Arts: The Week in Review
Saturday 06 February 1999
THE FILM HIDEOUS KINKY
Kate Winslet embarks on a voyage of self-discovery as she takes her two small daughters to Morocco in Gillies Mackinnon's adaptation of Esther Freud's novel.
"About as substantial as a joss stick," quipped Anthony Quinn, adding, "the film keeps setting up potential narrative lines and abandons them just as they threaten to become interesting." "Hippy nostalgia, stronger on scenery than story," decided the Daily Mail, while The Guardian found it "likeable but lightweight". "While the episodic incidents show zest, they rarely fuse into something more substantial," observed Uncut. "A movie of considerable subtlety and intelligence," gushed Time Out, continuing, "it's a perceptive look at love, responsibility and conflicting needs. Spot on." "A small marvel," cried The Times. "Charming," revealed Elle.
More a series of snapshots than serious drama, Gillies Mackinnon's picture proves insubstantial. But there are fine performances from the two children and some dazzling Moroccan scenery.
Hideous Kinky is on general release,
THE DANCE EDWARD II
David Bintley choreographs the Birmingham Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells in a performance based on Christopher Marlowe's dark tale of homosexuality and the struggle for power.
"It has been a long time coming to London, but it was worth the wait," revealed Nadine Meisner. "The action sweeps you up in its headlong rush like a tautly plotted thriller, even if it is at the expense of choreographical subtlety." "Fine, imaginative costumes from Jasper Conran complement Peter J Davison's sleek, yet monolithic settings," declared Time Out. "Brinkley has made a tremendous work... powerful, mature, choreographically well-wrought," exclaimed the Daily Telegraph. "Bintley at his most expressive," reported the Financial Times. "There is much posturing in the choreography [and] some of the bluntness of the writing borders on the kitsch," demurred The Times.
Sensational set-pieces by Bintley are given tremendous support by his company. Conran's costumes provide an authentic air of sado-masochism while McCabe's score reinforces the drama's every twist.
Tonight's is the last performance of Edward II. For bookings, call 0171-863 8000
THE EXHIBITION ANDREAS GURSKY
Digitally-manipulated cityscapes, airports and alpine valleys are among the images on show in an exhibition by the German photographer, Andreas Gursky.
"Gursky's pictures aren't trying to pass themselves off as normal photos. They're trying to be super-photos, pictures that, through artifice, are excessively good at being the things a normal photo might wish to be," noted Tom Lubbock. "The beauty of these images is tempered by a pervading bleakness," decided Time Out. "Gursky shows how the camera's ever-expanding resources can convey a vision as unsettling and eloquent as any to be found in the art of our time," trilled The Times, while the Evening Standard found: "in spite of being so thoroughly staged and processed, Gursky's images look unquestionably real." "More like abstract paintings," muttered the Sunday Times.
While the abstraction of Gursky's images border on the painterly, the discernible artifice of his digital manipulations are at once unnerving and compelling, bleak and beautiful.
Andreas Gursky is at the Serpentine Gallery until 7 March. For bookings and enquiries, call 0171-402 6075
THE TV PROGRAMME SEX AND THE CITY
Sarah Jessica Parker stars in C4's latest import, Sex and the City, a new series that follows the fortunes of a group of New York professionals in their quest for a satisfactory sex life.
"Underneath the modern exterior, its view of sexual relationships seems dreadfully old-fashioned. Boiled down: it's a sex war, with women looking for Mr Right and men for anything they can get away with," observed Robert Hanks. "Wretchedly thin water... Unreflective reportage that teaches us nothing," reported the Evening Standard. "There can never have been a more cynical TV show," bleated the Daily Mail, though The Times disagreed, noting "a sheen of intelligent sophistication that so many British comedies lack". "Busy and entertaining as a weekend in Manhattan," remarked The Guardian. "One-dimensional characterisation," snarled Time Out.
The series is only interested in the sexual mores of the rich, glamorous and thin, offering banal insight into the human condition. As conservative as a night in with Terry and June.
The next episode of Sex and the City can be seen on Wednesday 10 February at 10.30pm, on Channel 4
THE BOOK ALL IN THE MIND: A FAREWELL TO GOD
Ludovic Kennedy examines the history of faith and argues that God is a fictional character in his latest book All in the Mind: A Farewell to God.
"Kennedy's book is not an open-minded exploration of the role of 2,000 years of European faith; rather it is a vituperative polemic against the very business of belief," wrote Paul Vallely. "It is not a work of philosophy, but the product of great experience and reflection," opined The Sunday Telegraph. "Perhaps some wavering theists will find Kennedy's voice of urbane fatuity just the call they were waiting for to join the A-team," remarked the Evening Standard. "Blessings on his atheist soul, Ludo points out that being a non-believer does not make you a bad person," said the Daily Record, while The Daily Telegraph uncovered "a pervasive sprinkling of errors".
Kennedy gathers a catalogue of Christianity's inconsistencies and conveys his (dis)belief like a true preacher, but his proselytising tone makes it hard to take the book seriously.
All in the Mind: A Farewell to God by Ludovic Kennedy (Hodder & Stoughton) is now available in bookshops
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