THEATRE A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Young Vic | By
In a tiny flat, in suffocating proximity to Stella and her husband, she gets a close up view of the volatility of their relationship. Her presence in the house aggravates Stanley, but in a sense she isn't present, occupying instead a softfurnished fantasy world.
Stella and Stanley's marriage is driven by a sexual intensity that regularly spills over into violence. In an armour of lace and fur, Blanche spars with the brawny Stanley and remonstrates with Stellar about the primitiveness of her relationship. She's right: Stella maintains she's happy, but ultimately she's an abuse victim.
Tennessee Williams identifies the dysfunction of both sisters, presenting two polar opposite characters who plausibly come from the same place. Both have escaped: Stella to a blind, hyper-sexual present; Blanche to a world of makebelieve. Perhaps Belle RÊve - the family home to which they nostalgically refer - wasn't so beautiful after all.
Instead of walls the space is loosely framed by bars and curtains that combine to make an area that's simultaneously illdefined and claustrophobic. It's not the dirt or the noise that hems you in, as in Williams' original version. Instead there's a contemporary, plasticky oppressiveness; lots of cheap stuff in not very much space.
The stage revolves, with the audience encircling the action. It's a clever trick that adds to the feeling of voyeurism and reflects the theme of people in motion going nowhere at all.
FILM GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Cert 12A | By
But it's not: it's smart, funny, slick, often touching and always visually stunning.
It has the obligatory convoluted plot involving a mysterious object with the power to destroy the universe, but it's never over-explained, with the emphasis on the relationships between the titular space adventurers.
It brilliantly juggles its ensemble cast, with no less than five heroes all given space to develop. And while Pratt shines, it's WWE wrestler
They're helped out by a pitchperfect script that makes the interaction between characters a constant joy - some of the rapidfire dialogue makes even fellow Marvel movie writer
Let's hope JJ Abrams is paying close attention as filming begins for Star Wars episode VII, because this film is a masterclass in how to make a blockbuster space-opera that flits effortlessly between comedy and melodrama. Or maybe it's already too late: Guardians of the Galaxy might just be the Star Wars for a whole new generation.
FILM A PROMISE Cert 12a | By
Leconte has far too much fun playing will-they-won't-they, and as a result his film feels unbalanced and unbelievable. Poor Hall is left to convey a decade of longing and anguish in about 20 minutes. The melodrama often tips over into the ridiculous, too, such as in one extended scene where
Despite decent performances - especially from Rickman - A Promise doesn't answer whether love can stand the test of time; it proves you need more time to tell a convincing love story.
These political photographs and socialist realist photomontages played an important role in the vast Soviet propaganda machine. They are striking but familiar. Much more interesting are the photographs taken (and displayed using projectors) in secret by intellectuals keen to provide a record of the reality of late Soviet life.
FILM MOOD INDIGO Cert 12A | By
Based on cult French novel L'Ecume Des Jours (translated as Froth on the Daydream), it follows a beautiful, prosperous young couple, Colin and ChloÉ, as they traverse an increasingly treacherous path through life, from the blissful early days of love through to destitution and illness.
At every turn, Gondry chooses the difficult path: people don't just shake hands, their entire wrists rotate; the door bell doesn't just ring, it scuttles across the wall until it's smashed into a multitude of smaller doorbells.
Stylistically, it harks back to the director's earliest work, not least his first collaboration with Bjork on the Human Behaviour music video, combining stop-motion animation with live action, and showing a propensity to dress people up in animal costumes.
Storytelling itself is an implicit theme, with the suggestion that the surreal elements are an imagined escape from the more banal and cruel elements of everyday life.
It's often charming to the point of twee - at least to begin with - but brilliant turns from Audrey Tautou and
It is though, rather tiring. The relentless visual flourishes eventually suffer from diminishing returns, and have the unwanted side-effect of alienating you from the characters. ChloÉ's descent into a cancer-like illness caused by a lily growing inside her lung, for instance, doesn't elicit the emotional response it deserves.
It's the kind of film that craves to be rewatched, and then rewatched again. It's so richly textured it will doubtless pay dividends to those willing to invest. It falls short, however, of being the masterpiece it sometimes threatens to be.
Rembrandt: The Late Works Rembrandt's last years produced some of his darkest, most moving paintings. This exhibition at the
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