Similar to the hype surrounding the release last year of Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood romcom to feature an all-Asian cast, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, made for a far more modest $3m, has also generated a great wave of goodwill since its premiere at Sundance in January. The Farewell is a welcome addition to a new canon that depicts the contemporary Asian-American experience. As a mixed-race woman who was not born or raised in her parents’ home country/culture, I found the depiction of the complex east-west family dynamics highly resonant, particularly around the themes of belonging and not belonging. I also shed quite a few tears in the process. The Farewell reaches cinemas as the US-China trade war continues to send shockwaves through the global economy; it is far more political than I could have imagined. Starring Crazy Rich Asians alum Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who discovers her grandmother, or nai nai in Mandarin, has terminal lung cancer and … [Read more...] about Is The Farewell the olive branch the US-China culture war needs?
Traditions japanese culture
Winning tip: architectural gems, Hakodate This summer I visited Hakodate, on the southernmost point of Hokkaido. On steep hills overlooking the harbour is the area where the outside world set up trading and diplomatic missions following the end of policy of isolation in the mid-19th century. You find colonial-style European architecture mixed with Japanese features such as sliding doors, painted scrolls and pine tree bonsai. There is even the sound of church bells from a Russian orthodox church. These buildings feel unique, not just within Japan but the world. You can go inside many of them to learn more: we visited the former British consulate for just over £2, to see historical exhibits, preserved rooms and a well-kept rose garden. Will The Lion Café, Tokyo The Japanese reverence for high-quality recorded music finds an outlet in classical music listening cafes. One of the oldest is Meikyoku Kissa Lion, the Lion Cafe, opened in 1926. It is in the sleaziest part of Shibuya, … [Read more...] about Cultural highlights of Japan: readers’ travel tips
Radio 3 is launching a new weekly programme dedicated to video game soundtracks. Running from Saturday 26 October, the hour-long show will be presented by composer Jessica Curry, who won a Bafta for her work with UK studio The Chinese Room and created and presented Classic FM’s video game music programme, High Score. “[BBC presenter and journalist] Tom Service and his producer Brian Jackson came to interview me for Radio 3 at Chinese Room a couple of years ago, and we all really hit it off,” said Curry. “Tom’s an avid gamer and there was a definite feeling of excitement about the gaming scene and the music that’s being composed for games. “Lots of people think that it’s all battle music and aggression. The show will prove that that couldn’t be further from the truth.” Video game music has undergone a boom in interest and appreciation in the past five years, as the art form has grown and matured. The Distant Worlds concert, … [Read more...] about ‘It’s a new golden age’: Radio 3 launches video game music show
Whatever happened to the “war on terror”? Chris Morris’s intriguing if slight satirical movie, co-written with Jesse Armstrong, imagines the troubled world occupied by those battalions of American bureaucrats, intelligence officers and law-enforcement ninjas, all revved up during the Bush/Obama years to defend the nation against the terrorists of the Middle East and then ideologically orphaned overnight by the wacky new dispensation of Trump – and its preoccupation with Mexico or China or Turkey, or wherever the tweeting finger points next. The film imagines this entire class of people as like the generals perennially fighting the war before the one they’re supposed to be fighting, or like the mythical Japanese soldier in the jungle who doesn’t know the conflict is over. The Day Shall Come sees this group of embittered and disoriented professionals, still doggedly focusing on the threat from Islamic State and Al-Qaida, and surreally trying everything … [Read more...] about The Day Shall Come review – Desperate Feds take on cult in sly Chris Morris satire
Beyond brutalism Modernist architecture is still a big focus for artists – as long as its Eurocentric and male-dominated history can be rewritten while its buildings are celebrated. Frieze Live is one of the fair’s main curated sections, and this year it features British artist Shezad Dawood’s performance piece. Dawood’s work draws on the work of Bangladeshi modernist architect Muzharul Islam, who combined the lessons of western modernism with a Bengali architectural language. It will also feature dancers (wearing costumes by up-and-coming designer Priya Ahluwalia) weaving through a backdrop of fabric hangings, and will be soundtracked by music from electronica act Patten, inspired by Indian poet, musician and Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, and jazz musician Alice Coltrane. Brutalism is also presented in the wider fair in Seher Shah and Randhir Singh’s collaborative project Studies in Form for Green Art Gallery’s booth, which shows buildings … [Read more...] about What to look for at Frieze London