Arts Notebook

I belong to a deeply unfashionable minority - we few, we allegedly traumatised few, who have actually seen the film Crash in Britain. Exactly 950 of us viewed it at the London Film Festival last year. That's several hundred fewer than those who have been fulminating against the film ever being shown. I failed to spot Virginia Bottomley, Yusuf Islam or the leaders of Hull or Chester councils at the screening, though they are all among those encouraging the banning and boycotting of the film. And what of the much-quoted critic who labelled the film "beyond depravity"? He wasn't there because he doesn't exist. No critic ever used this phrase. It appeared in a newspaper headline and the copywright belongs to the headline writer.

Crash is a minor movie but far from being titillating or socially subversive, its sex scenes are cold and sterile, played out to a bleak and unerotic background atmosphere. The characters searching for thrills are sad and unfulfilled. I watched the film alongside its director, David Cronenberg, who stresses that the car crashes were "a metaphor for the collision of present technology and the human psyche".

Mind you, Cronenberg told me afterwards that psychotherapists in his home country, Canada, have now informed him that every week they get clients who do indeed experience sexual arousal from car crashes. This was news to him and, I suspect, not terribly helpful to his metaphor argument.

One of the most welcome sights at the Evening Standard's ballet and classical music awards ceremony on Thursday was that of Viviana Durante on stage, even if just to present an award. The Royal Ballet's sensuous, ethereal and compelling principal artist has been notably absent from the company - on sabbatical for many months now. It turns out she is dividing her time between exercise classes to keep the balletic muscles in shape and voice classes for her new non-balletic enthusiasm - acting. "But dancers do act, thank you very much," balletomanes will be huffing. And quite rightly. But as Viviana tells me, too many stage and film directors fail to acknowledge this fact and the crossover from dancing to acting rarely occurs. In her last season, Durante demonstrated in both Anastasia and The Sleeping Beauty a dramatic prowess and sensibilities which had most critics reaching for superlatives. It would not surprise me at all if she turns out to be in the vanguard of cultural crossover.

Dame Muriel Spark said on receipt of the British Literature Prize on Wednesday that she would be using her pounds 30,000 award to buy "a lovely, new, suitable motorcar". But just what sort of vehicle does a novelist in her prime (she is 79) buy? The lovely, suitable motorcar that Dame Muriel wants turns out to be an Alfa Romeo. The creme de la creme, and exactly what Jean Brodie would have driven herself if she had had the chance.

If you blinked you will have missed it. But then perhaps you were intended to miss it. Labour's Jack Cunningham launched the party's strategy for cultural policy and the Arts last Tuesday. Barely a line appeared in a newspaper. There was no coverage on television. Tony Blair did not honour it with a single soundbite. The party released its Arts document on the first day of the campaign, when it was inevitably elbowed out by other concerns.

It all sounds as if Labour wants to keep its strategy for cultural policy deadly quiet. If so, it's a pity. The document is somewhat lacking in The Big Idea but it's not short on initiatives that might actually help both artists and attenders of arts events. It contains a commitment to an Arts Card for 16- to 19-year-olds guaranteeing concessionary admission prices; pay-what-you-can nights for all ages at theatres on Monday nights, and the much heralded Nesta, the national endowment whereby wealthy stars and inventors leave some of their copywrights and patents to fund future generations of young artists and scientists. So my first question to Mr Blair in the TV debate would be: "Why did you want to hush it all up?"

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower