Great Women Filmmakers: A Few Further Thoughts

The recent announcement of the results of two polls – one conducted by the BBC asking a bunch of critics for their favourite films directed women, won by Jane Campion’s The Piano, the other Sight & Sound’s annual look at the films of the year, won by Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir – got me thinking … Continue reading Great Women Filmmakers: A Few Further Thoughts

How Garbarek Got His Groove Back (plus a Gig by Joe Lovano)

It being 50 years since Manfred Eicher first set up his ECM label, it was perhaps unsurprising that this year’s London Jazz Festival should mount an ‘ECM day’, with three concerts featuring artists associated with the label. I missed the first, by the Julia Hülsmann Quartet, but managed to catch the second and third, and … Continue reading How Garbarek Got His Groove Back (plus a Gig by Joe Lovano)

Hills, vales, plains: new photographic work by Cristi Puiu

A couple of years ago, while serving on the jury of the Transylvanian International Film Festival in Cluj, I had the good fortune to visit the first ever exhibition of photographs by Cristi Puiu, one of Romania’s finest filmmakers and, indeed, one of the most interesting writer-directors in the world today. (His best known work … Continue reading Hills, vales, plains: new photographic work by Cristi Puiu

Of Life (and Death?): new music from Carla Bley

The first time I saw the American composer and pianist Carla Bley perform live was back in June 1974, when she played keyboards for the Jack Bruce Band; a couple of years later; the first of her albums that I bought was ‘Dinner Music’, released a couple of years later. Thereafter, I not only made … Continue reading Of Life (and Death?): new music from Carla Bley

The 2019 London Film Festival: My Tips

As in recent years, here are some recommendations for the upcoming BFI London Film Festival. (There are of course many films in the festival I haven’t yet seen, some of which I am greatly looking forward to.) The list below – ordered alphabetically – covers a dozen titles which are among my favourites of the … Continue reading The 2019 London Film Festival: My Tips

Félix Vallotton: a remarkable artist you may not even have heard of (I hadn’t)

To be absolutely honest, I wasn’t really aware of Félix Vallotton, let alone of any of his pictures, until very recently. A few years ago I read ‘Keeping an Eye Open’, Julian Barnes’ excellent collection of essays on (mostly French) art, but his chapter on Vallotton hadn’t really stayed with me simply because, apart from … Continue reading Félix Vallotton: a remarkable artist you may not even have heard of (I hadn’t)

When Will The Blues Leave – a posthumous gem from the great Paul Bley

A few weeks ago I read something that both surprised and greatly pleased me: an announcement of the imminent release of a new CD featuring the great Canadian pianist Paul Bley (1932-2016), in a live performance recorded in Lugano in 1999 featuring the illustrious trio of Bley, bassist Gary Peacock and the late, likewise great … Continue reading When Will The Blues Leave – a posthumous gem from the great Paul Bley

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival – My Favourite Films

A couple of weeks ago I embarked upon my 32nd (!!) visit to the Cannes Film Festival, and as usual set about watching all the films in the main competition, plus a fair number of films either out of competition or in the Salle Debussy's Un Certain Regard strand. (For various reasons I didn’t make it … Continue reading The 2019 Cannes Film Festival – My Favourite Films

Photographic genius at the Tate: the remarkable work of Don McCullin

Tate Britain’s exhibition devoted to the work of the great photographer Don McCullin is, in its own pleasingly straightforward and unpretentious way, one of the finest exhibitions I’ve been to in some years. Of course, as someone who used to peruse the Sunday Times magazine in his teens, when McCullin’s strikingly vivid, often deeply disturbing … Continue reading Photographic genius at the Tate: the remarkable work of Don McCullin

Agnès Varda par…

Some hours after the announcement of the death of Agnès Varda, my friend Nick James – editor of Sight & Sound magazine – felt moved to tweet that his Twitter feed was so choked with tributes, it felt as if Varda was the Bowie of cinema. ‘Perhaps she was,’ he added. It was an intriguing … Continue reading Agnès Varda par…