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BOOK REVIEW: Varujan Vosganian’s ‘The Book of Whispers’ (Yale University Press, 2017) – ‘this book will one day have its place among the ranks of the classics’

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Varujan Vosganian is an Armenian-Romanian poet, essayist, and politician. His The Book of Whispers, or Cartea şoaptelor, sold in over 60,000 copies in Romanian, was originally published in 2009. In 2017, Yale University Press published the book in Alistair Ian Blyth’s lauded translation: it was longlisted for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize. The Armenian genocide…

Andreea Scridon | 21/07/2018
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Exhibition Review: Vladimír Kokolia’s ‘Epiphany’ (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham) – ‘a guaranteed conversion’

‘I only paint what I see’, says Vladimír Kokolia, one of the Czech Republic’s most established contemporary artists. For most, seeing the ordinary and the everyday’s an act of involuntary dismissal. For Kokolia, seeing the everyday’s wonderment. His first UK exhibition, Epiphany, hosted by the Ikon gallery in Birmingham, is a precious lesson in looking and seeing.…

Camelia Ciobanu | 18/07/2018
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‘Youth on the March’ KinoKlassika Review: ‘Assa’ (Solovev, 1987) – ‘a fight to the death between young and old, corrupt and innocent’

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Assa starts with a bang: a sequence of spellbinding opening credits in lurid pink playing over footage of two drummers, skinny youths in tatty clothes and dirty blond hair. It ends with a bang, too. Viktor Tsoi, legendary frontman of Russian rock band Kino, strides onto the screen to sing his famous anthem ‘Peremen!’ –…

Eva Rosenthal | 22/06/2018
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Review: ‘Visual representations of Roma people: moving beyond stereotypes’ – Exhibition workshop at the Balassi Institute

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In her welcome to the event, Eszter Pataki, Director of the Hungarian Culture Centre and a former journalist, pronounced that ‘the Roma community is part of the shared culture in Hungary’, yet ‘many stereotypical images exist in the media even in the UK.’  The phrase ‘of Eastern European appearance’ always appears in a negative context.…

Alison Miller | 21/06/2018
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Book Review: Augustin Buzura’s ‘Report on the State of Loneliness’ (Profusion Publishers, 2016) – ‘surprisingly teasing and leaving us wanting to hear more’

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For one part of the novel, Augustin Buzura’s Report on the State of Loneliness is exactly what the title describes: an old man sits in a remote mountain hut, pondering about death and a long life, which is reaching its end. Throughout his lamentations, we sense the despair of an aged intellectual coming to terms…

Julia Secklehner | 13/06/2018
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BOOK REVIEW: Mircea Eliade ‘Gaudeamus’ (Istros Books, 2018) – ‘an imperfect but enjoyable, atmospheric book’

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Mircea Eliade’s Gaudeamus, written in 1928, is loosely a sequel to the successful Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent, whose title speaks sufficiently for itself. The story’s continuation’s also a journal presented as a novel, this time a constellation of moral struggles and desires during the protagonist’s three university years as a philosophy student in interwar…

Andreea Scridon | 02/06/2018
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Event Review: Ukrainian 1930s avant-garde taking the stage in London – meet the team behind ‘Maklena’ and become part of the story!

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Armed secret police were everywhere during the dress rehearsal for Maklena Grasa – in the dressing rooms with the actors, in the wings and members of the notorious Cheka were crammed into every seat of the theatre. Written by Mykola Kulish in 1933, Maklena Grasa was seen as a deviation of Soviet Ukrainian culture by the Soviet…

Alison Miller | 25/05/2018
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‘Youth on the March!’ Kino Klassika REVIEW: ‘We’ll live ‘til Monday’ (Rostotsky, 1968)

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In Stanislav Rostotsky’s 1968 film We’ll live ‘til Monday, screened last week at the Regent Street Cinema as part of Kino Klassika’s ‘Youth on the March!’ film season, three schoolteachers play out hopes and regrets in midst of an atmosphere of youthful rebellion. English teacher Natasha’s young and idealistic, and deeply in love with her…

Eva Rosenthal | 15/05/2018