Peter Hoskin

Weekend Culture

Weekend Culture
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The Spectator’s Stephen Pollard has already blogged about this weekend’s big cultural draw – the Sunday performance of La traviata at the Royal Opera House.  Although, if you haven’t yet bought tickets for this “once in a generation” treat, then you’ll have difficulty in getting to see it – all performances are sold out.

Far more attainable are tickets for this week’s best, new general release film: the Coen Brother’s No Country for Old Men.  This gritty, Texas-set thriller merges the violence and hopelessness of classic films noir with the Coen’s own offbeat sensibility, and it’s certainly their most accomplished work to date.  Check out Peter Bradshaw’s review in the Guardian (which mirrors my opinion) or Jonathan Rosenbaum’s piece for the Chicago Reader (diametrically opposed to Bradshaw’s review, but a far more interesting piece of criticism).

Those able to get to the BFI Southbank will be rewarded by a screening of Nicholas Philibert’s documentary Back to Normandy and a conversation with the director himself.  With Back to Normandy, Philibert resumes the gentle approach to documentary-filmmaking that he showcased in Être et avoir; placidly meditating on the lives of some Normandy village-folk who participated with him in the making of a 1976 feature film.

On television, the Politics Show’s interview with David Miliband (BBC 1, Sun 20th Jan, 12:00) stands out, especially with the Commons debate on the European Reform treaty starting next week.  And later on Sunday there’s the underrated, le Carré-esque thriller The Whistle Blower (BBC 2, Sun 20th Jan, 23:10), starring Michael Caine as a businessman investigating the death of his GCHQ-operative son. 

Finally, I suppose that Ken Campbell’s 50-hour, improvisatory play at the People Show Studios deserves some kind of mention…