“It was all very well having principles, but you cannot live on principles...”
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Thursday 13 May 2010
It's a good idea, from time to time, to forget what art is. We vaguely know what it's meant to be. But imagine you didn't know, and then you came across it, and tried to work out from scratch what role it might have in our lives. There's something that lies on the floor by the entrance. It's a small object. It has the form of a plastic inflatable, with ridged seams, roughly the shape of a biscuit tin, or a small cushion, but not firmly inflated, so that its form is rather squashy. But clearly it isn't literally squashy. It is black, and polished, and solid. It must have been cast in some hard medium – hard rubber, in fact. Doorstopper is its name. Nairy Baghramian made it.
Sunday 14 March 2010
Friday 18 December 2009
Maverick director Terry Gilliam's ongoing battle to get his big screen version of Don Quixote off the ground has proved one of the movie industry's more fraught sagas in recent years.
Friday 07 August 2009
For me, reading Pedro Páramo is like opening a small mosaïque box, only to discover that it is empty, save for the whispers of those who had opened the box in the past. The novel is set in the post-revolutionary dustbowls of early 20th-century Mexico, when rapid industrialisation left hundreds of ghost villages scattered across the rural south. Urged by his dying mother to reclaim his patrimony, Juan Preciado arrives at Comala, and finds that things are not as they seem.
Thursday 06 August 2009
He may boast one of the most prolific big-screen careers in recent history, but it seems that Johnny Depp has been forced to abandon his long-planned project with the former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam.
Sunday 02 August 2009
Wednesday 03 June 2009
Esther Rantzen may have the unyielding support of the 24-hour news brigade, but not everyone has been quite so easy to win over in her bid to stand as an independent MP.
Friday 22 May 2009
One project certainly getting everyone geed up is the prospect of Terry Gilliam resurrecting his ambitions to make a movie based on Cervantes's "Don Quixote". Gilliam has hooked up with Oscar-winning British producer Jeremy Thomas. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni's script revolves around a film-maker who is charmed into Quixote's eternal quest for his lady-love, becoming an unwitting Sancho Panza. The move is the latest twist in a movie-making saga almost as epic as Cervantes' 17th-Century classic. Nine years ago, the original shoot suffered a series of setbacks captured in the documentary "Lost In La Mancha", which went on to became a cult hit in its own right.
Saturday 28 March 2009
Saturday 24 January 2009
Wednesday 19 November 2008
You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if a conductor has what it takes to take us to that other place where senses are heightened. It was the performance of Ravel's La Valse at the start of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's first concert as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic that will have convinced a lot of people of great things to come.
Thursday 23 October 2008
Conducting is a mystical business. You generally know within seconds of the start of a performance if he or she has what it takes to take an orchestra and an audience to that other place where senses are heightened and the air seems to move a little differently.
Saturday 19 July 2008
With a background in designing costumes and marionettes for ballet productions, Kermit Love created for television a towering, iconic character that would achieve worldwide fame in a programme acclaimed for its educational qualities. The 8ft 2in Big Bird, with bright-yellow feathers, orange legs and big feet, is one of the mainstays of the American series Sesame Street, aimed at pre-school children and set to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.
Wednesday 18 June 2008
In a wonderful short story, first published in 1939, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges introduced the work of a minor French writer called Pierre Menard. In an extended passage of literary criticism, he contrasts the contemporary prose of Menard with that of Cervantes. While Cervantes, he says, indulges in "mere rhetorical praise of history," Menard's work, much "richer in illusion", explores ideas, about history and truth, which are "staggering". The texts he is comparing are, by the way, identical. The (fictional) Pierre Menard has sat down with Don Quixote and copied every word.
Friday 21 March 2008
Shy young man brings home his ideal woman – and she's an anatomically correct plastic doll! The premise shrieks indie quirkiness, and the opportunities for smutty humour abound; but as it turns out, Lars and the Real Girl is a humane, and often sweet, study of the strain of growing up and having adult relationships. Why, at times it's almost plausible.
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