From its delirious opening montage of disco divas, ageing socialites and strippers at play – one imagines Berlusconi's bunga bunga in a nutshell – Paolo Sorrentino's Roman satire has its sights fixed on epic greatness. There's a touch of La Dolce Vita in its fluid portrait of the city as carnival, with its parade of nuns, tourists, freaks, hangers-on, performance artists and other jokers. It is overseen by the dapper, disenchanted Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a journalist who once wrote a great novel but is now more famous for his roof-terrace parties and languid cynicism. The haute bourgeoisie circles Jep moves in turn a blind eye and a Botoxed pout to the depressed, debased society around them, preferring to dance themselves dizzy and drink themselves silly. (Sample dialogue: "What job do you do?" "Me? I'm rich". "Great job"). Nor is there any recourse to religion when Vatican prelates offer not spiritual succour but top cooking tips.
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Sunday 06 April 2008
Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar as the chariot-racing Ben Hur and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid and other figures in Hollywood epics of the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 84, his family said today.
Thursday 20 March 2008
Wednesday 12 March 2008
Saturday 16 February 2008
The house/flat I grew up in ... was all over the world. Between the ages of 8 and 13, my mum and I travelled so we had no fixed abode and I was out of school for ages. It set me up well for the life I lead now, one based in rootlessness.
Friday 15 February 2008
I am studying my contractual rights as an opera singer, so I am reading a lot of legal books, covering all of Europe. I read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I've always been interested in philosophical and religious themes in books, and I studied these subjects at university. I enjoyed the way the author put Mary Magdalene back in the spotlight because the importance of the role of women in the Church is often ignored.
Thursday 14 February 2008
Saturday 19 January 2008
Cultural censorship is like a disease. It moves among us unseen. Let me show you how it works. Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth gave Cate Blanchett a unique moment to recreate the Virgin Queen in his 1998 film. But the sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, is a clunker because – in the one vital scene where Elizabeth demonstrates to her soldiers that she is among them as their fighting sovereign – when she addresses her troops at Tilbury before the expected arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588, her most famous statement, learned by every schoolboy in Britain, has been ruthlessly expunged.
Thursday 17 January 2008
Friday 12 October 2007
Friday 19 January 2007
Friday 05 January 2007
Friday 06 October 2006
We know you saw something, says the scientific investigator to the haunted heroine in the classic scary film. We know you had some kind of experience. We don't think you're making it up. But as to whether what you saw was a genuine visitation, or all in the mind, or a trick of the light, we're not going to jump to conclusions. After all, we are living in the 20th century.
Thursday 08 June 2006
The French Open is usually the most unpredictable of the four Grand Slam events. Gaston Gaudio, the winner here two years ago, was unseeded, as were Martin Verkerk and Mariano Puerta, beaten finalists in 2003 and 2005. Semi-finalists in the last 10 years include never-to-be-remembered names like Filip Dewulf, Fernando Meligeni and Franco Squillari.
Thursday 25 May 2006
Climate change poses an immediate challenge to the European Union target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, according to a report from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Friday 03 March 2006
Caravaggio dismissed the work of a rival painter with the remark that his "canvases were playing cards". It's an occupational hazard for anyone painting images on a flat surface. However much the artist pursues a sense of deep space and rounded volume, there is the risk that the solid bodies he depicts will go as flat as those figures of kings and queens and knaves that appear on cards.
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