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17 Images by MC


If I could go every night to see ENO’s stunning Wozzeck I would! It is utterly riveting musically and theatrically. In her opera debut, award-winning young British theatre director Carrie Cracknell triumphantly proves that opera can be relevant, accessible and deeply moving to all generations, even children. A seven year old girl behind me was completely enthralled, whispering to her father "Is that man peeing?" Wozzeck certainly was. “I feel scared!” No wonder, as throats are slit with a huge kitchen knife and blood splashes on the floor and streams down the walls from squalid toilets above, at the grim climax of this tense opera noir production, lit low-key chiaroscuro by Jon Clarke. Children people the stage in Cracknell's theatrical reinterpretation of the story of Alban Berg’s dark 1925 operatic masterpiece based on Georg Büchner’s 1871 fragmentary play, here updated to contemporary Britain. We follow the lonely tormented common soldier Wozzeck returned from war, and his journey into madness. Plagued by jealousy, verbal and physical abuse, as well as demonic memories of warfare, he is pushed to the limit of his human endurance, murdering his unfaithful mistress, Marie, before slaughtering himself. Wozzeck’s split personality is reflected in Tom Scutt’s elaborately contrived and detailed split-level set which takes characters and eyes upwards facilitating instant scene changes to great effect. Gritty layers of rooms and stairs allow us to see Wozzeck's inner world of terrifying visions, as children fleeing from an explosion suddenly fill the stage below him only to disappear again while soldiers carry through Union Jack draped coffins of the dead, deliberately replicating recent press photographs. Jung likened the strata of the human psyche to a house with the base instincts at the bottom. By reversing this, Scutt's grimy raw material vertical set instantly conveys an atmosphere of sleaze and low life poverty, with a row of filthy urinals and toilets at the top, right above Wozzeck and Marie's drab one bedroom council flat, where their little son has to sleep and stash his stuff under the kitchen table, a virtual cage. Directly below is the pub and centre of community activity from which Wozzeck feels so alien. The repugnant lurid atmosphere makes credible the ingenious idea that the soldiers are all enmeshed in a drug ring, screwing the heads off bright luminous green plastic T-Rex toys to stuff them with cocaine, which Wozzeck their drug mule has to deliver, recalling Büchner's scene, omitted by Berg, where Wozzeck is forced to be a horse. The power of the production owes to Cracknell's fresh vision for the staging that comes from the world of theatre she's always worked in. Under her direction these opera singers really act, so it’s like watching a play performed by top level virtuoso actors who at the same time sing exceptionally and pitch-perfect the most challengingly difficult music in the repertoire all from memory and exactly in time with the orchestra below. Achieving this Olympian feat is a fearsomely strong cast headed by Leigh Melrose as Wozzeck and Sara Jakubiak as Marie. Cracknell's inspired use throughout of the luminous green T-Rexes serves as a visual motif symbolising the instinctive brutality and craziness of the characters which reigns for a cruel 95 minutes. It perfectly echoes Berg's instantly memorable musical leitmotifs in the orchestra. There is a passionate attention to all the myriad of details in the hauntingly disturbed yet beautiful music echoed in the staging and an incredible level of commitment in the orchestra superbly conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner. The final harrowing scene of the opera remains indelibly imprinted like a photograph, of Wozzeck and Marie’s son alone at the front of the stage clutching his green plastic dinosaur his father gave him, as children taunt him "Hey! Your mother's dead!" and the set, his entire disfunctional world, steadily retreats behind him, a real coup de theatre. Remarkably acted and sung by Harry Polden, it is he who we truly empathise with. Orphaned, nowhere to go, no one to turn to, a T-Rex toy his only friend, his is the real tragedy, a child lost, deserted, destitute, the silent victim of his parents’ brutal behaviour and catastrophe. Wozzeck is a profound study, through artistic expression of the highest level, of the dark tragedy of the human condition, and never has it, and opera, seemed more relevant.


2 images from Festival de Cannes Press Office


A love story that may happen in any couple whether it be a gay relationship or a hetero one. Michael Douglas has more or less gave justice in being Liberace, perhaps not as camp as the original Lee (Liberace's nick name) but with enough believable conviction.

Matt Damon who is known for brilliantly being 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' gave it a more subdued performance in comparison (as perhaps this is how the true to life character of Liberace's long term partner Scott Thorson is in person).

But the character that got our attention on brief appearances especially from the start was the surgeon as portrayed by 1980s heartthrob Rob Lowe. Perhaps due to the hilariously fitting prosthetic mask, a close up of his personal package whilst sunbathing by the pool, or perhaps just because it was just refreshing to see a has been doing a comedic come back...
Despair, loneliness, loving care till the end of a phenomenal figure in entertainment to an orphan who carried on faithfully loving and caring back up to the death bed of the former.
A 'must see' film for camp characters as well as straights alike.
Directed by: Steven SODERBERGH 
Country: USA
Year: 2013
Duration: 118.00 minutes
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE @ Cannes Film Fest'13

image from Festival de Cannes Press Office


Finally, an uber cool/HIP vampire movie in Cannes.

Utter sophistication, music, love, in the context of immortality.

Wouldn't you just know it all after living for centuries? 

With characters played by the likes of John Hurt, Tom Hiddleston and most of all Tilda Swinton who effortlessly makes this film even more stylish- how can it go wrong.

Perhaps best for a short film or even a music video instead of a feature film, but we just love it.

Directed by : Jim JARMUSCH 
Year: 2013
Duration: 123.00 minutes

ONLY GOD FORGIVES @ Cannes Film Fest'13

3 images from Festival de Cannes Press Office


Award winning Danish director/writer Nicolas Winding Refn, constantly brings us strong intensity in practically all scenes in a film where Kristen Scott Thomas plays a character totally unexpected and different from her usual stereo type that we didn't even recognise her at first.

Mystical spirituality in Thailand is conveyed in a powerful dramatic flair where extreme righteousness is applied by a retired local chief of police with with god like lawful attitude and a penchant for singing.

A very dark and twisted insight on motherhood by a controlling evil female crime boss with her 2 sons with seemingly Oedipus complexes towards her. 

Daringly bold with its screenplay as the mother (Thomas) loudly blurts out over dinner to her younger son (Gosling) that he was always jealoused with his older brother for having a bigger genitalia...

Instances of dark comedy, outrageous scenes of violence are not a miss.

Relatively a new twist in the usual underworld story that's quite gripping and disturbing.

A strong contender at this year's competition.

Directed by: Nicolas WINDING REFN 
Year: 2012
Duration: 90.00 minutes

BORGMAN @ Cannes Film Fest'13

2 images from Festival de Cannes Press Office


Perhaps a new angle on an odd mystery story, which leaves you thinking what, how, and why.

An altar scene at the very beginning of the film followed by a hunt/chase of a priest with a rifle accompanied by back up men with dogs may suggest something like a witch hunt for a cult demonic figure?
Enthralling and gripping, this film keeps us awake questioning as the plot thickens.
Another one of our select films this year that we found refreshing in its concept, which was also one of the most talked about film in the festival.

Directed by: Alex VAN WARMERDAM 
Year: 2013
Duration: 113.00 minutes


3  images from Festival de Cannes Press Office


A good contemporary homage to Fellini, where "La Dolce Vita" meets "Otto e Mezzo" though in this case with  the lead of an older character Jep-a 65 year old disenchanted bon vivant unlike the younger characters played by Marcello Mastroianni in those Fellini films. 

It's also a tribute to the beauty and vibrant life in Rome with its variety of characters in various fields from the arts, to religion, politics, crime and so on...

Humorous, hitting, sad, with a bit of the mystical.

An all in one fun film which will always be enjoyed.

Well shot scenes and brilliant art direction. 

Directed by: Paolo SORRENTINO 

Year: 2013
Duration: 142.00 minutes
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