CINEMA / It's just a bloody farce: Quentin Tarantino: genius, or gore bore?

QUENTIN TARANTINO is the cinema's foremost farceur. If you saw his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs, and don't remember any plus-fours or revolving bedroom doors, you're right. Tarantino is a world away from Feydeau or Travers. For nobs and their wives, read slobs and their knives. But True Romance suggests his true gift is for cruel, mechanical, uproarious humour - for farce. Just as you expect a Ray Cooney play to end in a frozen moment with everybody's trousers down, in a Tarantino film we know to look out for a freeze with everybody's gun up.

FILM / The grass is always greener: Sheila Johnston on racial stigma in Rising Sun, wild pranks in True Romance and safety in The Secret Garden

The thing about paranoia is, it's always sneakier than you imagine. Everyone has been talking about the racism of Rising Sun (18), and it was certainly the keynote mood of Michael Crichton's bestselling thriller. Its story, of two cops investigating the murder of a white woman in Los Angeles' oriental community, was driven by a fear of Japan's technological superiority, and of how the Yellow Peril was poised to buy up America.

Exotic, soft mixture adds a medieval touch to Martine Sitbon's Paris

MODELS displaying outfits by Martine Sitbon, the French designer, who showed one of her softest and strongest collections for seasons at the Ecole des Beaux Arts on Paris's Left Bank, writes Tamsin Blanchard.

CINEMA / Very cardiac, quite arresting

IN Tony Bill's Untamed Heart (15), Christian Slater plays a busser in a Minneapolis diner who claims to have a baboon's heart. His dicky ticker was operated on in his childhood and a nun in the orphanage where he was raised spun him a yarn about the Lord of the Apes visiting. Within minutes, a baboon-sized metaphor is on the loose, swinging from scene to scene, beating its breast. The dialogue has an uncommon cardiac awareness. People say things like: 'You've got too good a heart.' Or: 'I'm going to give you my heart.' Slater, whose character is a sort of noble savage, living in a book-lined shack, is wild yet vulnerable - yes, an untamed heart.

RIFFS / Kate Pierson of The B52s on Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall'

This would have to be the song that's most influenced me. Normally I'm interested in melody and harmony and yet this song is not strong on either. There's certainly no harmony in it, but it's based on a simple folk song melody, so it's the kind of song which makes you want to harmonise as you listen to it. I first heard 'A Hard Rain' when I was about 13, and a complete Bob Dylan fanatic. It was hard to get my friends to like it. I was in a folk protest group called The Sun Doughnuts - we were going to be the Sundowners but someone was already called that - and we wrote and covered protest songs, and this was one I wanted us to do. But the rest of the band said no. The lyric is full of symbolism and it captures the intensity of the times. It sounds like a stream of consciousness, as if it just poured out of him. And it's political without being didactic: it doesn't hit you over the head, but as you listen you get more and more stirred up, until, by the end, you're feeling, change the world. There's so much in this song about America that is still true. I went to the Democratic convention and heard Clinton's speech, and it was about America divided, segregated. Things haven't changed that much. But I like the line about hope: 'I'm a'goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin' . ' I love that it's a call to action by the end.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links