Culture

Five things to do or see this month

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The Battle of the Somme
Out now
This astonishing 77 minute film gets a centenary rerelease. It was shot a few days before and after the initial attack on 1 July 1916 by Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, the only cinematographers allowed anywhere near the front line. It was released in cinemas on 21 August 1916 and an estimated 20 million people saw it — half the UK population. Although conceived as propaganda, it was widely seen as showing the reality of the war.

Hopelessness

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In a year that has seen many great artists pass away, those still living and working among us can be overlooked. One such artist is Anohni, whose work under her former group Antony and the Johnsons has attracted international acclaim with albums such as the Mercury Prize-winning “I Am a Bird Now” and “The Crying Light”.

Her dramatic, other-worldly vocal style and intimate music have previously inhabited the world of torch song popularised by the likes of Marc Almond and the dark glamour of her mentor Lou Reed. But Anohni has undergone a remarkable transformation.

The Threepenny Opera

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“Food first, morals later” declares Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in the shattering second act finale of Bertolt Brecht’s musical play, a satire of bourgeois ethics. Brecht shows us the would-be bosses grubbing and grasping for every penny in order to rise out of the poverty of the mass.

The story, told with the help of a swirling polyphonic score from Kurt Weill, was the first great example of a new genre, musical theatre. Written in 1928, it is based on The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay’s 1728 parody of Handel’s operas, and it was Brecht and Weill’s first big success.

Superwoman: Work, Build and Don't Whine

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This exhibition documents women in Russian art and society from the great advances of the 1917 revolutions through to Perestroika in the 1980s. It identifies the double burden of oppression which women experienced in Stalinist Russia: exploited in the workplace and bearing the brunt of household chores and child rearing, all under the banner of being “liberated women”.

The Hard Stop

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In August 2011 the taxi 29 year old Mark Duggan was travelling in was forced to stop by police on Ferry Lane, Tottenham, in north London. Four seconds later he lay dying on the pavement, shot in his arm and chest by a firearms officer.

This killing of a black man lit a tinderbox which saw mostly young people riot around the country. Fighting pitched battles with police, they were condemned by Tory prime minister David Cameron as “thugs”.

Where to Invade Next

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Michael Moore’s new film is not, as the title implies, a film about overwhelming US military might and another ill-conceived imperialist war. Instead the more bizarre premise involves Moore “invading” various countries himself to take the best from their societies and return to an America he characterises as dysfunctional.

Fire at Sea

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Fire at Sea is a powerful and moving documentary about refugees on the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. So far 400,000 migrants have landed on the island and 15,000 have died making the dangerous journey by sea. The film depicts migrants in dinghies at the mercy of border patrols who exercise complete callous authority over the refugees.

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