The refugee crisis has disappeared from newspaper front pages over the last year. For those of us keeping up with the story through alternative sources, it is still very much a grim reality that continues today as thousands risk their lives seeking the shores of the EU every day.
Channel 4’s The State is a four-part drama following two British men and two British women who decide to go to Syria and join Islamic State. As you can expect, the subject matter itself is incredibly divisive. The harrowing drama was not an easy watch, but an important one.
The first episode feels like an adventure film as four Britons leave their everyday lives to join Isis. One man hopes to follow in his brother’s footsteps and persuades his best friend to accompany him along the journey.
This debut from Francis Lee is a love story between Romanian farmhand Gheorghe and farm owner’s son Johnny. It is filmed on location in Keighley, south of the Yorkshire Dales.
There is certainly nothing subtle about this film. From the opening shot Lee sets out to describe in an uncompromising way some of the poverty, hardships and brutality of farm life. Lee almost starves his characters of dialogue. The method highlights well the little world of repression in the family (Nan, Dad and son) as they battle the father’s illness and try to make the farm work.
This is a celebration of the work of Black American artists in the 1960s and 1970s. While the art on display is inspired by the mass Civil Rights Movement in the US during that time it is incredibly poignant that the issues raised remain so relevant today.
Norman Lewis’s America the Beautiful, for example, is an almost abstract painting depicting the KKK and burning crosses that could be a representation of Donald Trump’s America.
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Modern, London, 12 July-29 October
The US Civil Rights and Black Power movements inspired artists to celebrate African American pride and explore politics. This landmark exhibition promises to be “an electrifying visual journey”. With 150 artworks — including paintings, murals, photography, fashion and activist posters — from more than 50 artists, this is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.
Otto Quangel is the foreman in a coffin factory. A mechanic, he is a small cog in the apparatus of death that was the Third Reich. Quangel and his wife Anna get notification of the loss of their son at the front. Their feelings of disengagement with the regime harden into opposition. They embark on a low-level campaign of resistance, writing postcards with anti-Nazi messages and leaving them secretly in the stairwells of Berlin businesses and apartments.