Liv Lewitschnik

When Freedom Flowers

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Review of 'Purple Hibiscus', Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Fourth Estate £12.99

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, describes a Nigerian family living in a country torn between contradictions. Although a military coup unsettles the population - streets erupt with riots as soldiers hunt down dissenters - the story's main protagonist, Kambili, lives a protected life in Enugu.

Young Hearts Run Free

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Review of 'Bad Education', director Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar began his film-making career as a new Spanish society took shape at the end of dictator Franco's rule. During the 1980s transition period to democracy the politically disenchanted people found a voice in the new cultural movement, movida. Hedonistic and anarchic, it had a strong impact on its followers and Almodóvar's future work. Bad Education is set against the backdrop of the movida in Madrid, where we meet Enrique Goded, a young, successful film director.

Girls Will Be Boys

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Review of 'Osama', director Siddiq Barmak

Kabul's sandblasted and windswept streets set the opening scene for Osama, the first film released about Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. A flood of widows in cornflower blue burqas, demanding the right to work, sweep the viewer convincingly right into the middle of the drama, where a western cameraman captures the commotion. Guided through the crowd by a mischievous boy called Espandi, the camera lens drowns in water when armed Taliban enforcers arrive to halt the illegal demonstration with water cannons.

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