Culture

We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service

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A Tribe called Quest’s new album is a breath of fresh air in the stale halls of “new” hip hop.

For the last couple of years a dominant theme in US hip hop has been the emergence of trap music. Artists such as Future, Rich Homie Quan, Lil Uzi, Young Thug and others have been propelled into the limelight, and signed for millions, due to their categorisation as trap artists.

Denial

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In 1992 a group of Jewish socialists came together to write an Anti Nazi league pamphlet, “Holocaust Denial: The New Nazi Lie”, in response to the rise of Holocaust deniers, and in particular the British Nazi, David Irving.

The emergence of Holocaust Denial in the 1990s was not a coincidence. The British National Party (BNP) was making advances, as were Nazis elsewhere in Europe.

In 1993 the BNP won a council by-election in the Isle of Dogs, east London, and in the same year black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered near the BNP HQ in Welling, south London.

Silence

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Here is a movie adapted from a book by Shuaku Edo, a Japanese Catholic. It tells the story of two Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan. It is directed by a man who was “educated” in a Jesuit seminary until he was 14, and the film is dedicated to “Japanese Christians and their padres”. It was given its world premiere at the Vatican. So it is hardly a bolt from the blue that this movie is in-your-face propaganda for that bastion of obscurantism, misogyny and child molestation, the Catholic church.

Buried Child

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Sam Shepard’s important 1978 Pulitzer Prize winning play is often said to belong to the American gothic tradition. Hidden horror is flagged in the title but there are deeper myths at work here.

Ostensibly this is a play about a family, its failings and its possible renewal. The story is of Dodge, the patriarch here played by Ed Harris, and the matriarchal Halie, his abusive wife, played by Amy Madigan.

Harris brings a powerful American naturalness to the part and plays the comedy of old age brilliantly in this initially realist production.

You Say You Want A Revolution?

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This exhibition is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve visited plenty in my time so that’s a bold assertion but one I make without hesitation.

Taking its title from the first line of The Beatles 1968 song “Revolution”, it leads you on an interactive journey through the years 1966 to 1970, combining art, costume, film, music and propaganda.

As you embark, you are invited not simply to reflect upon times past, but to consider their contemporary relevance and the lessons we can learn for the world we live in today.

Political music

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Music often has something to say about the world we live in. Sometimes it simply reflects that world, good and bad, but sometimes it goes further, commenting on it and, on occasions, trying to be part of changing things and actively engaging with movements and society at large.

The Pass

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The Pass is a dark, emotional and claustrophobic insight into football shown through the eyes of Jason, a closeted footballer.

Russell Tovey is excellent as Jason, especially as we see him initially as the cheeky, working class character he often plays in TV comedies such as Him and Her. However, this likeability soon diminishes. We see his character develop over time expressing sexism, racism and homophobia while in public he suppresses his sexual feelings towards other men.

Life, Animated

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Life, Animated is an award-winning film adapted from a book of the same name by Ron Suskind about his son, Owen. Owen is a young man with Autism Spectrum Condition.

The film centres on the way that Owen’s lifelong special interest in Disney animated films has acted as a way for him to understand aspects of the neurotypical (non-autistic) world. It helps him to communicate and consider how other people might think differently from him.

The Unknown Girl

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“A good doctor controls their emotions in order to make a correct diagnosis.” This is the advice that young medic Jenny Davin tries to impress upon her intern Julien in the opening scenes of The Unknown Girl. Yet it is her barely suppressed emotions that drive Jenny into the obsessive mission at the heart of this captivating film.

Paterson

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Paterson is a wonderfully gentle and gently amusing film. It is almost entirely without plot but that is no complaint. It has a rhythm to it, revolving around the daily routines of the protagonists — Paterson (Adam Driver), a poet and bus driver, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), his wife, and their dog, Marvin — and it has a lovely, deliberate, serene tone.

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