it brought dance to a huge new audience and heads back out on tour this autumn, but a version filmed at the Hippodrome, in the gang’s home turf Birmingham, is on BBC iPlayer.

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The Gentlemen to Extraordinary: the seven best shows to stream this week
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 07:00:50 GMT

Guy Ritchie is back with a wild, violent series about a posh duke getting embroiled in the criminal underworld – and loving it. Plus, the return of the cheerful superpower comedy

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Conductor Simon Rattle says cutting UK tax relief for orchestras would be a catastrophe
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 10:00:09 GMT

Plea to protect arts funding as a growing number of city and county councils face bankruptcy

Sir Simon Rattle, the world-renowned British conductor, has urged the government not to slash crucial tax relief for orchestras, after the collapse of regional funding for the arts.

Speaking to the Observer this ­weekend, Rattle, who made his name with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s, is calling on Westminster ­politicians not to allow classical music and the wider arts to be forgotten as a ­growing number of city and county councils face bankruptcy and decide to “defund” the arts.

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Brit awards 2024: women dominate as Raye scores record-smashing six wins
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 22:45:42 GMT

Artists have previously only managed four wins in one ceremony, capping an astonishing year for the British singer who was once left in major label limbo

Three years ago she was lost in limbo at a major label, publicly lashing out with frustration at not being allowed to release an album. Now, the ultra-versatile British pop singer Raye has won six Brit awards in one year, smashing the previous record of four held by Harry Styles, Adele and Blur.

She capped a triumphant night for women across a range of genres, with 70% of 2024’s winning acts either female or non-binary – a marked change from recent years when the Brits faced criticism for being heavily weighted towards male artists.

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BBC move to axe Doctors is ‘disastrous’, says screenwriter
Sat, 02 Mar 2024 17:07:22 GMT

Soap has given opportunities to actors, writers and production staff, says Philip Ralph on last day of filming

A screenwriter who described the decision to axe the daytime drama Doctors as “disastrous” on social media has been inundated with support from the public and TV industry.

Philip Ralph said soaps were collapsing as he marked the last day of filming the show, a programme he has worked on for nearly 20 years.

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Charli XCX prankster is latest in a long line of authors to fool the public
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 18:33:32 GMT

A writer hoodwinked the internet into thinking the singer nabbed his book title but he’s not the first author to pull a controversial publicity stunt

On Wednesday, writer Gabriel Smith shared what at first glance seemed to be an email sent by the singer Charli XCX, asking if she could use the title of Smith’s forthcoming debut novel, Brat, for her next album, which is also being released this summer. “I have been a HUGE fan of your writing for ages,” the email states, adding that using the title would be a “tribute”.

Yet, looking closer, it is clear the email is faked – the recipient is Charli, not Smith. On Thursday, Charli responded to the faked email: “ive never heard of you. good luck with your book tho !” she wrote.

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Winchester plan for £100,000 Jane Austen statue triggers ‘Disneyfication’ fears
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 12:53:03 GMT

People at public meeting raise concerns that sculpture in cathedral grounds will attract tourists taking selfies

The idea was to celebrate one of the greatest British authors with a beautiful statue set up in a cathedral for the 250th anniversary of their birth.

But at a public meeting to discuss the erection of a Jane Austen sculpture close to her final resting place at Winchester Cathedral, concerns were raised that it would lead to the “Disneyfication” of the place of worship and become a magnet for tourists keen to get a selfie.

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Paolo Taviani, acclaimed director of classic Italian films, dies aged 92
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 12:39:42 GMT

The film-maker, who won the Palme d’Or for 1977’s Padre Padrone, was a towering presence for more than three decades, creating politically engaged works with his brother Vittorio

The Italian film-maker Paolo Taviani, whose gritty biopic Padre Padrone won top prize at the Cannes film festival, has died aged 92, Rome’s mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, said on Thursday.

For more than three decades Taviani and his brother Vittorio formed one of cinema’s greatest directorial duos. “Paolo Taviani, a great maestro of Italian cinema, leaves us,” Gualtieri said on X. The brothers “directed unforgettable, profound, committed films which entered into the collective imagination and the history of cinema”, Gualtieri added.

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Instagram is vital to art and museum culture, say gallery founders
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 09:44:18 GMT

Owners of Moco, which is opening a space in London, say platform can help bring in younger audiences

Instagram is now vital to art gallery and museum culture and can be used to bring in younger audiences, according to the founders of a Dutch contemporary art space that is coming to London this summer.

Kim Logchies-Prins and her husband, Lionel, co-founded the Moco museum of modern, contemporary and street art in Amsterdam and are opening a 25,000 sq ft space in London.

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Steve Coogan and makers of The Lost King sued by academic over his portrayal in the film
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 18:25:52 GMT

The former deputy registrar of the University of Leicester claims the 2022 movie presented him as ‘dismissive, patronising and misogynistic’

A former deputy registrar of the University of Leicester is suing the makers of the 2022 film The Lost King, claiming it presented him as “dismissive, patronising and misogynistic”.

Richard Taylor was played by Lee Ingleby in the film, which is about the discovery of the remains of Richard III in a car park in Leicester in 2012, more than 500 years after his death. At a hearing in London on Thursday, Taylor’s barrister, William Bennett KC, asserted that his client was portrayed as “devious”, “weasel-like” and a “suited bean-counter”.

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An icon turns 65: Barbie’s changing style showcased in London exhibition
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 15:35:32 GMT

As doll’s fame hits a new high, Design Museum will explore the impact her changing appearance has had

You don’t have to be a devotee of popular culture to have noticed the omnipresence of brand Barbie over the past year.

The release of Greta Gerwig’s cinematic portrayal of the world’s most famous doll has led to Barbie being inserted into debates far beyond the realms of showbiz, from geopolitical border disputes to discussions on the state of feminism.

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‘Turner stops me in my tracks’: four Tate curators discuss their favourite artworks
Mon, 29 Jan 2024 12:48:45 GMT

Whether it’s romantic watercolours or contemporary installations, curators from Tate Britain and Tate Modern share the works that bring them joy, hope and solace

The days are short, the nights are long, and the weather is less than inviting – which is why winter is the perfect time to visit art galleries; light-filled spaces full of creativity, ideas and togetherness (not to mention cosy cafes and, in the case of Tate Modern, epic views over London).

With thousands of pieces of art in its permanent collections on show across its two London galleries (all of which are available to explore for free), Tate Britain and Tate Modern have something for everyone. In fact, the only problem can be knowing where to start.

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The culture cure: how art can be a powerful healing experience
Mon, 29 Jan 2024 12:45:58 GMT

Humans often find catharsis through creating art, while looking at paintings and sculptures can light up the pleasure centre in the brain and release dopamine

“From delighting in the creativity of others, seeing something from a different perspective, sharing that experience or forging connections, I know I always leave our galleries feeling energised, inspired and uplifted,” says Karin Hindsbo, the director of Tate Modern – and she’s certainly not alone. According to a recent study, looking at art can light up the pleasure centre in the brain and release dopamine, the feel-good chemical – which is why visiting a gallery can be a valuable act of self-care, especially in the cold, dark winter months.

East London-based art therapist Alex Monk says viewing art in-person in a gallery, rather than virtually, elevates the experience: “It might be the smell, or even seeing the shine of the paint. You might even be able to interact with the art on another level,” he says. “There is also a community aspect to walking around the gallery and looking at paintings or sculptures, which is very important.”

It helps that many galleries and museums are works of art in their own right; from the Tate Modern’s colossal Turbine Hall – a space so spectacular that it inspires its own creations, such as El Anatsui’s Behind the Red Moon, a monumental sculptural installation made of thousands of metal bottle tops and fragments, which is currently on show there – to the Grade II grandeur of Tate Britain, with its opulent circular balcony and domed atrium. These are public spaces with pizazz – a break from the everyday.

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From late-night exhibitions to morning yoga: seven reasons to head to a Tate gallery this winter
Mon, 29 Jan 2024 12:57:02 GMT

Whether it’s evening events you’re looking for, or child-friendly fun, there’s something for everyone at the Tate over the next few months

The winter months can feel a little dull, dark and heavy. The solution? Seek out joy in all its glorious forms. And one of them is, undoubtedly, the capital’s world-renowned galleries. Often magnificent buildings in their own rights, these free public spaces are a wonderful source of hope, healing and inspiration. Ready to soothe those seasonal blues? Here are seven reasons to visit Tate Modern and Tate Britain this winter.

1. Slow down and feel the feels
With so many incredible works on show it can be tempting to rush round a gallery, trying to take in as much as possible – but don’t. Curators and critics advocate the experience can be enhanced through “slow looking” (when you take your time to get to know a single piece of artwork in detail). Next time you’re drawn to a particular work, try sitting with it; close your eyes for two minutes, clear your mind, and then take in all of its details, rather than rushing on to the next. Not sure where to start? John Constable’s immersive Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow, housed in Tate Britain, is a brilliant candidate. Chances are a whole narrative will evolve in your head as your brain sheds its preconceived ideas, absorbing details you’d miss at a glance.

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Art gallery therapy: my failsafe cure for the winter blues
Mon, 29 Jan 2024 12:59:09 GMT

For art enthusiast Martha Alexander, galleries have a meditative purpose. Whether she visits them on her own or with company, these beautiful spaces are her happy place

I know it’s as dreary as winter drizzle to gripe about inclement weather and the unending darkness of UK winters, but it is also true that winter can do a number on our wellbeing – seasonal affective disorder affects some 2 million Britons, after all.

Luckily, I have a remedy, a prescription for the soul – visiting art galleries. It often costs nothing but time (see: the Tate galleries, whose main collections are completely free), and is available to everyone. Communing with art is a year-round life enhancer and an antidote to loneliness, sadness, frustration and stress, but, in my experience, the soothing properties of public art galleries are best experienced during winter. In these months, walking from the grey-sky gloom into a dazzlingly light and airy space full of treasures, colour and history is a salve for my spirit – an instant hit of hope, the happiest of distractions.

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How to Build a Universe review – sci-fi dance-theatre show aims high but lands low
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 20:00:08 GMT

The Place, London
Humans keep making the same mistakes as five survivors of an apocalyptic event try to build a new civilisation

How to Build a Universe is a high-concept show. Imagine you were one of the last few survivors on the planet after an apocalyptic event, and you wake up in a different dimension altogether, a tabula rasa ruled by a disembodied voice giving directions to build a new civilisation, hopefully better than the last. That’s the setup of this new dance-theatre show from choreographer Jamaal Burkmar.

Burkmar’s last show for his company Extended Play was the enjoyably feelgood Donuts, influenced by 90s and 00s sitcoms and the everyday life of three friends. By contrast, this one swerves into sci-fi territory. The narrator-god figure turns out to be the last exile from Earth, fumbling through trying to build a new utopia, but humans keep making the same mistakes. There’s a lot going on here: existential threats, grief, flawed humanity, history repeating itself, our insignificance in the grand scale of the universe. But it’s all happening in the voiceover (inspired by Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything) rather than in the choreography.

The five dancers are named but remain mostly anonymous, brightened up by their colourful boiler suits. The subjects of this experiment dance in organised sequences (my notes say “mechanical funk”) until they quietly rebel, then finally rid of the established systems can begin to think for themselves, to look at each other, to listen and respond to each other’s movements, to dance together. You can see the shift in the choreography and a message about community. New dancers of different ages join the group, all learning from one another. The movement style, hard to put in a box, has a casual, vernacular feel.

The energy escalates and then ebbs, but there’s no drama (that may be part of the point: no more drama!) The dance doesn’t rise to take the place of the missing creator’s voice, and the music by producer Jameszoo sometimes effectively underlines the mood, sometimes less so, especially the damp squib ending. There’s a really good big idea here and you have to love the ambition, but what could be an epic journey currently feels too small.

• At ACE Dance and Music, Birmingham, 22-23 March

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Dune: Part Two review – sci-fi sequel is immense, breathtaking wonder
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 08:00:07 GMT

Timothée Chalamet returns to the desert as Denis Villeneuve triumphs again in filming the unfilmable with a colour-saturated blockbuster contemplating zealotry and religious war

If there’s another blockbuster this year that matches the visual impact of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, I’ll eat my desert boots. The second Dune instalment is jaw-on-the-floor spectacular. It elegantly weaves together top-tier special effects and arresting cinematography; it layers muscle, sinew and savagery on to the bones of Part One. It’s an inhospitable, brutal kind of beauty that Villeneuve has created – there’s not enough lip balm in the universe to make a visit to the sandblasted wilderness planet of Arrakis look appealing. But this epic action picture, which follows the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) from a cheeky whippersnapper who’s a bit handy with a sword, to a feared warrior, to the prophesied leader of the Fremen tribe of Arrakis, is realised with a retina-searing intensity.

So how is it that Villeneuve has been able to succeed – and make no mistake, Dune: Part Two is an emphatic success – in adapting a book that was long considered to be unfilmable? The breadth and scope of Dune, Frank Herbert’s 1965 far-future saga of interstellar feudal conflict, proved a daunting prospect to previous prospective film-makers. The generous budget available to Villeneuve’s pictures certainly helps – the lack of funds was the factor that sank Alejandro Jodorowsky’s proposed 14-hour film adaptation of the book in the early 1970s. And studio support is another – while Warner Brothers hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory recently, as anyone who has been following the Coyote vs Acme debacle will know, it has at least given Villeneuve the space and freedom to achieve his creative vision (compare this with David Lynch’s less happy experience with his version of Dune, originally intended to run at three hours, then unceremoniously hacked down by nearly 40 minutes). But a crucial element in Villeneuve’s approach, a creative ethos that gels particularly effectively with the material, is his firm commitment to showing rather than telling.

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In brief: Happiness Falls; In Memoriam; All the Lonely People – reviews
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 16:00:03 GMT

Angie Kim lives up to her award-winning debut with her gripping second novel, Alice Winn stuns with a powerful first world war love story, and first-hand insights into loneliness

Happiness Falls
Angie Kim
Faber, £16.99, pp400

When 20-year-old Mia Parkson’s father goes missing, her family search for clues as to his disappearance. Where Mia is headstrong and forthright, her older brother, John, is more amenable, while her younger brother, Eugene – autistic and nonverbal – was with their father when he vanished. Multilayered and intricately structured, Kim’s second novel is a philosophical and compelling examination of neurodiversity, measures of happiness and the intricate tapestry of familial relationships.

To order Happiness Falls, In Memoriam or All the Lonely People go to Delivery charges may apply

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Jacob Collier: Djesse Vol 4 review – mind-melting final instalment of vast six-year project
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:03 GMT

The British musical prodigy pulls together disparate genres, guests and even his audiences on the last leg of this wild ride

Over the past six years, the 29-year-old musical prodigy Jacob Collier has embarked on a gargantuan task. In his Djesse project he has sought to encompass his musical makeup – from orchestral composition on Vol 1 to folk songwriting on Vol 2 and pop on Vol 3. Now completing the quartet, Vol 4 is a mind-melting amalgamation: 16 tracks featuring genres including folk balladry, glittering pop, doom metal, rap and samba, as well as the recorded voices of more than 100,000 audience members who have come to watch his world tours.

It’s an overwhelming prospect, with a huge list of collaborators and densely layered sounds primed to make even the most committed listeners panic. Yet, if you can endure the chaos, there is a radical, raucous joy to Collier’s boundless imagination. Opener 100,000 Voices veers from choral euphoria to the 1975-style indie pop, all anchored in Collier’s soaring voice, while Bridge Over Troubled Water, featuring Tori Kelly and John Legend, finds moving gospel harmony in the Simon and Garfunkel standard, and Box of Stars somehow blends thumping trap bass with electro-prog. A thesis would be required to do Djesse justice, but it is ultimately an invigorating and irrepressible record, unlike anything else you are likely to hear.

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Lisa Frankenstein review – lumbering teen zombie romcom by Diablo Cody
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:03 GMT

The screenwriter’s mashup of 80s teen horror tropes falls flat in Zelda Williams’s erratic feature debut

Cobbled together from the cleavered-off body parts of numerous 80s horror-lite teen comedies (I’m not sure I have ever seen a film that more desperately wants to be Heathers), this Athena-poster-hued, girl-meets-corpse romcom never fully reanimates. It’s a misfire from Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, who usually manages, at the very least, to inject a few solid jokes into her material.

Kathryn Newton stars as Lisa, an introvert even before her mother was murdered, her father remarried and she found herself with a new school and a judgmental, lemon-faced stepmother (Carla Gugino). Lisa finds it hard to socialise, so she spends her spare time in the local abandoned cemetery. But then a midnight wish backfires and a lumbering, malodorous corpse lurches into her life. On a poorly explained whim, Lisa hides him in her wardrobe; he becomes her confidant and her partner on a neighbourhood killing spree.

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Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh review – when a clinch is a crime
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 15:00:04 GMT

A gay Nigerian is persecuted by his father and the state in Ibeh’s stylish and moving debut novel

Born in 2000 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Chukwuebuka Ibeh is the product of a well-deserved American MFA studentship, the ultimate finishing school for new authors who want to attain – as Ibeh does with this first novel – a blend of the particular and the universal, glossing traditional storytelling with a literary finesse that adds style without scaring the horses.

Blessings is the poignant tale of a talented and sensitive Nigerian boy, Obiefuna, who is caught by his conservative father in a clinch with another young man. Obiefuna is sent to get straightened out in a strict Christian boarding school, where “he learned to stay out of the way of seniors: never look them in the eye, cross to the other path when they were sighted, never even smile”. First love, first enmity and first rivalry follow, along with the first steps towards a sense of identity.

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Supermarket Times review – surrealist adventure in a store of secrets
Sun, 03 Mar 2024 14:00:01 GMT

Rabbit Hole Games; PC, Mac
On this delightfully silly journey your challenge is to explore the supermarket aisles, meet the staff – and freezer goblin – and buy alcohol for teenage loiterers. Cheers!

If challenged to design a game set in a supermarket, you might settle on a shelf-stacking puzzle game in which you slot Tetris-shaped products into appropriately sized gaps. Or, perhaps, like the TV gameshow, a timed dash-and-grab along the aisles in which you must amass the highest value trolley. It’s unlikely, however, that you’d arrive at Supermarket Times, a surrealist point-and-click adventure with the hand-drawn aesthetic of a 10-year-old child’s felt-tip art project and a sense of humour lifted from The Young Ones (the supermarket’s toilet paper is branded Cloud Arse).

There are few comparison points to this, the second game from the art-school dropouts behind indie studio Rabbit Hole Games. You explore the various districts of the supermarket – the freezer aisle; the mobile phone area, complete with zitty, over-knowledgable sales assistant; the cigarette booth; the recycling area; the forsaken bathrooms – interacting with staff and customers. You’re free to fill your trolley with whatever takes your fancy, while listening to the observations of two omniscient commentators whose remarks include surprisingly informative descriptions of mushrooms, and ironic takes on expensive fruit juices.

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‘It’s greed, that’s what it’s about’: documenting the UK’s cost of living crisis – photo essay
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 07:00:49 GMT

Photographer Kirsty Mackay’s project The Magic Money Tree explores the impact of poverty in the Black Country, South Shields and Bristol

In 2023 I set out to document the UK’s cost of living crisis. I had a picture in my mind that what we were experiencing was the culmination of 13 years of Conservative governments. The work is titled The Magic Money Tree after Theresa May’s words on BBC Question Time: “There isn’t a magic money tree that suddenly delivers all the money everybody wants.”

I spent a month visiting the North Bristol food bank, talking to people, listening to their experiences and gathering stories. We decided not to photograph people using the food bank but to take their experiences and write them large across bus shelters and pavements on the high street.

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Una cerveza, por favor! The golden age of the British package holiday – in pictures
Thu, 29 Feb 2024 07:00:09 GMT

When British tourists ditched the UK seaside to travel overseas, Trevor Clark captured their glamorous new vacations – although he did bring his own palm tree

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Bodily invasions: images inspired by mysophobia – in pictures
Wed, 28 Feb 2024 07:00:29 GMT

Photographer Lean Lui’s boundary-pushing pictures examine her fear of contamination – be it around the body or in her romantic relationships

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Sand, sheep and survival: in the desert with the Bedouin people – in pictures
Tue, 27 Feb 2024 07:00:15 GMT

Petra Bašnáková’s images of goat herders, shepherds and small children capture a challenging way of life that is slowly disappearing

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Pro wrestling in a Liverpool micro-brewery – in pictures
Mon, 26 Feb 2024 07:20:18 GMT

Atomic Pro Wrestling stages fights in venue where viewers can enjoy craft beer and get close to the action

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Mind-bending photography: the Deutsche Börse prize – in pictures
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 07:00:46 GMT

This year’s shortlist for the prestigious award includes work from a radical feminist trailblazer and a series about people who have gone missing during global conflicts

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‘A visual testament to Palestinian society’: inside a powerful new photography book
Thu, 22 Feb 2024 10:04:49 GMT

Timely new book Against Erasure shows the ‘breadth and richness’ of Palestine before the Nakba in 1948 when 750,000 people were forced from their homes

Twenty members of the al-Farra family are gathered for the photo, but no one is smiling for the camera.

The scene is deceptively tranquil as they sit around a bare wooden table under the trees of the Stella Maris monastery on Mount Carmel, high above the port of Haifa. But it is April 1948, and below them the city is under siege and bombardment by the Haganah, the main Zionist paramilitary organisation that later became the core of the Israeli army.

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‘A picture of hell’: inside the UK’s nuclear reactors – in pictures
Wed, 21 Feb 2024 07:00:09 GMT

Armed with a Geiger counter, Michael Collins was given access to multiple power stations across the UK – he found them tranquil, beautiful and sinister

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Bob Marley by Dennis Morris – in pictures
Fri, 16 Feb 2024 11:22:59 GMT

Photographer Dennis Morris worked extensively with Bob Marley between 1973 and 1980, charting his rise from small crowds to global superstardom. After greeting the reggae star at a London club in May 1973, Morris was invited to join the tour – the start of a strong friendship and unrivalled photographic access. We hear from Morris about his memories of photographing Marley

  • An exhibition, Portraits of the King: Bob Marley by Dennis Morris,
    runs at 28 Old Burlington Street in London until 7 March
  • Morris’s book Portraits of the King is published by Tang Deng
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