Friday, 22 March 2013

Seen and heard: February 2013

Dancing on the Edge - BBC TV drama series by Stephen Poliakoff and starring the very good Chiwetel Ejiofor as the leader of a (black) 1930s jazz band. Compelling television, driven by excellent characters, vivid (and frequently sumptuous) settings, great music, and a continual sense of insecurity, of things being not quite what they seem, of menace lurking just beneath the surface glamour of success.
CloudAtlas - film of David Mitchell's high concept novel of nested stories, running from the 19th century pacific ocean to the post-apocalyptic future. The exposition and middle section work beautifully, with the inter-cutting of stories heightening the pace and enhancing the connections, but the endings don't work so well: there isn't the same sense of one interrupted story after another being resolved and wound up. And the changed optimistic ending of the far-future story is a cop-out. (But visually stunning, though; see the videos on the movie website.)
Irvin Yalom, Love's Executioner - a psychotherapist's collection of case stories, beloved by other therapists on account of his openness about his own mistakes and short-comings.
The Sound and the Fury- BBC TV / OU documentary series on music in the twentieth century. Funny how everyone's queuing up now to diss serialism! (No argument from me.)

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