What have I been listening to and watching recently, you ask? Well, you might not have asked that, but I’m in the middle of about eight books at the moment, and haven’t finished any of them – so I have to write about something else for a moment or two.
This is a brilliant improvised podcast which looks at the UK after a referendum has narrowly decided that capital punishment should come back. It follows four members of the civil service who have to decide who the first person killed should be, and when – one of them is ardently pro-capital punishment, one is trying to destablise it from the inside, one is trying to prove her leadership skills, and the other is genially hapless. It’s hilarious. (NB you probably have to be anti-capital punishment and anti-Brexit to enjoy it – because yes, of course, it’s a thinly-veiled spoof of Brexit and Brexit negotiations.)
I saw this animated film at the new Curzon cinema in Oxford, which I love because it was legroom and seats that tilt back. Thankfully the film was also good – and astonishing. It is entirely made up of oil paintings – 65,000 of them, I think – mostly done in the style of Vincent van Gogh. It looks at his final days, as a distant friend tries to work out whether or not he was murdered. The story is a bit expositiony in places, but the spectacle of seeing the oil paintings form an animation is once-in-a-lifetime.
I love Lesley Manville so I wanted to see what earned her an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actress. Well, she was fab but didn’t have much to do in this beautiful, finely-acted, and supremely dull film about a dressmaker. I really wanted to love it. And in the right mood, I might have done. But I have never seen such a slow, slow, slow film.
First Monday in May
I just watched a documentary about the Met Gala and the creating of the exhibition it accompanied – which, in turn, brought together the costume department and the Asian department of the Met. It was great – beautiful pieces, some lovely people, and Anna Wintour being her Anna Wintourest. Higher on art and lower on gossip than I’d imagined.
Meet the Patels
Geeta Patel filmed this documentary following her brother Ravi as he tries to find a wife – mostly at the behest of his parents. The filming is amateurish (she is a director, not a cinematographer) but the film is wonderful. It shows the difficult blend of cultures for an Indian family that moves to America (and Ravi as a first-generation American), but mostly it shows a really loving, beautifully depicted family.