Arts interviews

Meet Tarantino’s favourites

By Brigit Grant, May 5, 2014

Having given Big Bad Wolves a well merited five star review when it was released here last December, the opportunity to interview the film’s Israeli directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado was too good to miss. But first I had to find them.

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Eurovision memories inspire film hit from Israel

By Simon Round, April 29, 2014

Eytan Fox is one of Israel’s best-known and most critically acclaimed filmmakers with a body of work which has addressed social, political and, particularly, gay issues. So which element of Israeli society gets the treatment in his new movie? Actually none of them. Fox has gone out on a limb to make the funny, affectionate Cupcakes, about the Eurovision Song Contest.

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Director is happy to be all at sea with stellar cast

By Simon Round, April 28, 2014

Directing your debut feature film is always a major achievement. But this having come relatively late in his life, Stephen Brown is probably enjoying it more than most. The fiftysomething is relishing the round of premieres, festivals and award nominations that have followed his assembling of a remarkable cast for an adaptation of John Banville’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sea.

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Meet the 85-year-old getting animated about his TV debut

By Simon Round, April 25, 2014

Bill Freedman really cannot see what all the fuss is about. He is, after all, a distinguished theatrical producer, a cinema boss and a former owner of West End theatres. He has staged productions in the West End, on Broadway and in plenty of other countries around the world. So why would anyone be surprised that he is now producing his first television series on national TV?

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Liad Shoham: The polite lawyer who enjoys his thrilling alter ego

By Jenni Frazer, April 25, 2014

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I am rather hoping that Liad Shoham is an international spy with a murderous CV to draw upon as he writes his best-selling thrillers. But unless Shoham is a very good actor — and it’s hard to tell on the phone — I am stuck with the conclusion that he is what says he is, a self-confessed geek.

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A life in pictures with the background fully explained

By Charlotte Oliver, April 24, 2014

Photographer Gemma Levine has a word for getting what she wants — chutzpah. For 40 years she has applied that chutzpah to gain unprecedented access to some of the world’s most famous faces, resulting in some memorable encounters and iconic images.

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Jon Robin Baitz: Playwright’s split personality does not disguise singular vision

By John Nathan, March 24, 2014

The harshest critic of Jon Robin Baitz — author of the Pulitzer-nominated Broadway hit Other Desert Cities, which is about to make its UK debut at the Old Vic — is a bespectacled mild-mannered American I encounter sipping an Americano in a posh London hotel. “I dislike him intensely,” he says. But to clarify, Baitz and his critic are the same person.

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He’s turned the screen Scarlett after a long and alien journey

By Simon Round, March 13, 2014

Jonathan Glazer is not a man in a hurry. It has been 10 years since his last movie, Birth — a discomfiting love story between Nicole Kidman and a child claiming to be her reincarnated husband. Now, finally, he has a new film. Like its predecessor, Under the Skin is dividing audiences.

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Norman Lebrecht: Musical history is a voyage of discovery

By Jenni Frazer, March 6, 2014

The BBC gave me one piece of advice,” reveals writer and broadcaster Norman Lebrecht, laughing. “They said: ‘We aren’t going to do this again for a generation. So make it comprehensive.’” For the next three Sundays on Radio 3, Lebrecht is fronting a series on Music and the Jews.

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Jay Rayner has even more on his plate as he tunes up for JW3 jazz gig

By Simon Round, March 6, 2014

In every series of Masterchef comes the day when the nervous amateur contestants are told that they are to cook for restaurant reviewers. A regular in this slot is is Jay Rayner, the Observer’s critic. He and his fellow critics walk in, steely eyed, to pronounce on the efforts of the contestants. Sometimes they are encouraging and occasionally scathing of the food which is presented to them.

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