Saturday 6 August 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Saturday. 6/8/2016

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Saturday

Image: Felipe Dana/PA Images

Going for gold

The first Olympic Games in South America were off to a good start yesterday with the Opening Ceremony masterminded by Brazil’s film director Fernando Meirelles, who came to fame with the film City of God. The stage was filled with Brazilian music legends and even top model Gisele Bündchen made an appearance to the sound of The Girl from Ipanema. Yet it was not an easy ride for Brazil. The Olympics have been overshadowed by political turmoil, an economic recession and the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, which will only be concluded at the end of the month and saw Michel Temer step in as the interim president. But cariocas are finally warming up for the event and tourists are glad to find that the doom and gloom throwing a dark cloud over the Olympics was perhaps a little overstated.

Image: Leo Aversa

Circle of life

Rings? Oh, you’ll have seen a few at last night’s Olympic opening ceremony. But can new life be breathed into the Games’ ancient iconography? Japanese artist Mariko Mori thinks so and has constructed a three-metre-wide translucent sculpture called “Ring: One With Nature” and placed it, picturesquely, at the top of National Geographic-worthy Véu de Noiva waterfall in the Brazilian rainforest. “I dreamed of this piece seven years ago,” said the artist recently in her lab-like London studio. “It’s taken all this time to recapture the dream.” Mori’s “Sun Pillar”, erected on the Okinawan island of Miyako in 2011, was the artist’s first foray into land art after a career making work that pricked the bubble of our obsession with modernity and technology. “The more time I spend with nature, the more my work learns from it,” says Mori, who eagle-eyed aficionados will also have seen bearing the flame during the Rio torch relay.

Image: Courtesy of Dog Eat Dog Films 2016

Less is Moore

In retrospect the past seven years have seemed quiet without a satirical whisper from the US’s favourite left-leaning dissenter Michael Moore. Fortunately the Oscar-winning film-maker’s latest work, Where to Invade Next (2015), is being released in Europe on DVD and Blu-ray next week. His travelogue drags viewers across two continents to touch on (or grossly expose) the shortcomings of the political and economic policies of his native US compared with elsewhere around the world. Moore is heartened by Iceland’s egalitarian take on women in politics. He’s hungry to learn more about France’s three-course school dinners – and shock a few Gallic tots with images of what their US counterparts have to swallow. He’s also bowled over by Italy’s fair-minded attitude to paid holidays. It’s a pacy, profound and thoughtful affair that poses timely questions about why the so-called American dream seems more alive outside the US than within.

Image: Queens Museum

Fair play

Once a main attraction of the 1964 to 1965 World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion currently sits off-limits to the public in Queens. The Philip Johnson-designed structure has been in disuse for decades but a recent design competition is reimagining its future. The winning ideas range from repurposing the Pavilion’s base as a “suspended natural environment” – housing plants native to New York and the northeastern US with walkways throughout – to making the structure a civic centre comprising an event space, playground and fitness centre. The competition was a collaboration between the National Trust and People for the Pavilion and coincides with this month’s Pavilion Futures exhibition at the Queens Museum.

The most fashionable movies ever

Former fashion editor for BlackBook magazine Bryan Levandowski discusses some of cinema’s most fashionable movies, including 1972’s Cabaret. We also trace the emergence of the T-shirt – with thanks to Marlon Brando – and discover why location scouts are keeping an eye on Serbia. Plus: author Hadley Freeman recalls 1982’s Tootsie.

Let the games begin

This year marks Serbia’s fourth appearance at the Summer Olympics as an independent nation. Serbia’s recovery from the disasters of nationalism has been slow but sporting success offers a new vision of what it means to be a Serb. Monocle Films travels to Belgrade to meet the stars of tennis and football.


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