Viewing all posts by Bea Moyes

APRIL

Untold Stories: Hymn and Cocktail Sticks by Alan Bennett at the Duchess Theatre

Alan Bennett has had more mileage from his childhood and northern upbringing than most writers of his generation. Many of his countless books, radio diaries, and plays rake through the details of his early life with a fine-tooth comb. And yet, as Bennett returns again and again to these subjects with such charm and witty intelligence, it seems we can't help but continue to relish his arch recollections with unabashed joy. Despite being fictive, there is a raw, melancholic reality in Bennett’s plays which is immediately evocative of a kind of nostalgic Britishness, his words staying with you long after you've left the theatre. Read more →
FEBRUARY

Feature Film: Madame de…

A much-underrated director and supreme stylist, Max Ophuls is having a renaissance with a series at the British Film Institute this February that should not be missed. His films, spanning the 1930s to the mid-50s, are beautiful models of melodrama, with femme fatales, longing lovers and doomed romances. Featuring the beautiful actress, Danielle Darrieux, Madame de... is the story of a passionate romance in belle époque Paris between the married Louise (the eponymous Madame De) and an Italian diplomat, Donati (played by the famous director of Italian neo-realism, Vittorio de Sica). The married woman who falls for the dashing womaniser may be a common conceit, but the magic of Ophuls’ storytelling transports an otherwise familiar narrative into new territory. Read more →
JANUARY

Feature Film: Madame Brouette

In 2009, the film critic Danny Leigh wrote a fantastic piece in the Guardian on the lack of African cinema enjoyed in British cinemas. It doesn’t seem that much has changed since then. Outside a few niche audiences, films from the African continent have largely been ignored by mainstream UK audiences—unless we count Meryl Streep (and that bizarre Danish accent) in Out of Africa. So when I had the opportunity, I enthusiastically scooted off to the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, which often has free screenings of African films, to watch a contemporary classic of Senegalese cinema, Madame Brouette. Away from the bustling crowds of Covent Garden’s Christmas shoppers, I found myself transported from the cold, wet streets of London to the vivid, dusty shantytowns of Western Africa. Read more →