Ben Windsor

Off the Shelf: Fontamara

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Fontamara was a literary phenomenon when first published in 1933. To many readers, it quickly became the great anti-fascist novel, translated into 27 other languages and selling over 1.5 million copies around the world.

The Fontamara (bitter spring) of the title is a fictional village in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. The bulk of the population work the earth to survive, emigrate if that proves impossible, and are largely ignorant of events in the outside world. Mussolini might as well be governing from Mars as far as they’re concerned.

British Folk Art

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British Folk Art

Tate Britain, London, until 31 August

Policing the borders of art is a tricky business. They’re porous, and they’re constantly shifting. What passes as “art” today may no longer pass tomorrow. It’s like nailing jelly to a tree.

This is not a question that torments most of us. But the movers and shakers in the art world are obsessed with it. Either they’ve got millions riding on their favourites or else they’ve erected palaces of high culture around them.

Freedom Has No Script

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Iniva, Gallery London, until 17 May

The title of Burak Delier's show is inspired by recent social movements. The artist argues, "When we consider the recent uprisings in Istanbul, Tahrir Square and Occupy New York, we can see that the rioters don't have a programme. Nobody knows exactly how we'll become free."

Burak is a Turkish artist living in Istanbul who has been politically engaged for many years. This is his first exhibition in Britain.

The high price of oils

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The art market is awash with cash, and Qatar is now hoovering up classical and modern collections thanks to its oil and gas dollars. This puffed up market of speculators has distorted creativity, argues Ben Windsor.

Each year Art Review magazine compiles a list of the 100 most powerful people in the art world. This year, the highest ranked artist, Ai Weiwei, languishes at No 9. All places above him are taken by directors of public museums and private galleries (the trend setters of the art world) with one exception.

Boss

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Showing Thursdays at 11pm on More4. Previous episode are available through 4OD

Boss, a US TV drama that has just premiered in Britain, focuses on the political manoeuverings of the Mayor of Chicago and his opponents. But it smacks more of The Sopranos than the West Wing, with a bit of King Lear thrown in. It is a portrait of the politician as a gangster and of the gangster as tragic hero.

Celebrate People's History - the poster book of resistance and revolution

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The Feminist Press, $24.95


EZLN, Tierra y Libertad, Kate Luscher

This book collects the posters produced by the Celebrate People's History project over a period of 12 years. Although the project's director, Josh MacPhee, is a Chicago-based anarchist, he has commissioned them from a wide variety of artists engaged in different campaigns around the world.

Carlos

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Director: Olivier Assayas; Release date: out now

Carlos tells the story of Ilich Ramirez Sánchez - commonly known as Carlos the Jackal. He was the world's most infamous terrorist in the 1970s and 1980s. A Venezuelan, and the son of a wealthy Marxist lawyer, Carlos started off working for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) but fell out with them when he bungled a high-profile operation. He then set up his own organisation.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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Director: Woody Allen; Release date: 6 February

The critic Joe Queenan recently described Woody Allen's career as a "corpse that has been awaiting interment for years".

With each new release, increasing numbers of critics and audiences have come to the same conclusion. Things have got so bad that two of his films in the last decade - Hollywood Ending and Scoop - were not even given a release in British cinemas.

But some people are still eager to see the latest Woody Allen. The French and Spanish markets in particular have enabled him to keep turning a small profit.

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