Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

17 July 2015

FILM: The Wonders

“It’s social realism meets magical realism – a sweet little film”

David Jenkins, editor of ‘Little White Lies’

Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher both wrote and directed this coming-of-age drama and ode to a disappearing rural lifestyle in the Italian countryside. Maria Alexandra Lungu gives a calmly authoritative performance as Gelsomina, a young girl wanting a little more out of life than her beekeeping family can offer. The film may have won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival but it delivers its message in a gentle narrative that is far more persuasive than it is impressive.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tomoko Yoneda, Beyond Memory, London

“It’s confusing for the viewer, walking into a gallery with visually pleasing, quite calming images – and then to be assaulted with either the memory or the history of what actually happened there”

Kathlene Fox-Davies, art consultant and dealer

London’s Grimaldi Gavin gallery is currently showing the work of London-based Japanese photographer Tomoko Yoneda. She initially wanted to be a journalist before switching to photography and there is a documentary-like clarity to her images. But the pictures on show at Grimaldi Gavin are slightly deceptive; although they show often enticing landscapes and peaceful scenes, each one has been a location where unrest and dramatic events have taken place in the past, ranging from the battlefields of the First World War to disputed national borders.

MUSIC: Ezra Furman, Perpetual Motion People

“He’s just suddenly got everything together – and it’s a really good album – the songs are really tight and you feel he’s trying to say something in every one”

Will Hodgkinson, chief pop and rock critic for ‘The Times’

Will Hodgkinson, chief pop and rock critic for ‘The Times’, recommended everyone check out the music of Chicago’s Ezra Furman this week. Furman channels a timeless minimal punk energy that was stumbled upon first by acts such as The Modern Lovers, and has since been worked on and pointed towards ever more shambolic perfection by anyone with a guitar, a hook, and a slightly confused worldview.

THEATRE: Something Rotten!, New York

“It’s a genuinely funny show and I say that as if more shows should be that but they really aren’t. There are relatively few shows that have the prescribed desire to entertain – and actually do”

Matt Wolf, theatre critic for ‘The International New York Times’

New York’s St James Theater is currently doffing its thespian cap to Shakespeare but not as you’ve ever seen him before. Something Rotten!, writen by John O'Farrell with brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, focuses on the careers of playwright duo Nigel and Nick Bottom, an Elizabethan-era poor relation to the great bard. They end up trying to stage the world’s first ever musical and Something Rotten! has fun plundering themes familiar from recent productions on Broadway over the past half century, let alone the ripe-for-mockery 16th century.

BOOK: Two Hours by Ed Caesar

“This is not really about running, it’s about pushing yourself; it’s about what you can find inside yourself. And that’s really where the fascination with the subject comes from”

Mark Mason, writer

Ed Ceasar is an award-winning writer (Journalist of the Year 2014, awarded by the Foreign Press Association, no less) but he turns his eye away from the likes of British murder trials and murky Russian oligarchs for his new book Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon. The book tells the stories of some of the best marathon-runners on earth throughout history and explores the obsession that pushes them to seek the all-elusive sub-two-hour time. But it’s a book that is as much about human motivation to better what came before as it is running. And Ceasar can consider this a personal best – in sportswriting – at least.

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