October 27th, 2011

Raks New Profile Pic Square

55th BFI London Film Festival: Anonymous

Today I saw Anonymous, Roland Emmerich's exploration of the contested authorship of Shakespeare's works. It is here:

I am not going to write a review of the film. I am going to do something slightly different, which is this.

In the film, Ben Jonson says to the man who wrote Shakespeare's plays (not William Shakespeare!) "You are the soul of the age". Not only was Shakespeare the soul of the age, he is the soul of all ages. Shakespeare's body of work is a colourful tapestry, representing and reflecting life in all its richness and diversity. If you have a problem and you are looking for guidance and a solution, you will find it in Shakespeare's plays. If you are seeking to understand a person, you will find the character in Shakespeare's plays. When I explained to someone that I self-defined as "English" they asked if that was enough to nourish and sustain me culturally. To which I said "But Shakespeare was English and when you have Shakespeare what more do you need?".

Burn those self-help books now, use The Complete Works of William Shakespeare instead!

London Film Festival. Browse the full programme and book tickets here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

13, National Theatre

Photo credit: http://www.ntposters.org.uk/image/744383/13

Saw this today for the first time.

With huge apologies to all my Christian friends who detest bad language:
OMG ... OMG ... OMG!
This was f**king amazing!
Lovin' it!
Loved it ... Loved it ... Loved it ... !

Great actors (a couple direct from the Paintframe, a couple from Emperor and Galilean). Loved the innovation in having parallel scenes running at the same time. Amazing staging. And, critically, and most importantly, such a lot to think about - there is a lot of meat to the piece. I do have a strong preference for political (with a small p) and issue-based plays and this is definitely one of those.

Yes, there are problems with this play and this production; it is not perfect. However, its subject matter and the fact that it makes you think deeply about so many things more than makes up for it!

My feature on Stop the War turned out to be very timely as one of the key themes in this piece was the impending war on Iran.

I will write a proper review in due course but what I wanted to say was ...


Cut and pasted from the National's website:

Across London, people wake up from an identical, terrifying dream. At the same moment, a young man named John returns home after years away to find economic gloom, ineffective protest, and a Prime Minister about to declare war. But John has a vision for the future and a way to make it happen.

Coincidences, omens and visions collide with political reality in this epic new play from the writer of Earthquakes in London. Set in a dark and magical landscape, it depicts a London both familiar and strange, a London staring into the void. In a year which has seen governments fall as the people take to the streets, 13 explores the meaning of personal responsibility, the hold that the past has over the future and the nature of belief itself.

For further details about the production and to book tickets, follow the link:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

55th BFI London Film Festival Closing Tonight

Photo credit: http://cinema-architecture.blogspot.com/2011/09/55th-bfi-london-film-festival.html

The London Film Festival closes tonight :(

The London Film Festival is always amazing and it is one of the cultural highlights of my year. I have been looking forward to it since Spring!

However, what I will say, is that the Festival this year has been OUTSTANDING. I booked to see 9 films; of which 6 were brilliant, 1 was good, 1 was a dud and 1 have yet to see (A Dangerous Method, tonight). Therefore, at least 6 of the 9 films I have had the privilege of seeing were exceptional.

So, let us give it up for the London Film Festival - I will miss you - roll on next year!

London Film Festival. Browse the full programme here:
Raks New Profile Pic Square

55th BFI London Film Festival: A Dangerous Method

Today, my experience of this year's London Film Festival closed with A Dangerous Method, David Cronenberg's compelling look at the early days of psychoanalysis. It is here:

My review of this film will be short and sweet. I had been spoilt by seeing the stage play that this film is based on, The Talking Cure, at the National in 2003. It starred Ralph Fiennes as Carl Jung. Compared to the National's version, this film is a very pale imitation. However, given that, as you all know, I am a) obsessed with the National Theatre and b) a HUGE Ralph Fiennes fan, me saying that was probably inevitable! I think I should have given the film a miss and gone to see the National's version again at the Archive for free!

London Film Festival: