Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

8 May 2015

FILM: Girlhood

“There’s one particular sequence that almost had me jumping out of my seat applauding – it’s such a euphoric high”

Tim Robey, film critic for ‘The Telegraph’

French director Céline Sciamma’s latest film Girlhood stars newcomer Karidja Touré as Marieme, growing up in a tough Paris suburb and making choices that will affect the rest of her life during the last summer of school. The film is a powerful vehicle for its stars, not only depicting a seldom-seen side of urban Parisian life on the big screen but because it also found much of its talent from the streets themselves rather than with traditional casting calls. It means Girlhood is a film brimming with energy, hard truths and very real life.

ART: Venice Biennale

“It’s going to be artists dealing with identity; issues of nationality”

Ossian Ward, head of content at Lisson Gallery and writer on contemporary art

This weekend Venice welcomes the contemporary-art world to its waterways as the 56th La Biennale di Venezia kicks off in the city and it will stick around until November. This year the theme is “All the World’s Futures”, led by Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor. He is greeting the event’s glitz and glamour with some questioning themes – Karl Marx’s Das Kapital will be regularly interpreted in a live setting over the coming weeks – and works such as US artist Theaster Gates’s depictions of the deterioration of church-led community in the US (pictured) will lend proceedings a more reflective, if no less dazzling perspective.

MUSIC: Ryley Walker, Primrose Green

“It’s essentially folk rock but with a very loose, free-flowing jazz element to it and I think it works like an absolute dream on this album”

Pete Paphides, music critic and broadcaster

Chicago’s Ryley Walker is a singer-songwriter fusing folk and more expansive jazz-influenced musings to create a new sound that actually sounds a lot like your dad’s old dog-eared vinyl – in a good way. Think Van Morrison in his blustering prime or Bert Jansch’s quieter yet no less majestic mastery of the genre. Primrose Green is an effortless listen and you only wonder where Walker might be headed next on album two. We’d hope not too far away.

THEATRE: Golem, London

“It is very much about the way we live now and also about our dreams – how we communicate, how we can succeed, what we can accomplish – and how sometimes that can take over our lives”

Donald Hutera, theatre critic, ‘The Times’

Golem at London’s Young Vic theatre is an adaptation of Gustav Meyrink’s 1914 novel of the same name but the theatre version performed by experimental group 1927 combines striking video to bring this anti-modernity fable to life. The show tells the story of a drab workplace and the influence of an at-first innovative, and latterly menacing new presence – the Golem – on its inhabitants. You could replace the Golem with any modern technology menace of your choice – the iPad or just “the future” in general – but one thing is clear whatever form it takes: we all have to face it eventually.

BOOK: When to Rob a Bank by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

“I go through this book thinking that I’m really clever because I understand the concept and then I realise that there’s a million things that I’ve never, ever thought about – to me that’s deeply inspiring.”

Sharmaine Lovegrove, literary consultant for ‘Dialogue Berlin’

Freakonomics, the blog that launched the book series of the same name authored by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner is now 10 years old. To celebrate this milestone, Levitt and Dubner have released new title When to Rob a Bank: And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants, which collects the best of the series’ sideways looks at the ways things work and often throws in its own rather strange questions, too. They’re the ones that you might have always been too afraid to ask, ranging from “If you were a terrorist, how would you attack?” to “Why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?”.

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