Review: The Open, The Space

Too often, new dystopian play The Open feels emotionally closed at The Space Arts Centre

“Just because things got bad doesn’t mean they couldn’t be good again”

With so much uncertainty surrounding what a post-Brexit Britain might actually look like (and with no sign of any clarity arriving anytime soon), the fertile imaginations of writers will have to do. And in the case of Florence Bell (directing her own play here too), it is a dystopian viewpoint in the shadow of Trump that persists in The Open

It’s 2050 and the orange cheeto has bought Britain, converting it into The Great British Golf Course. Citizens have become golf caddies, entertaining the rich and famous, and any attempt at resistance is met with the severest punishment. Even so, migrant worker Jana wants to rebel against the authoritarian status quo and draws friends Arthur and Patrick into her orbit, despite the danger.
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Short Film Review #40

I was lucky enough to catch Louis Garrel on stage in Paris recently and exploring his film work has been something of a pleasure, he’s an intriguing actor who I definitely haven’t seen enough of. Diarchy (or Diarchia) is a 2010 short by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. Garrel and Riccardo Scamarcio play Luc and Giano, two friends whose complex relationship is tested when they take shelter in Luc’s family villa during a storm. Their competitiveness comes to fore, along with a delicious hint of homoeroticism, and the whole thing is beautifully shot by Filomarino. 

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DVD Review: Diana

“He doesn’t treat me like a princess”

There was a frisson of excitement in putting on the DVD of Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana in the knowledge that we were about to watch something that many had declared ‘so bad it is good’, but even I couldn’t have expected just how true that sentiment would turn out in what has to be one of the most hilariously misjudged films of recent years. One now understands a little better why multi-Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, who takes on the eponymous role, had difficulties on the press tour for the film (though not necessarily why she took on the part in the first place).

Written by Stephen Jeffreys and based on an unofficial biography by Kate Snells, it follows the late Princess of Wales in the last two years of her life and claims that an affair with British-Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan blossomed into the real love of her life. But rather than try to tell a story with fleshed-out characters, the film is wedded to a misguided sense of loyalty to Diana, using actual newspaper headlines and speeches as hooks, presumably as a way of trying to stay true to her legacy but falling back on cheesy montages and execrable dialogue for the vast majority of the time as any two-bit biopic has to. Continue reading “DVD Review: Diana”