joanna mother and child (2)

Jesse Kirkwood reviews Aneta Kopacz’s ‘Joanna’ at Open City Docs Fest


                ‘What is your world like? Are you satisfied in it? Are you safe in it? Are you happy?’ Thought-provoking questions, posed by Joanna to her son Janek, to the readers of her widely followed blog, and now to the viewers of this short Polish documentary directed by Aneta…

Jesse Kirkwood | 26/06/2014

Cath Day reviews David Schneider’s ‘Making Stalin Laugh’ at JW3.


David Schneider is probably most recognisable as BBC commissioning editor Tony Hayers in I’m Alan Partridge, cruelly denying Alan Partridge his second series and being invited, somewhat rudely, to smell Partridge’s cheese. Although most famous for his comedy writing and performing, Schneider is also a playwright. Making Stalin Laugh is his second play and was…

Robin Ashenden | 25/06/2014
little crushes

Jesse Kirkwood reviews ‘Little Crushes’ at the East End Film Festival


Early in Little Crushes (Małe Stłuczki, 2014), the latest offering from filmmaking duo Aleksandra Gowin and Ireneusz Grzyb, an old man accidentally steps on and breaks a tiny trinket in his home. We see a wave of recognition and pain cross his face, and then the camera frames, in close-up, the reactions of the other characters…

Jesse Kirkwood | 25/06/2014

Sam Turner reviews ‘The Agreement’ (Karen Stokkendal Poulsen, 2014) at Frontline Club


The Agreement is a unique and engaging documentary in which Danish director Karen Stokkendal Poulsen provides rare insight into the fascinating world of diplomatic negotiations. It follows the recent talks between Kosovo and Serbia to reach a viable agreement over disputed territory, something on which Serbia’s access to EU membership depends. The 60-minute narrative charts the talks in Brussels from beginning…

Sam Turner | 24/06/2014

Sergei Dovlatov’s ‘Pushkin Hills’ reviewed by David Rothenberg

“Dovlatov?  You’ve never heard of him?!  But he was published in The New Yorker!” So a Siberian scientist explained to me at a café in Tartu four years ago.  No I had not heard of Sergei Dovlatov.  I thought I knew all the Russian emigré writers who made it to the big time in the USA,…

David Rothenberg | 21/06/2014
limbo compressed

Jonathan Karstadt interviews Czech Jazz Group ‘Limbo’

One thing certain about Limbo is that the Czech band’s name is totally apt. Straddling the border between musical forms and inspirations, the group defies easy classification in terms of musical genre. “None of our music is written down,” explains bassist Taras Vološčuk, “It’s improvised music; at first we wanted to play more free jazz,…

Robin Ashenden | 21/06/2014
Kapka Kassabova

Ian Mole reviews Kapka Kassabova’s ‘Street Without a Name’


This very enjoyable and informative book was among the first I ever read about Bulgaria. I knew one of the Wombles was called Uncle Bulgaria and a few other facts about the country too.  There was also a great deal that I didn’t know so I now feel that Bulgaria has been opened up to…

Ian Mole | 20/06/2014

Jonathan Karstadt reviews Matthew Webb’s ‘Carbon Journey’ exhibition at Pushkin House

The former territory of the Soviet Union is blessed with a wealth of natural resources: Russia alone boasts over 850 million hectares of forest, the world’s largest reserves of natural gas and the second largest reserve of fresh water. However, there has been little effort in the region to preserve this abundance of natural heritage.…

Jonathan Karstadt | 16/06/2014
Claudia Campagnol

Jonathan Karstadt interviews Hungarian jazz singer Claudia Campagnol

I am at the very chic 606 Club in Chelsea, where jazz singer Claudia Campagnol is due to perform as part of the club’s Musician XChange programme, whose aim is to expose top class acts from around the world to a British jazz audience. Originally from Hungary, Campagnol moved to Sweden with her family when…

Jonathan Karstadt | 13/06/2014