Culture

Five things to get or see this month

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Guerrilla
Out now on DVD
The six-part TV drama broadcast on Sky Atlantic in April receives a welcome DVD release. This flawed but fascinating drama centres on racial politics in Britain in the 1970s and follows the relationship of activists Marcus and Jas (Babou Ceesay and Freida Pinto). It looks at racist policing, the impact of immigration laws, and the angry responses of the communities they targetted.

The Underside of Power

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The Underside of Power is four-piece Atlanta based band Algiers’ follow up to their powerful self-titled post-punk meets Southern gospel debut album.

The band take their name from the city at the heart of the Algerian revolutionary war that fought and won independence from France in the 1960s. And they are back with a whole new level of fiery energy and an even more defiant political message.

The Handmaid's Tale

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If you’ve read Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985, you likely will have called it to mind frequently in recent years — and perhaps especially since last November. The book depicts a fascist US society that responds to ecological destruction with oppression, using the language of Christianity to hide and justify the real structures of power.

Destination Unknown

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This film is made up of the testimonies of 12 survivors. Each one is told in their old age, sometimes alongside pictures of them in their youths. For example, Roman Ferber recognises himself in footage of Auschwitz, a small boy in striped uniform looking through barbed wire. Others manage to recover photographs of their families.

These photos both haunt and, in a sense, orient them in their post-war lives. This is a film about the Holocaust, and about survival — how to live with such memories.

My Life as a Courgette

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This lovingly made stop-motion animation tackles difficult realities in a straightforward way that can speak to adults and children alike. The brightly coloured models with huge heads and even huger eyes convey a remarkable range of emotion.

Dealing with trauma is not new in animations aimed at a family audience, but rarely is it done entirely without irony or metaphor or cute animals.

Woyzeck

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Georg Büchner is somewhat of an enigma. Dying at age 23, in exile in Zürich for writing a revolutionary pamphlet, he created only three major works. Unfinished, the play Woyzeck was not performed until 1913, one hundred years after his birth. Yet it is said that had he lived he would have been the equal of the great heroes of German literature, Goethe and Schiller. Although he was influenced by the revolutionary ideas of Babeuf and Saint-Simon, he was so important a figure in German cultural identity that the Nazis did not burn his works.

Angels in America

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Playwright Tony Kushner is having a resurgence in London, and there could not be a better time for it.

Last autumn his play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, astounded audiences at the Hampstead Theatre. Now comes a stunning, star-studded production of his seven and a half hour magnum opus Angels in America at the National Theatre.

Damn

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Two years ago Kendrick Lamar delivered one of the landmark albums of the decade. To Pimp a Butterfly combined the brilliant, imaginative musicality of artists such as Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus and Thundercat with Lamar’s sharp observations about the “post-racial” society that Barack Obama’s presidency had supposedly ushered in. One of its stand out tracks “Alright” quickly became one of the anthems of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

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