Daniele Abbado explores themes of identity, exile and religion in a powerful staging of Verdi’s epic opera. War has broken out between the Babylonians and Israelites. The Israelites have captured Fenena, younger daughter of the Babylonian King, Nabucco. In revenge, Nabucco vows to destroy Jerusalem, aided by the vengeful Abigaille.
“Domingo’s career, 42 years at Covent Garden and counting, continues to be a wonder of the age.” The Guardian
A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.
Kasper Holten, ROH Director of Opera, presents a mesmerizing new production of Mozart’s sublime tragicomedy. The impulsive and charismatic Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When he commits murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.
Puccini’s first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 20 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent. The exciting Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais sings the title role. A consummate Puccini soprano, Opolais caused a sensation as Madama Butterfly in 2011, and with Manon Lescaut, the bold but impressionable heroine, we will see a very different side of her. She is matched in star power by Jonas Kaufmann as her lover, Des Grieux, and Christopher Maltman as her cynical brother Lescaut. Kent’s vision of a young girl who faces temptation in the big city will surely resonate with today’s audience.
Populated by gorgeous misfits and propelled by effervescent pop songs, this jubilant indie musical from Belle & Sebastian lynchpin Stuart Murdoch depicts a critical juncture for three young Glaswegians when it seems they’ve no other option than starting a band. Affectionate nods to the French New Wave, A Hard Day’s Night and Bill Forsyth’s Scottish fables abound as Murdoch offers us a minor key fairy tale about how music may just salvage an otherwise dreary Glasgow summer.
"Murdoch spins poetic, kitchen-sink tales of bad sex and messy break-ups and hopeless romantics in search of true love. On God Help the Girl, his directing debut, he has fashioned his songs into a narrative daisy-chain and hung them around his heroine’s neck. That it’s pretty and fragile is surely half the point… It’s warm and generous… Even non-believers will acknowledge the film’s utter sincerity. It may be indulgent, but it means what it says." Xan Brooks, Guardian
Told in fourteen fixed-angle, single shot, individual tableaus that parallel Christ’s journey to his own crucifixion,Stations ... is both an indictment of fundamentalist faith and the articulation of an impressionable teen’s struggle to find her own path in life. Though from the outside Maria lives in the modern world, her family and her heart are faithful to a Catholic radicalism that requires sacrifice and devotion at every turn.
"This brilliant and subtle comedy about teenage martyrdom argues that extremism has no place in the modern world." — David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"Passionate, generous, witty; Dietrich Bruggemann’s study of a fanatical Catholic family renews one’s faith in the power of slow art movies to change the world." — London Evening Standard
A girl’s best friend is her dog in this exuberantly odd political parable from Hungary. When a new law places onerous taxes on the owners of mutts, the streets of Budapest start to fill up with abandoned dogs - including Hagen, beloved pet of 13-year-old Lili. While the child defies her father and the odds to try to track down her dog, Hagen suffers a series of grueling adventures involving various ill-intentioned individuals. "Fierce and beautiful." — The New York Times
“A fierce and beautiful Hungarian parable about a girl, her dog, and the uprising that’s sparked after they are separated ... When the dogs break free and run through the streets in White God, demolishing barriers and biting the hands that have hit them, the movie takes a leap into bold political metaphor, offering up a memorable image of the great unwashed gone (literally) barking mad.” — Manhola Dargis, The New York Times
“White God confirms Mundruczó’s position as one of Europe’s most exciting, unpredictable and technically competent directors. In a world where so many filmmakers seem to rework the same material over and over, he is a true wild card — a filmmaker with ‘un certain regard’ if ever there was one.” — Nick Roddick, Sight & Sound
“Thrillingly strange ... tense, stunningly staged set-pieces recall the uncanny power of Hitchcock’s The Birds [...] A risky shift toward the poetically aberrant that would not work if Mundruczo’s storytelling weren’t so rousing and emotionally purposeful — not to mention morally challenging, as man and dog are accorded equally flawed, vengeful psychologies in the film’s universe.” — Guy Lodge, Variety
Italy, Canada, France
The charismatic Giuseppe Marinoni has been making some of the most desirable bicycle frames in Canada for decades. A competitive cyclist in Italy in his youth, he decides, at age 75, to attempt a World Record for distance cycled in one hour for his age group. Giuseppe’s determination and perseverance lead him back to his native Italy for his training and, ultimately, his attempt at the record. This is a film not only for the spandex-and-helmet crowd but for anyone who believes that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.
Considered as one of the greatest American films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest swept the top five major Academy Awards of its year. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey and set in a mental institution, it deals with a very 1970s issue: the struggle of the individual against the establishment. In two towering performances the battle of the wills is fought by minor criminal Murphy (Jack Nicholson) and domineering Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), the cold and efficient matron of McMurphy’s ward. Introduced by actress and singer Colleen Rennison.
Return of the River vividly portrays the epic story of the freeing of Olympic National Park’s mighty Elwha River from two salmon-blocking dams. It is a story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It is a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that could transform the world for the better.
The Elwha Klallam people, scientists, fishermen, politicians, enviros, and townsfolk all add their voices to a film that is visually dazzling, lyrically evocative, and fluid as mountain snowmelt.”
— Tim McNulty, poet, essayist, nature writer
“There’s no way to escape the image on the screen, nor deny its truth. We blew it at Altamont; Gimme Shelter lets us watch ourselves blowing it, and makes us understand how and why. It’s a lot harder than it looks to make a film as good as this one.” — Rolling Stone, 1970
One of the strangest and most twisted films of the silent era. Cheated and cuckolded, a brilliant scientist (played by Lon Chaney, "the man of a thousand faces") takes refuge behind the make up of a circus clown, where his shame can at least inspire laughter in others. He becomes famous, but his hapless love for a bareback rider sends the movie spinning towards revenge tragedy. This first feature produced by the famous studio MGM, He Who Gets Slapped blends naturalism and expressionism with high melodrama - all accentuated in the Alloy Orchestra’s extraordinary live score.
“A picture which defies one to write about it without indulging in superlatives … so beautifully told, so flawlessly directed that we imagine it will be held up as a model by all producers.” NY Times, 1924
Not just a celebration of the New York Review of Books (though it is certainly that), Martin Scorsese and David Tedescho’s documentary chronicles many of the historical, political and cultural landmarks of the past half century, through the prism of that august publication’s intellectual insight and rigour. Along the way, they interview (or unearth archival footage of) some of the finest minds of the period, including Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Jay Gould, Andrei Sakharov, Vaclev Havel, Oliver Sacks and James Baldwin. As you might expect, the film sparkles with wit and wisdom, erudition and elucidation.
"A bracing film about the value of radical ideas and the importance of being courageous enough to consider them." — Norman Wilner, Now
Inspired by the true story of a Japanese office worker who travelled from Tokyo to wintery North Dakota to dig up the loot buried by Steve Buscemi at the end of Fargo, this piquant gem is a funny but poignant portrait of madness and obsession. It also opens up an intriguing dialogue between the Zellner Brothers’ brand of humane comedy and the Coens’ quirky original.
"Inspirational and devastating." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Wrenched reveals how author Edward Abbey’s anarchistic spirit and riotous novels influenced the nascent environmental movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. Through interviews, archival footage and re-enactments, director ML Lincoln captures the outrage of Abbey’s friends who were the original eco-warriors. With tree-spiking, forest occupation and high-profile publicity stunts such as the cracking at Glen Canyon Dam, this group became the eventual target of FBI infiltrators, leading to the arrest of various members.
In your lifetime, the history of photography has seen a seismic shift, the dramatic change from film to digital. Harvey Wang was mid-career when the tools of his craft were made nearly obsolete. He interviewed more than 20 photographers and prominent figures in the field, including Jerome Liebling, George Tice, David Goldblatt, Sally Mann, Eugene Richards, Ruud van Empel, John Cohen and Jeff Jacobson, as well as Steven Sasson, co-inventor of the digital camera, and Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop.
Through majestic cinematography, DamNation explores the history and controversy surrounding dam removal projects. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.
"Directors Ben Knight and Travis Rummel have made a fleet movie with a convincing argument for systemic dam removal (some of which is caught thrillingly on film) and arresting nature-drenched cinematography." — Robert Abele, LA Times
Simpsons scribe Rob Cohen distills the essence of Canada like sap from a maple in this lighthearted odyssey across our great nation. He gets a little help from the likes of Seth Rogen, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Rush, Michael J Fox, Cobie Smulders and William Shatner (to name just a few).