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‘The Burning Gadulka’ by Rayko Baychev, reviewed by Judith Fagelson


The gadulka’s role in a Bulgarian folk orchestra might be compared the viola’s in a Western classical orchestra. Like the viola, it has bowed strings. Like the viola, it supports the other instruments, providing a sort of musical backbone, but doesn’t quite work as a solo instrument. And, like violists, gadulka players find themselves the…

Judith Fagelson | March 10, 2016
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Dan Cruickshank: ‘Warsaw: Resurrecting History’ – reviewed by Olenka Hamilton

Dan Cruickshank is a writer, art historian, architectural consultant and broadcaster who’s made numerous history and culture programmes for the BBC including Around the World in Eighty Treasures;  Under Fire: Culture and Conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq; The Country House Revealed, and Warsaw: Resurrecting History. In London on February 16th, he descended on Ognisko Polskie’s…

Olenka Hamilton | February 21, 2016
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REMEMBERING BOSNIA: ‘Warriors’ (Kosminsky, 1999) reviewed by Jo Varney

Barely four years after the official end of the war in Bosnia, the BBC aired the two-part drama Warriors (1999), a fictionalised account of a British battalion sent to Bosnia from ’92-’93 (the height of the war there) under the auspices of UNPROFOR, the UN peacekeeping force. Written by Leigh Jackson and directed by Peter…

Jo Varney | December 23, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Trumpeter’ (Mateshko, 2014) reviewed by Valenka Navea


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 | December 21, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: Ukrainian Shorts, reviewed by Julia Secklehner

Velosiped, Away and Once upon a Mine are three short films produced in 2015, shown this month at London’s Ukrainian Film Festival. They vary in length between just over two minutes (Velosiped) and half an hour (Once upon a Mine). While of course a film’s duration doesn’t  tell us anything about its quality, it’s interesting…

Julia Secklehner | December 19, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Guide’ (Sanin, 2014) reviewed by Ollie Buxton


Ukraine’s past and present collide dramatically in Oles Sanin’s 2014 film The Guide (Povodyr’) where raw feelings of romantic nationalism stirred up by contemporary events bubble to the surface in the retelling of another dark period of the country’s history. In Sanin’s second feature-length production, today’s emotions are projected onto the 1930s, when  Moscow-imposed famine,…

Oliver Buxton | December 19, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Living Fire’ (Kostyuk, 2014) reviewed by Nick Barlay


The Living Fire is a documentary record of a dying light. In the highlands of the Carpathian Mountains, an entire way of life is fading, one that has sustained generations but whose extreme hardships are a deterrent to new generations. Ostap Kostyuk’s 2014 directorial debut, produced by the National Cinematheque of Ukraine and supported by…

Nick Barlay | December 6, 2015
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PLAY POLAND PREVIEW: ‘Call Me Marianna’ (Bielawska, 2015) reviewed by Lucy Murphy


Call Me Marianna is Karolina Bielawska’s  first Polish feature film: a documentary about a man’s decision to undergo gender reassignment. A hit at the Sao Jorge International Queer Film Festival, it previously won four awards on its premiere at the Krakow Film Festival too, and it’s easy to see why: with recent media coverage of…

Lucy Murphy | November 20, 2015