Culture: Critics’ picks / Global
What’s on the cultural agenda for the months ahead? Ten in-the-know critics reveal the films, television shows, music, exhibitions, dance events and theatre offerings that should be on your radar.
critic: Tony Goes, Brazil
São Paulo-based journalist Tony Goes writes about TV for Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo. He’s also a former writer for comedy series and variety shows, and publishes his thoughts on pop culture every day on his blog. He picks the most exciting titles from his home country – where audiovisual production is in full steam – and beyond.
DNA do Crime
Renowned Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia helms this series about a group of federal agents who investigate a crime with huge implications.
Candelária Massacre Project
Currently in production, this as-yet-untitled Brazilian miniseries will re-enact the killing of eight homeless youngsters by police in downtown Rio de Janeiro in 1993.
A gang of bank robbers terrorises the northeastern states of Brazil.
Postponed several times, HBO’s first original telenovela gets a new title and a release date. Gorgeous Camila Pitanga stars.
Brazilian and international stars convene in this series set in 1970s Rio de Janeiro, when the city became a drug-trafficking hub.
critic: Thorsten Keller, Germany
A freelance media designer with a passion for coffee, photography and magazines, Hamburg-based Keller is a print expert and founder of online magazine shop Coffee Table Mags, an excellent retailer with an international mix of magazines ranging from travel titles to Japanese fashion periodicals. Here’s his pick of what’s hitting the newsstand this season.
One of my all-time favourites from Germany, this travel magazine is anchored by personal stories of people doing extraordinary things around the world.
The perfect travel magazine when you are into coffee; every issue is based on one city and its caffeine culture.
A gorgeous magazine exploring a particular city’s food scene. Like a gastronomy-themed travel guide.
A fantastic source of recipes, activities and important topics to mull over when raising children.
A beautiful magazine for bike enthusiasts, highlighting untold stories of the cycling community and travelling the world by bike.
critic: Loredana Lipperini, Italy
Lipperini is a writer, critic and radio presenter. Based in Rome, she has contributed to outlets including newspapers La Repubblica and La Stampa, as well as public broadcaster Rai. Here, she outlines the best Italian fiction and non-fiction to look out for.
Mi limitavo ad amare te
Only a writer like Postorino could tackle a subject as difficult as the war in the Balkans – and do it through writing about childhood ties and memory.
Rubare la notte
Petri’s fictional biographies are better than conventional fiction. After a book on Jack London, she now turns her attention to French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Un altro mondo è impossibile
Pecoraro navigates the point in time in which we find ourselves, both historically and existentially. The novel looks at the repercussions of the G8 summit in Genoa.
Buchi bianchi: Dentro l’orizzonte
This isn’t a novel but Rovelli, a physicist, has always turned science into a form of philosophical narration. Here, he tackles a fascinating subject in science: white holes.
I ragazzi sognano in technicolor
Erika Anna Savio
A debut novel that takes place in Turin during the 1980s. A young voice and perhaps just the sort of different storytelling approach that we need.
critic: Kalle Kinnunen, Finland
Kinnunen’s long career as a film critic has seen him publish reviews in some of Finland’s leading magazines, such as Suomen Kuvalehti and Image, as well as writing nine books on films and popular culture.
This directorial debut by Sweden-based Finnish director Kouvo was featured in the Berlinale’s Encounters series and deals with family affairs in a personal way.
Helander has a unique style that I would characterise as “Hollywood-inspired, comic-book-like exaggerated action”. Sisu has been selected for one of the widest distributions ever in the US market for a Nordic film.
Four Little Adults
Vilhunen is one of the most intriguing directors in Finland today. She has a distinctive voice in describing human relationships and the world in flux.
Boy from Heaven
Saleh, whose father is from Egypt, has directed a John Le Carré-style political thriller that takes place in Egypt and examines today’s burning issues.
Beau Is Afraid
This film has surrealist undertones much like David Lynch yet it’s more comedic. Aster was given freedom to direct something that does not fall within established genres.
critic: Anna Hugo, Austria
Hugo studied fine art and critical theory in Vienna, Edinburgh and New York before working for galleries and art fairs. Today she edits PW-Magazine, a publication devoted to young creatives in contemporary art, performance and music across the German-speaking world. Here are her picks from the visual world in Austria.
Marija Olsauskaite Grazer Kunstverein, Graz
A solo show by Marija Olsauskaite, a Vilnius-based artist who explores themes of vulnerability, intimacy and belonging.
My Edges Are Sharpening, Gianni Manhattan, Vienna
The Viennese gallery is opening after a refurbishment with a group exhibition featuring Jennie Marsh, Aurelien Potier and Iris Touliatou. Based on Han Kang’s short novel The Vegetarian, it follows the gallery’s tradition of putting on exhibitions inspired by works of fiction.
Tanzquartier is hosting a series of performances, art, music and installations including 33 by Billy Bultheel, Alexander Iezzi, Paul Ebhart and Rosa Rendl.
Elisabeth Wild and Vivian Suter Mumok and Secession, Vienna
This spring, Vienna’s Mumok (museum of modern art) and the storied Secession will feature concurrent exhibitions by mother-and-daughter artists Elisabeth Wild and Vivian Suter. For both, it will be their inaugural showing in Vienna.
Arcus: Shadow of a Rainbow Karlsplatz, Vienna
Sarah Ortmeyer and Karl Kolbitz are planning a permanent memorial in the shape of a grey rainbow. It will stand in memory of gay people who were discriminated against and persecuted during the Second World War.
critic: Carole Boinet, France
Boinet is editor in chief of French cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles, having joined the title as a intern in 2012. A frequent guest on national French radio France Inter, she has contributed to several documentaries and is currently writing her first novel.
Paris-based Le Diouck is an unusual artist. He sings in Wolof, English and French, with a cavernous voice, almost extraterrestrial.
Dans cent ans
In 100 years, people will remember Flavien Berger as a young genius who created poetic electronic music; it’s almost a modern and spiritual trance. His third album tells romantic stories with a naive and melancholic detachment.
Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Yves Tumor is one of my favourite artists. His new album is so good; it has the US musician’s magic, dark rock’n’roll touch.
Tirer la Nuit sur les Étoiles
Etienne Daho has been the king of pop in France for decades. His new album can be summarised by its title; it’s about living at night, being a night owl and loving intensely.
You Look Nice Today
This Belgian artist writes moody songs about her drunk nights, her broken heart and her hangovers. It’s very dark and sensitive.
critic: Gina Jaramillo, Mexico
Jaramillo is a Mexico City-based art historian and radio presenter, as well as the director of online magazine Chilango. With input from photographer Pablo López, she picks some of the best photo exhibitions coming up this year.
Bob Schalkwijk: DF-60s Almanaque, Mexico City
Rotterdam-born Schalkwijk moved to Mexico City in 1959. He has carefully documented the Mexican capital, recording its transformation into a modern metropolis.
Bernd and Hilla Becher SFMoma, San Francisco
A couple who changed the face of photography in the 20th century, turning industrial architectural structures into sculptural pieces and closing the gap between documentary and art photography.
Facundo de Zuviría, KBr Fundación MAPFRE, Barcelona
The Argentinean photographer documents the citizens of Buenos Aires, capturing the city’s dreamlike and nostalgic character.
A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography Tate Modern, London
Here we see the role of photography within social transformation. A multi-generational show capturing different cultures and narratives; unmissable.
Ana Hop: Staying Sober
Laguna México, Mexico City
Hop, who also shoots for Monocle, presents an intimate body of work capturing sensations of sobriety, calmness and even boredom in the middle of chaos. A provoking exhibition in which we see the world through her eyes.
critic: Natasha Rogai, Hong Kong
Rogai was born in London and has lived in Hong Kong since 1997. She has been writing about dance, opera and theatre for the city’s leading English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, since 2005 and is a recipient of the Hong Kong Dance Award for services to dance.
Yat-sen the Musical, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
A new musical from a top-notch local creative team explores the turbulent early life of Sun Yat-sen as a student in Hong Kong and how his experiences helped him become China’s first great populist leader.
Dance-Opera: Love Streams, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
This ambitious new production interweaves two short operas, Heart of Coral and Women Like Us, inspired by the lives of two great Chinese female writers, Xiao Hong, a tragic figure of the 1930s and Hong Kong’s Xi Xi.
Coco Chanel: The Life of a Fashion Icon
Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
A world premiere of a full-length ballet about the life of Coco Chanel by an internationally renowned team including Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, UK composer Peter Salem and French set and costume designer Jerome Kaplan.
Y Theatre, Hong Kong
Contemporary dance troupe Beyond Dance Theater consistently produces thought-provoking work. This piece is inspired by the tale of Princess Cassandra, daughter of the King of Troy, whose fate was to prophesy the truth but never be believed.
Freespace and Art Park, Hong Kong
This month-long contemporary dance festival focuses on female artists from around the world and offers a range of live performances, film and digital installations.
critic: Amitha Amranand, Thailand
Amranand is an independent writer and critic whose theatre reviews have appeared in the Bangkok Post and ArtsEquator. She’s the co-founder and co-host of Bangkok Offstage, the first bilingual podcast on the performing arts scenes in Thailand and Asia.
A Notional History, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Malaysia
This performance sets out to excavate what has been buried by Malaysia’s official history textbooks.
When Cloud Catches Colours, Drama Centre, Singapore
This piece pays attention to the overlooked: ageing queer Singaporeans.
White Gold, Phare Circus, Siem Reap, Cambodia
This high-wire act involving rice looks moving and is visually stunning.
Hotel, Wild Rice, Singapore
A multi-generational epic performed across nine languages.
I Say Mingalaba, You Say Goodbye, BIPAM, Thailand
Humour helps when exploring the complicated relationship between Myanmar and Thailand.
critic: Hansol Ji, South Korea
Hansol Ji, who also goes by the pen name Gomsolvie, is a film and TV critic based in Seoul. She has contributed to major outlets such as ign Korea and is an editor at CinePlay, one of Korea’s most famous sources for cinema reviews. She also works with multiple streaming platforms and film production houses.
The Heavenly Idol
TVING and TVN
A fantasy drama about a priest who finds himself in the body of a K-pop idol. This drama will be attractive for those interested in the tribulations of musicians who struggle to make find success.
Love to Hate You
This Netflix original is about a forcibly arranged relationship between a lawyer and an actor. The “arranged relationships” genre is already familiar to many Korean viewers.
Park Ha Kyung’s Journey
For those tired of sensational content on TV, this will be a comforting reprieve: the series portrays a high-school teacher travelling around Korea every Saturday.
A suspense thriller about a woman, suffocated by the constraints of reality, who becomes a bank employee and embezzles vip money. Originally based on a Japanese novel about the bubble economy of the 1990s.
Run Into You
A beautiful and peculiar story about two characters from the present, accidentally trapped in the year 1987. A fascinating way to encounter the Korea of the 1980s, when society was transitioning from military dictatorship to democracy.