Culture

Roma

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Yalitza Aparicio. Remember her name. As an amateur debutante she plays Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Roma. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of upstairs/downstairs life in his native Mexico City, set in 1971 when he would have been ten.

Cleo is one of two live-in workers for the middle class family whose male doctor head deserts them, leaving mum, four young kids and gran to face their futures together poorer.

Fernand Leger: New Times, New Pleasures

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Tate Liverpool is currently hosting a major exhibition of the work of Fernand Léger.

Léger (1881–1955) is one of the 20th century’s great modernist artists. He worked in a diverse range of media which the exhibition successfully brings together with abstract and figurative paintings, a large-scale mural, films, graphic designs, drawings, books and textiles.

Drill music and social exclusion

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If you type the words “Incognito blessed” into your preferred internet search engine it will bring up a very poignant three-minute drill music video set in and around the Brandon Estate in south London. One of its six tower blocks, Molesworth House, is prominently featured in the film but the area is not just a grey and grim concrete jungle. The estate is just south of the lush green expanse of Kennington Park. I know the area well. On sunny days like those we enjoyed for much of 2018, these spaces are full of people relaxing and having fun.

Five things to do or see this month

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Ordinary Giants: A Life and Times 1918–2018
by Robb Johnson, out now on CD
Ordinary Giants is a song suite by Robb Johnson about the life and times of his father, Ron Johnson, who served in the Second World War. It follows his acclaimed 1997 album Gentle Men, which looked at his grandfathers and the First World War. The many contributors on Ordinary Giants include the late Roy Bailey, Maddy Carty, Phil Odgers, Tom Robinson, Steve White, and even Dennis Skinner.

Martin Parr: Return to Manchester

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Almost 50 years ago, the teenage Martin Parr came up north to Manchester Polytechnic where he learnt his trade as a photographer, shooting in black and white. He looked for people, often managing to get close to them. He hung out in the city centre, Piccadilly Gardens, where he found young couples and fans of the Osmonds willing to pose for him. He explored every Yates’ Wine Lodge in the area on weekday dinner times, often rather sad places.

Sorry to Bother You

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Last August Boots Riley, the American rapper and activist, caused controversy by launching a blistering attack on Spike Lee’s blockbusting film BlacKKKlansman. Riley’s criticism revolved around whether police officers should be portrayed as allies in the fight against racism. For Riley, Ron Stallworth (BlacKKKlansman’s protagonist) “is the villain”.

Disobedience

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Disobedience

Disobedience is Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s first English language film, a north-west London-set drama, based on the 2006 novel by Naomi Alderman. Compared to his previous film, 2017’s A Fantastic Woman, this is a downbeat, subtle story of two women who grew up in an orthodox Jewish community.

22 July and Utoya – July 22

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On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

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