The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 28 July 2018

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Hills are alive

Residents of a mountain town in Italy are holding a festival in the hope that, for some younger people, the party never ends.

When music festivals suddenly pop up in meadows in the countryside they function a bit like towns. In fact, some of the most famous ones draw crowds as big as cities. This observation inspired a new festival up in the Apennine Mountains of southern Italy in the small town of Bisaccia (population 4,300). Franco Arminio, a resident poet, decided to launch Altura festival to remind people that small towns in outlying areas still have a lot to offer in the way of culture. With a focus on young emerging musicians, the intention is to encourage new generations not to abandon smaller towns. Central governments trying to find ways to combat rural depopulation should take note: don’t underestimate culture’s ability to bring people together – and convince them to stay a little longer.

Literature

Image: Walter Craveiro

Booked up

There may be a recession in Brazil but sales figures show that readers are still willing to splash the cash.

The organisers of literary festivals seem adept at choosing picturesque locations in which book-lovers can gather. The UK has Hay-on-Wye (bucolic Welsh countryside), India has Hawa Mahal (historical temple site), and Brazil has its Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty, which takes place in a secluded seaside town west of Rio de Janeiro. Now in its penultimate day, Flip, as it’s known, was co-founded by renowned British publisher and editor Liz Calder. “It sounded to me that it was a place asking for a literary festival,” she told Monocle 24. It’s a truly global affair where authors from the world over come to take part. This year for example, Pulitzer prize-winner Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, was in attendance. In fact, there is such a burgeoning market in Brazil that, despite being in the middle of a recession, sales rose by 4.6 per cent last year.

Business

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Junk mail

Trump has pledged to boost US manufacturing but where’s he getting his campaign tat made? China, of course.

A revival of US manufacturing was one of Donald Trump’s campaign pledges back in 2016. It was an idea that flowed directly into his reductive mantra to “Make America Great Again”. Now, with a re-election fight scheduled for 2020, it’s time for a new motto. Fortunately the administration has an equally imaginative iteration of the original in “Keep America Great”. Now faced with the manufacturing of thousands of items of cheap campaign tat – banners, hats and flags – for Trump zealots to wear, it was obvious where and when they should be manufactured: China, and just before the president’s trade tariffs come into full effect. The Jiahao Flag company reports that there was a mass order for flags emblazoned with the motto that were due to be paid for and shipped before Trump’s tariffs set in.

Film

Image: Getty Images

Second take

They may have been banned at Cannes but the inclusion of Netflix movies at Venice Film Festival is already making waves.

The 75th Venice Film Festival kicks off in just over a month and the line-up, which was announced yesterday, is being feted as the best yet. But beyond its show-stopping schedule – including Peterloo (a UK film about the infamous massacre in the UK’s Manchester in 1819), Ballad of Buster Scruggs (the new Coen brothers’ title) and Roma (a forthcoming Mexican family drama) – the festival is being remarked upon for other reasons. While Cannes banned a string of Netflix films because they were not, strictly speaking, “cinema”, Venice has taken a more open approach. “Venice is embracing films that Cannes was conditional about, including film-makers as diverse as Orson Welles, Alfonso Cuarón and the Coens,” says film critic Karen Krizanovich. However, in one respect Venice is less progressive than its French contemporary: it’s hosting fewer films directed by women.

From Monocle 24

Image: Getty Images

The chefs of Tour de France

The Menu

We meet the chefs whose job it is to guarantee racers get the 10,000 calories they need each day to compete.

From Monocle Films

Sound of Prague

The Czech National Symphony Orchestra has struck an international chord, with its redoubtable musicianship attracting big-name pop and music-score clients from Ennio Morricone to Sting.

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