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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Trumpeter’ (Mateshko, 2014) reviewed by Valenka Navea

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I was fortunate enough to be at the Ukrainian Cinema Days press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy last week, excited to hear what the organisers had to say about the launch of their film festival programme showing at Rich Mix in East London. Igor Iankovsky, founder of Charity Foundation Initiative for the Future and main sponsor of…

Valenka Navea | 21/12/2015
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REMEMBERING BOSNIA: ‘Fools Rush In’ (Bill Carter, 2004) reviewed by Valenka Navea

‘Grief produces an abundant energy that must find a way to burn itself up. And that is the fundamental problem, one that can take a lifetime to exhaust’. Bereaved, disillusioned and heartbroken at the age of 24, Bill Carter in the early ’90s felt the pull of besieged Sarajevo – a city whose devastation matched his own.…

Valenka Navea | 12/12/2015
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Anglo-Hungarian Jazz Festival at the 606 Club, reviewed by Valenka Navea

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My time machine has landed in the swinging 60’s, bang-dot in the middle of a beatnik jazz-den, the 606 Club, near classy Chelsea Harbour. I’m slightly annoyed this little gem of a venue has been sitting under my nose for decades without my knowing it, but happy to be at the Anglo Hungarian Jazz Festival…

Valenka Navea | 27/09/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘The Waiting Point’ (Drndic, 2013) reviewed by Valenka Navea

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Croatian director Masa Drndic describes her filmmaking as ‘documenting everyday life… where figures, spaces and situations mirror shadows’ – and certainly one gets a strong sense of the philosophical aesthetic in her films, which grasp these metaphorical ‘shadows’ through a creative use of sound. Layers of meaning are added above the central narrative, but what’s really…

Valenka Navea | 15/06/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Provincial Actors’ (Holland, 1979), reviewed by Valenka Navea

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To describe Provincial Actors (1979), Agnieska Holland’s first film,  as psychological is an understatement. The film is a rare thing, managing to balance characterization with a polemical heart, without ever resorting to cliché. The plot – self-reflective yet never over-burdened – revolves around a group of actors exploring themes in a forthcoming theatre production of Stanislaw’s Wyspianski’s…

Valenka Navea | 11/05/2015
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‘Tamás Dezső: Notes For An Epilogue’ reviewed by Valenka Navea

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Apparently pieces from Tamás Dezső’s Notes for an Epilogue were still arriving at the Photographer’s Gallery last Saturday, a few days after the show opened to the public. It’s still in it’s opening week but already receiving rave reviews. The show consists of 10 pieces capturing varying subjects, landscapes and people in Romania and Hungary, taken…

Valenka Navea | 26/04/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Foreign Body’ (Zanussi, 2014) reviewed by Valenka Navea

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Trying to fathom Foreign Body is a bit like trying to unpick an intellectual and emotional rant. Director Krzysztof Zanussi’s highly ambitious morality tale attempts to explore the spiritually bereft corporate world via two star-crossed lovers, but fails in the process, as the sermon gets lost in too much convoluted detail.A shame, as the narrative includes…

Valenka Navea | 05/04/2015
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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘Flights and Falls’ (2000), reviewed by Valenka Navea

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‘The aesthetic side needs to be connected to the spiritual side’ –  thus says the elderly Václav Chochola in Věra Chytilová’s documentary Flights and Falls, an attempt to document a slice of the boho Czech photographic scene from the fifties to the seventies. This 2-part film is rare on so many levels – in the way it attempts…

Valenka Navea | 20/03/2015
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Jan Kott Our Contemporary: Contexts, Legacies, New Perspectives – reviewed by Valenka Navea

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‘Shamanistic charlatanism!’ ‘A pernicious influence on Peter Brook!’ Like a Greek chorus the accusations flung at Polish critic Jan Kott when his ground-breaking book ‘Shakespeare Our Contemporary’ exploded onto the international theatre scene in 1964 were almost apocalyptic in their virulence. Which begs the question – why the need for an all-day conference on Jan…

Valenka Navea | 01/03/2015
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‘Songs of Lear’ at the BAC reviewed by Valenka Navea

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In the wake of last week’s conference at the Rose Theatre Kingston on  Shakespeare Our Contemporary, Jan Kott’s mouldbreaking 1964 book which juxtaposed the Bard with Ionesco, Beckett and post-war political reality, comes Polish company Song of the Goat’s Songs of Lear. The show, we’re told, will bring ‘to life the subtle energies and rhythms…

Valenka Navea | 01/03/2015