THE FILM The Portrait of a Lady

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The Independent Culture
overview Jane The Piano Campion directs Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Martin Donovan in a

big-budget, glossy adaptation of Henry James's 1881 novel of Americans abroad in which the innocent Isabel Archer rejects suitors only to marry a fortune-hunter.

Cert 12, 144 mins, at the Lumiere, London WC2 and across the country. critical view Adam Mars-Jones declared it not "the shining success that might have been hoped for ... a gifted director has lost her grip on a mightily elusive novel." "Frustrating. Punctuated with greatness ... it meanders through its narrative corridor like a blind man - oblivious to the human dramas going on around it," ummed the Standard. "She takes a poor departed author and tries to shake his work into a polemical life it never had and a psychological hind-sightedness it would never have sought," admonished the FT. "As cinematically intelligent as it is faithful to the original ... immensely assured," yelped Time Out. our view Very beautiful but the poster looks like Kidman has a headache, which says a lot. THE PLAY King Lear overview Ex-Theatre Clwyd director Helena Kaut-Howson goes to Leicester (where Lear is buried) for Shakespeare's cross between a state-of-the-nation play and a domestic tragedy with Theatre de Complicite's Marcello Magni and Kathryn Hunter as the king.

At the Leicester Haymarket, (0116-253 9797) to 15 March. critical view Paul Taylor, a Kathryn Hunter fan, was grievously disappointed by the production, set in a bleak, modern nursing home with Hunter offering, "as mannered and distancing an impersonation of male old age as Clive Dunn's used to be in Dad's Army". "Though Lear is a big enough play to withstand Kaut-Howson's inane attentions, it's often a close-run thing," seethed The Telegraph. "Hunter's performance is strong enough not to demand any framing apologia ... but she is imprisoned by the concept," chastised The Guardian. "Play and production fail to gel ... the play needs depth, not show," snorted The Times. our view Hunter succeeds towards the end of the play but the production never takes wing. THE EXHIBITION Lovis Corinth overview Canvases, etchings and drawings in a long overdue retrospective of Lovis Corinth (1858-1925), who fell in and out of favour with the German authorities, was a pioneer of German Impressionism and whose work also straddles Symbolism, Realism and Expressionism.

At the Tate Gallery, London SW1 (0171-887 8008) until 5 May. critical view Tom Lubbock was enraptured by the late works. "When you come to these, you see the point of Corinth. The preceding work becomes interesting mainly because it's by the man who did these." "If not a great master in absolute terms, certainly a ... maverick whom even the British should admire," opined the Standard. "Will ensure that his stubbornly individual achievement is honoured in Britain at last," admired The Times. "Irritating waywardness ... some flashes of real painterly invention, and an awful lot of unconvincing painterly bluster," complained The Sunday Times. "So many thumping grandiosities," spluttered The Observer. our view It's worth going round backwards to recognise the strength of the later, greater works.