Salomé plus Q+A Broadcast (15)

(Originally written for Latitude Lookout)

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Director: Al Pacino

21st September, 2014

Every piece of promotion, including the introduction at the beginning of the screening credited the movie as “based on the most controversial Oscar Wilde play.”

The film at the centre of Pacino’s 2011 docu-drama Wilde Salomé is now released as its own entity in the UK. As stated and executed during the documentary, Pacino’s vision was to stage a production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé using the original text as written and make a cinematic.

The experimental style Pacino chose to present the play is well executed. By melding the intimate experience of going to the theatre and bringing it to the big screen is well done. By playing with the form, Pacino leaves no audience member behind allowing literary lovers and art film fanatics alike entertained.

Jessica Chastain’s performance is captivating, how she flits from innocence to arrogance and menacing, as the titular character, expertly is to be admired as this was her first film as a professional actor.

Although a small part of the film, Pacino’s accent work is nothing to write home about. When asked in the documentary where it comes from he answers, “I don’t know.”  It is jarring and took many audience members out of the engrossing rhythm of the dialogue. He is the weakest part of this production.

As for the Q+A, Stephen Fry felt like the wrong person to host this as he mostly dominated the conversation. Hi enthusiasm for the material was great, however his excitement overpowered the important aspect of Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain discusses this passion piece and thus made it not worth staying, nor the extra price on the ticket.

Overall, this movies is a dense and intense experience, the passion for the content is clear and makes a great ode to Oscar Wilde and is worth seeing for Wilde fans.

7/10

Blair Dunlop, Cecil Sharp House, London: 31st May 2014

(Originally published for Latitude Lookout)

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After winning the Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Blair Dunlop’s current tour is in support of the recently released House of Jacks. House of Jacks is Blair Dunlop’s sophomore album and the follow up to his critically acclaimed Bright and Blossom. Dunlop returned to a chilled, multi-generational audience at the historic folk venue Cecil Sharp House hidden down the back streets of Camden Town.

In black skinny jeans and a denim jacket, Dunlop looked comfortable centre stage surrounded by his backing band. The spotlight encompassed the stage showing the audience that although this is Blair Dunlop show, the band is just as important.

Dunlop mostly played tracks from the new record including the thumping ‘Something’s Gonna Give Way’ and titular track ‘House of Jacks’, changing the sequence to include songs from his debut. The set was mostly played with a band with an acoustic interlude including a cover of his father, Ashley Hutchings’ ‘Song of Two Bridges’ and even an instrumental interlude of Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan’s ‘Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór’.

The mesmerised audience called Dunlop back for two encores including a guitar only cover of John Meyer’s ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ with opening act, smoky-voiced, Luke Jackson. The two crooned over skilled, silky riffs and melodies as though they have been playing together for years.

Blair Dunlop’s music is timeless, his live performance only strengthens the recorded material meanwhile showcasing his cool voice and strong guitar chops

4/5