Culture - Issue 102 - Magazine | Monocle

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Japan — Art

When Sophie Ebrard isn’t shooting beautiful and strange stories for monocle (she shot our Schlagerbooom Expo in issue 99, for instance) she’s out exploring beauty and its fringes. For It’s Just Love, showing at the KG+ Kyotographie festival in Kyoto from 14 April to 14 May, the French photographer trained her lens on the porn scene to catch life, love and tenderness in a profession infamous for the opposite. “These people love sex and sometimes love each other,” says Ebrard, “I hope people see that.” The show debuted in Amsterdam where, let’s just say, manners differ from Japan’s picturesque home of temples and gardens.


Gerry McGhee

Founder and VP, Precision Pressing


Last year saw high vinyl sales in Canada. But as demand has soared, North America’s printing presses have struggled to keep up. Gerry McGhee, a former glam-metal frontman and president of Canada’s largest music-distribution company, hopes to solve the problem with Precision Pressing, a new vinyl-pressing plant in Burlington, Ontario.

Why did you create Precision Pressing?
My company, Isotope Music, is the largest supplier of CDs, vinyl and music dvds in Canada. About seven years ago we noticed that the big labels were struggling to meet the demand for vinyl in Canada. The big labels said that if I could put a plant together they would support it.

What will Precision’s capacity be?
We’ve got 10 presses, which means we’ll be able to print four million records a year. We’ll be the only plant in the world operating solely with new equipment.

What will your impact on the market be?
We will benefit Canadian artists who don’t print 1,000 records but instead do about 100 and sell them from the stage. A lot of independent labels in Canada were waiting up to 12 months for vinyl because the North American presses were at full capacity. We’ll be aiming for a turnaround of six to eight weeks.

Booting up

Italy — Tv

As its outlook becomes increasingly global, Italian television – once dominated by priests and policemen – is prioritising smarter stories and braver targets, including the mafia. The country’s booming small-screen sector is looking to build on recent high-end series, including Roberto Saviano’s Naples-set mob drama Gomorrah and political drama 1992, with a fresh wave of originations, many produced in English.

The trend was kicked off by The Young Pope, the Paolo Sorrentino-created series that aired on Sky Italia, hbo in the US and Canal+ in France. The show was made by Italian production company Wildside, a Rome-based firm led by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani.

The company is now developing a series based on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet of novels as well as an adaptation of Niccolò Ammaniti’s Anna, the story of a virus that only kills adults.

These projects are set to be joined by international productions backed by Sky and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset. The former is developing dramas based on the country’s football-corruption scandal, the impact of the Arab Spring and Europe’s financial crisis as part of a drive to launch up to six big-budget series every year. The latter is working on a show based on infamous Italian-American gangster Lucky Luciano, which is being produced in association with French film and TV studio Federation Entertainment. Italian television, albeit with a transatlantic twist, is not going out of style any time soon.

Ones to watch:

Cattleya, the production company behind the Gomorrah TV series and Romanzo Criminale, is making mob drama Suburra, the first original Italian series for Netflix. The 10-part drama is based on the mafia stranglehold of Ostia, a small seaside town outside Rome that became a haven for gambling.

The Bastards of Pizzofalcone
This Naples-based crime drama, which recently aired on public broadcaster Rai, follows a group of cops new to the Pizzofalcone precinct after a corruption investigation. The six episodes, each 100 minutes, tell a story based on a series of novels by Maurizio De Giovanni. 

Sky Italia is developing a TV series based on the 1960s Italian comicbooks. The show follows characters created by Angela and Luciana Giussani, including a Robin Hood-style thief who steals from criminals. 

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