Ever since I first became seriously interested in the cinema, I have considered Orson Welles one of the very finest filmmakers of all time; and whenever I’m invited to do the impossible and nominate one movie as the greatest ever made, I usually opt for Citizen Kane. So I was obviously one of those Welles … Continue reading The Other Side of the Wind: at last it can be seen.
A few days ago, a documentary I’ve been wanting to see ever since it won the best direction prize at Sundance was made available to watch on Netflix; the film has been garnering positive reviews pretty much wherever it’s screened, so I jumped at the chance to catch up with it at last. It was … Continue reading Shirkers: the film that never was, but is now.
I’ve been listening a lot recently to three terrific new jazz albums which illustrate just how widely varied the musics covered by that term may be. I’m not using the word in the almost ludicrously catch-all way deployed these days by the London Jazz Festival, where virtually anything that isn’t classical music might get a … Continue reading Of Old Songs and New Beginnings: three terrific new jazz albums
As last year, here are some recommendations for the upcoming BFI London Film Festival. There are, of course, many films in the festival that I haven’t yet seen, some of which I am greatly looking forward to. (For me Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Mike Leigh’s Peterloo are merely the most immediately enticing; since posting this piece … Continue reading The 2018 London Film Festival: some personal recommendations
For my first three decades, even though I liked classical music (my main interests were then pop, rock and jazz), I would tell friends – and, indeed, myself – that I had no time for opera: that it was a mish-mash of inferior drama, inferior poetry and inferior music. Naturally, I’d reached this absurd conclusion … Continue reading At last: Doctor Atomic on CD
My annual visit to Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival – which specialises in rarities, restorations, forgotten fragments and other filmic arcana – usually turns up a few gems, and often provides a welcome opportunity to get better acquainted with the work of a director with whom I was hitherto barely familiar; last year, I especially … Continue reading Bologna discovery: the films of John Stahl
Those of you who have visited my website more than once or twice may be aware of my enduring interest in much of the music released by ECM. One of the mainstays of the label over the years, alongside the likes of Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Norma Winstone, John Surman and others, was the great … Continue reading Glimpses of a guitar great: meeting John Abercrombie (on film)
I’ve had a good week, exhibition-wise, kicking off with a visit to the Tate Modern’s pleasingly not-too-crowded ‘Picasso 1932’, followed by a first-day (and therefore extraordinarily quiet) encounter with the Royal Academy’s historical survey of summer-show landmarks, ‘The Great Spectacle’. I can recommend both shows, but it was a third outing that gave me the … Continue reading Faces and far more: the photographic genius of August Sander
While last year’s Cannes - the 70th edition of the Festival – was a little underwhelming, this year’s event turned out to be pretty rewarding, at least in terms of the main competition. While I wouldn’t claim that it produced any indisputable masterpieces, there were many very good films on offer, and around five or … Continue reading The 2018 Cannes Film Festival: My Top 12 Movies
Year in, year out, Easter throws up gigs galore with music that’s good for the soul: Bach, of course – especially the Passions, for obvious reasons – but also masses, motets and so on by the likes of Pärt, Pergolesi or Poulenc, Tavener, Taverner or Tallis, not to mention Handel’s inevitable Messiah. Evidently, the profound … Continue reading Stops Making Sense: Organ music with a difference