James Woodall

Année érotique

By 1930, Pablo Picasso, nearing 50, was as rich as Croesus. He was the occupant of a flat and studio in rue La Boétie, in the ritzy 8th arrondissement, owner of a country mansion in the north-west, towards Normandy, and was chauffeured around in an adored Hispano-Suiza. He stored the thousands of French francs from

1976 and all that

Forty years ago, I spent 14 hours in a large field near the A1 in Hertfordshire. I had just taken my O-levels, liked Be-Bop Deluxe, Genesis and Rachmaninov, and often danced my head off to The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. I was confused about girls and worried that I’d chosen one wrong A-level (Ancient

Spellbound | 2 June 2016

Isabelle Huppert does nothing by halves. And she doesn’t, I think, care greatly for journalists. She expects them to ask stupid questions. Sitting before me in an airless room in the eaves of Paris’s Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, she is tiny, dressed entirely in black and more or less unsmiling. Lily-skinned, red-haired, and with a fabulous

All the world’s a stage | 21 April 2016

In this much-heralded Shakespeare anniversary year, one might expect a certain respect for the works to prevail. In Holland it’s different. Under the tutelage of a Belgian, Ivo van Hove, a huge slice of Shakespeare’s history theatre has been filleted for the stage into something that might sit nicely on HBO alongside Game of Thrones.

Brothers grim

One of the more obscure winners in recent years of the Berlin film festival’s Golden Bear was a version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by the esteemed Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio. The film, called Caesar Must Die, consisted of prisoners staging the Roman drama in their own high-security jail in Italy. The most dedicated Shakespearean

Starr quality

‘He was the most influential Beatle,’ Yoko Ono recently claimed. When Paul and John first spotted him out in Hamburg, in his suit and beard, sitting ‘drinking bourbon and seven’, they were amazed. ‘This was, like, a grown-up musician,’ thought Paul. One night Ringo sat in for their drummer Pete Best. ‘I remember the moment,’