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INTERVIEW: CEEL Contributor Agne Dovydaidyte on her forthcoming documentary about Lithuanian rural life

Lithuanian villages, as in most of Eastern Europe, are now in semi-terminal decline. Once lively places known for their traditions and values, they are increasingly deserted. Schools are closing down, and once-thriving churches becoming monuments to the past. So when CEEL contributor Agne Dovydaityte found her grandfather’s diary, detailing daily life in one such settlement…

Borimir Totev | September 12, 2017
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OPEN CITY DOCS PREVIEW: Vitaly Mansky’s ‘Private Chronicles: Monologue’ and ‘Gagarin’s Pioneers’: a human face on the Soviet (and post-Soviet) experiment

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One of the highlights of this year’s Open City Docs festival is a quartet of documentaries by an almost unknown (in the UK) 53 year-old Ukrainian Jewish film-maker, Vitaly Mansky who, since his debut in 1989, has now completed over 30 films, and been nominated four times for the prestigious Nika award. His fidelity to…

Robin Ashenden | September 7, 2017
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Interview with Alec Secareanu – leading actor in Francis Lee’s groundbreaking Anglo-Romanian LGBT drama

Alec Secareanu plays Gheorghe Ionescu in God’s Own Country, the award-winning debut feature film by writer/director Francis Lee, which tells the story of a young Yorkshire farmer who finds himself caught up in a love story with a Romanian farm worker. A powerful film, bracingly different from mainstream LGBT cinema, it’s also unwittingly reflective of…

Borimir Totev | September 1, 2017
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PREVIEW: OPEN CITY DOCS: CEE Titles Featured (6-10 September)

August 28, 2017 PRIVATE CHRONICLES. MONOLOGUE. VITALY MANSKY / 1999 / RUSSIA / 95′ WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 – 20:30 Exploring the collective life of the generation born as Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, Mansky worked with over 5,000 hours of home movies to create this unique chronicle of everyday life in the…

Robin Ashenden | August 28, 2017
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REVIEW: Xameleon Theatre – Chekhov’s vision of ‘Love in a Nutshell’

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Xameleon Theatre treat London audiences to a new insight into the life and works of Chekhov in their innovative production Love in a Nutshell at the  Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone. Performed in Russian with English subtitles, the production adapts nine of the playwright’s short stories on the theme of love and marriage, linked by a commentary from…

Margaret Drummond | June 22, 2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: Marin Sorescu’s ‘Jonah’ – ‘great, imaginative literature matched with great theatrical effort’

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Marin Sorescu’s Jonah was originally published in 1968 and is considered the playwright’s masterpiece. It’s the famous monologue of the Old Testament fisherman, who endures his dark night of the soul trapped inside a whale. ‘Jonah! Jonah!’, he cries out, first arriving on stage. ‘Actually I myself am Jonah’, he confides to us. ‘I call…

Andreea Scridon | May 21, 2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: ‘Ashes Afar’ – Andrea Bortun’s corruscatingly intense anatomy of migration

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What do we mean by ‘home’? This is the central question posed by Romanian playwright Andreaa Bortun in her play Ashes Afar, recently performed in English at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London’s Belgrave Square. Bortun’s raw and uncompromising script shows us glimpses of the lives of  a migrant couple from two different cultures living…

Margaret Drummond | April 17, 2017
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KINOTEKA REVIEW: Polish Animation Classics – an existentialist feast

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Scene One: A crowd gets eaten by the roasted chickens and crabs on the banquet table. Scene Two: As a train moves, all that an onscreen silhouette of a man sees is a repetitive countryside landscape saturated with an intense green colour. Yet as soon as the man gets into the city, the landscape becomes…

Paula Erizanu | April 15, 2017
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PREVIEW: The Image Speaks: Miloš Forman and the Free Cinema Movement

‘The importance of ordinary people, the everyday, belief in artistic freedom and the rejection of established cinematic norms are some of the principles common to the early work of Czech director Milos Forman and the British Free Cinema movement. This programme, jointly curated with Close-Up and screening from original 16mm and 35mm prints, marks Miloš…

Robin Ashenden | April 9, 2017