Archive for the ‘Cultural issues’ Category


A review of the new bio-pic “Harriet”

November 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Araminta “Minty” Ross was born a slave in the American state of Maryland probably in 1822 but, when she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, she took the ‘free name’ of Harriet Tubman. As if her own escape was not remarkable enough, she subsequently made some 13 missions back south to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, […]

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A review of the British stage production of “My Brilliant Friend”

November 28th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Three years ago, it took me almost three months, but I completed my summer/autumn reading project: to read the four works and 1700 pages that make up the ‘Neapolitan Novels’, an acclaimed series by the Italian author Elena Ferrante. This is a saga of the 60-year friendship between two girls from a poor neighbourhood of Naples […]

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A review of “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

November 26th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

“The Handmaid’s Tale” was published in 1985 and the sequel “The Testaments” came out a full 34 years later in 2019 when it was that year’s joint winner of the Booker Prize. I reread the original novel before I went on immediately to read the sequel – such a wonderful pair of well-written and cleverly-constructed […]

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A review of the new blockbuster movie “Midway”

November 17th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

While “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970) and “Pearl Harbor” (2001) both portrayed the Japanese attack on the Americans in December 1941, “Midway” is an account of the American defeat of the Japanese in the battle of June 1942. Like “Tora!”, this new movie includes the Japanese point of view with use of Japanese dialogue and sub-titles. […]

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Five things to know about the artist Bridget Riley

November 11th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This weekend, I went to the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank to see an excellent exhibition of the British artist Bridget Riley. The gallery’s web site has a short article highlighting five facts about Riley: Her abstract paintings explore perception and the way in which we see. Much of her work is inspired by […]

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A review of the latest Ken Loach film “Sorry We Missed You”

November 10th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Nobody produces screen work like British television and film director Ken Loach. Now in his 80s, ever since the 1960s – with “Cathy Come Home” and “Poor Cow” – through to “I, Daniel Blake”, he has created a series of trenchant pieces of social commentary that dissect the causes of the darkness faced by so […]

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Enjoying the different versions of “His Dark Materials”

November 4th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

It’s great that at the weekend BBC One began broadcasting an eight-part television adaptation of the first novel in the brilliant “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman. I really admired the books: “Northern Lights” – my review here ‘The Subtle Knife” -my review here “The Amber Spyglass” – my review here The first novel was turned into a […]

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A review of the Depression-era musical “Gold Diggers Of 1933”

November 2nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

The gold diggers of the title are New York chorus girls struggling to eat and pay the rent during the Great Depression who are not above seducing older men with more money than sense. If this seems an unlikely theme for a romantic musical, it managed to raise the spirits of its contemporary audience and […]

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A review of the important new film “Official Secrets”

October 29th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In 2003, 28 year old China-watcher Katherine Gun worked for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) when she came across evidence that the British and the Americans were covertly monitoring members of the UN Security Council in an effort to obtain leverage on countries that might be persuaded to support a crucial second vote authorising the invasion […]

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A review of “Terminator: Dark Fate”

October 28th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I thought the first two “Terminator” movies (1984 & 1991) were terrific and the third (2003) and fourth (2009) were entertaining enough, but the fifth (2015) was disappointing and I felt that we’d seen the end of the franchise. However, it seems that – even after 35 years – you just can’t keep those killers […]

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