history

Iris

August 15, 2015
Iris Apfel in 'Iris' (2015). PHOTOGRAPH BY KARSTEN MORAN/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX

Iris Apfel is one human being who doesn’t want to be like everybody else. At the age of 93 she is the most stylish woman in New York. Yet it is an idea of style that has nothing to do with understated elegance, or even beauty, but is more like a full-blown assault on the … More


13 Minutes

July 25, 2015
Christian Friedel in '13 Minutes' (2015)

For a long time the Germans preferred not to dwell on the nasty facts of the Second World War, but nowadays they are emptying every skeleton out of the closet. In Berlin one may visit a museum called the Topography of Terror on the site of the old S.S. headquarters, while in Nuremberg there is … More


Testament of Youth

April 25, 2015
Alicia Vikander in 'Testament of Youth' (2014)

Lest we forget it’s Anzac Day here’s another movie about the First World War, albeit far from the shores of Gallipoli. Testament of Youth is based on the war-time memoirs of Vera Brittain (1893-1970), first published in 1933, 15 years after the end of hostilities. Having begun the project as a novel Brittain struggled with … More


Selma

February 14, 2015
David Oyelowo in 'Selma' (2014)

Selma would be a powerful film even without the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Arriving hard on the heels of that incident, this story of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement takes on a relevance that no member of the audience can ignore. It seems that the racialist attitudes that divided the United … More


Mr. Turner

January 12, 2015
Timothy Spall in 'Mr. Turner' (2014)

“Turner’s thoughts were much deeper than ordinary men can penetrate,” said his friend, George Jones, “and much deeper than he could at any time describe.” He might have been reviewing Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, which captures all the quirks and contradictions of Britain’s greatest artist. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), was a giant among landscape … More


Once My Mother

July 26, 2014
Once My Mother (2014)

Sophia Turkiewicz’s Once My Mother is the story of great resilience in the face of overwhelming odds – and I’m only talking about securing funding. Having been knocked back twice by the ABC and twice by SBS, Turkiewicz and her experienced producers, Rod Freedman and Bob Connolly, began passing the hat around Polish community groups … More


Beatriz’s War

July 19, 2014
Irim Tolentino as Beatriz in 'A Guerra da Beatriz' (2013)

Having finally managed to see Beatriz’s War, I almost wish I hadn’t. This first-ever feature from Timor-Leste is a rite of passage; a catharsis for the wrongs endured during the Indonesian occupation. One suspects it will be a long time before the East Timorese are producing comedies and musicals. There’s too much pain and trauma … More


Ida

May 24, 2014
Agata Trzebuchowska in 'Ida' (2013)

Pawel Pawlikowski left Poland in 1971 at the age of 14, and settled with his family in England. In a peripatetic career as a filmmaker he completed a series of offbeat documentaries before making an acclaimed “quintessentially English” drama, My Summer of Love, in 2004. With Ida not only has he returned to his Polish … More


Afghanistan

April 26, 2014
Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul Ribbed bowl

“After Akcha,” wrote Robert Byron, in his legendary travel book, The Road to Oxiana (1937) “the colour of the landscape changed from lead to aluminium, pallid and deathly, as if the sun had been sucking away at its gaiety for thousands and thousands of years; for this was now the plain of Balkh, and Balkh … More


Dallas Buyers Club

February 22, 2014
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in 'Dallas Buyers Club' 2013

It was startling enough to see Christian Bale porking up to play a middle-aged conman in American Hustle, but this seems like a piece of cake – or perhaps lots of cake and donuts – alongside Matthew McConaughey’s drastic transformation for Dallas Buyers Club. Anyone can pile on the kilos but it takes extraordinary discipline … More