Friday, 22 March 2013

Creativity Marches On

Heather Gardner at The Old Rep until 28 March

To me March is always synonymous with culture. I am straddling the Birmingham and Manchester arts scenes like a ...funny simile.  It's not all been film either, here's a selection of stuff I've seen or want to see; radio, cinema, theatre & events across the UK and the web in March and beyond.

Neverwhere.  Neil Gaiman is an immensely talented fantasy writer, who has collaborated with Terry Pratchett on Good Omens, penned the hugely successful Sandman graphic novel series and written the award -winning The Doctor's Wife episode of Doctor Who.  I could love him just for these, but he also wrote a TV series/novel based on a suggestion by Lenny Henry to create a drama about the homeless and disenfranchised.  Neil Gaiman tackled it with sparkle and charm and it is currently a Radio 4 series starring James McAvoy, Sophie Okinedo and Anthony Head to name but a few. Catch up here

I went to see Heather Gardner at the Old Rep - a delicious reworking of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.  Worth watching for a brilliant study of manipulation and power struggles relocated to the cut throat world of Birmingham University academics.  Heather has beauty and the adoration of her somewhat dry academic husband, but figures from her past show up and afford her an opportunity to maintain the thing most important to her - power over others.

Del Lado del Verano played for the final time at the Viva Spanish and Latin American Film Festival.  It's definitely worth seeking out because after Festen, this is one of the most dysfunctional and in denial screen families I've seen in a while.  It's a fantastic car crash of a family, dealing with the aftermath of the death of a man everyone seems to view in completely different ways.  And you know I like to big up women directors, this film has the added bonus of super talented transgender actress Antonia San Juan at the helm (La Agrado in Almodovar's Todo Sobre Mi Madre), directing herself as a homophobic high maintenance mother to a gay son.

The festival continues until Sunday, I'll be catching Spanish werewolf flick Lobos de Arga/ Game of Werewolves and 30 aƱos de oscuridad / 30 Years of Darkness an animated documentary about people driven by fear of Franco's regime to hide in the shadows.

Stoker.  I'll be writing a full review on my film blog shortly but needless to say a film which combines the  talents of Oldboy director Chan-Wook Park and with a screenplay from the writers of The Secretary as well as the star of Prison break, is an interesting prospect.  Instense and dark, the film has an equally strong and disturbing central protagonist, India Stoker and even in his first English language film, he doesn't hold back on the violence and chilling family dynamics. Here's the trailer

That is all without mentioning the celebration of Women Filmmakers which is Birds Eye View in London, Flatpack Birmingham's excellent alternative film festival & Theatre Fever in Birmingham as well as epic digital festival Future Everything in Manchester. 

Thanks to Clem, Chris, Laura and Nick for harbouring me through this fabulous times and joining me on my quest for film and fantasy : wonderfully evoked here by Simon Ward of the ICO talking about Carlos Reygardas' latest film Post Tenebras Lux which opens today and the joys of being a film addict.

Keep the culture flowing, and let me know in the comments about your cultural highlights which are keeping you out of the cold, cold British weather.

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