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Iron Lady, golden age: Jan Dalley on Thatcher’s legacy

Artists responded vigorously to the confrontational politics of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership – but the vivid creativity of the time had its roots in an earlier era, argues the FT’s arts editor  


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You had to be there: Jan Dalley on art and presence

As performance artist Marina Abramovic showed, the paradox of our digital age is our hunger for personal presence, says the FT's arts editor  


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Give and take: Jan Dalley on paying for culture

Even at a time of economic hardship, crowd-funding schemes could be a money-spinner for the arts because of the way they play on human psychology, says the FT’s arts editor  


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Only in France? Peter Aspden on cultural stereotypes

We love French culture, yet according to a recent study there’s something in it that makes the French miserable. But every nation’s artistic mindset has its drawbacks, argues the FT’s arts writer  


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Emir-art: Peter Aspden reports from the Sharjah Biennial

The emirate’s contemporary arts event considers some thorny regional issues in a deceptively laid-back way, says the FT’s arts writer  


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The birth of dramedy: Peter Aspden on Steptoe and Son

As a stage version of the classic BBC sitcom comes to London, the FT’s arts writer reflects on the series’ pioneering mix of comedy and drama  


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Watch out for tomorrow: Leo Robson on robots and writers

‘Robot and Frank’ paints a benign picture of silicon-based life-forms. But the film’s ‘near-future’ setting is one that often wrong-foots screenwriters  


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The buzz business: Peter Aspden on the branding of culture

Like it or not, the vibrancy of London’s art scene is due in part to the efforts of marketeers, public relations teams and great coffee shops, says the FT’s arts writer,  


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Pop artist: Peter Aspden on Dinos Chapman’s first album

With his brother Jake, the British artist has tackled some of modernity’s grisliest themes. The FT’s arts writer finds out why he’s now trying his hand at music  


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Quiet, please: Peter Aspden on Kraftwerk and crucifixions

The German band’s shows at Tate Modern were wildly oversubscribed. But hot tickets and artistic pleasure don’t necessarily go hand in hand, says the FT’s arts writer  


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Peter Aspden on Mat Collishaw and recession art

The FT's arts writer reports on Mat Collishaw's transition from conceptual shock artist to ‘proper’ draughtsman - and why, unlike revolution or virgin birth, an economic recession makes a poor subject for art  


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Peter Aspden on the heritage impulse

With "The Rite of Spring" in Paris and the Armory Show in New York, 1913 was a key moment for modernism. But it also marked a turning point in Britain's attitude to its past, says the FT's culture columnist  


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Peter Aspden on Philip Glass's Walt Disney opera

Based on a novel by Peter Stephan Jungk, 'The Perfect American' is the story of one of the 20th century's biggest entertainment moguls. The FT's arts writer gives his verdict on the work's premiere at the Teatro Real, Madrid.  


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Peter Aspden on David Bowie and the end of HMV

Thinking differently is what makes Bowie stand out in the noisy world that killed off HMV. And it will be the key skill in the disembodied cultural universe of the future, says FT arts writer Peter Aspden.  


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All's fair

London will host seven international art fairs during October, including Frieze London and Frieze Masters, and there will be three more in European cities. FT Arts editor Jan Dalley, dealer and gallerist Thomas Dane, FT Collecting columnist Georgina Adam and Stephanie Dieckvoss, director of Art 13, a new event launching in March 2013, discuss the global appetite for this kind of showcase and the dangers of “fairtigue”  


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Design decade

As the 10th edition of the London Design Festival launches, designer Tom Dixon, London Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic and designer and online thinktank founder Rabih Hage discuss its impact with FT Architecture critic Edwin Heathcote  


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Design decade

As the 10th edition of the London Design Festival launches, designer Tom Dixon, London Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic and designer and online thinktank founder Rabih Hage discuss its impact with FT architecture critic Edwin Heathcote  


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Woody Guthrie remembered

It's 100 years since the birth of Woody Guthrie, bard of the Great Depression, storyteller of genius, and huge influence on Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the rest. Billy Bragg, whose upcoming tour plays tribute to Guthrie; Tom Paley, veteran folk musician; and Mojo journalist Colin Irwin discuss this remarkable man and his legacy with Richard Clayton, FT pop critic. With clips from Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land” and “Pretty Boy Floyd”, Billy Bragg’s “My Flying Saucer” (set to lyrics by Guthrie), and the title track from Tom Paley’s new album Roll On, Roll On. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Real to reel

Documentary films are breaking UK box office records and are, arguably, having more success than ever before. As "The Queen of Versailles", one of the hits of this year's Sundance Film Festival, heads for UK cinemas, Raphael Abraham discusses the new appetite for reality with critics Nigel Andrews and Leslie Felperin  


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What is British music?

Elgar, the Beatles and Dizzee Rascal have all had a starring role in London’s Olympic Games, with some astonishing scenes that told the world the story of Britain’s contribution to popular culture. But can British music continue to punch above its weight? In this special edition of the Arts Podcast, FT pop critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney is joined in the studio by Laura Battle, an FT classical music critic, Peter Aspden, the newspaper's culture columnist, and Paul Morely, radio and TV presenter and music critic. With music by The Beatles, Thomas Ades, Roy Harper and Amy Winehouse. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown and John Sunyer  


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Religious art for atheists

Can art fulfill the purpose of religion in a pluralist, secular society? Can we reconcile religious dogma with individual artistic creativity? FT arts editor Jan Dalley discusses the long and sometimes fraught relationship between religion and art with Alom Shaha, physics teacher, film-maker and author of "The Young Atheist's Handbook", history painter Tom de Freston, and art critic Richard Cork. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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What's the legacy of the Cultural Olympiad?

The Cultural Olympiad spans four years and encompasses more than 500 events – culminating with the current London 2012 Festival. This unprecedented artistic marathon has cost a reported £97m – but is it worth it? Jan Dalley puts this question to Sarah Weir of the Legacy List, a post-Olympic charity for arts, culture, education and skills; William Sieghart, founder of the National Poetry Day and of Winning Words, a national project to incorporate poetry in the games; and Peter Aspden, FT arts writer. Produced by Nicholas Spencer  


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Spoken word: the rise of performance poetry

Spoken word is a form of poetry usually written to be performed in front of an audience, and often associated with hip hop culture. In recent years its popularity has soared in the UK – and now, as part of the London Literature Festival, the Southbank Centre is hosting the final of “Shake the Dust”, a national poetry slam for teenagers. So, what’s the difference between “page” and “stage” poetry? Does spoken word have a political bent? And can poets hope to change anything? Jan Dalley puts these questions to the poet, rapper and playwright Kate Tempest; poet and artistic director of the “Shake The Dust” Jacob Sam-La Rose; and critic Suzi Feay. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Interview with playwright Simon Stephens

The Olivier award-winning playwright Simon Stephens is often drawn to dark subjects. “Pornography” tackled the 2005 London bombings; “Punk Rock” depicted violence at an English private school; and his controversial recent play “Three Kingdoms” shed light on the European sex trade. Now, Stephens’ adaptations of two classics – one old, one new – are about to open in London: a rewriting of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and a dramatisation of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He talks to Jan Dalley and Sarah Hemming. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Whatever happened to Britpop?

Forget “London 2012”, this summer it’s all about the 1990s – with the Stone Roses reunion gigs, Suede headlining the Hop Farm festival, and Blur playing the Olympics closing ceremony gig. As 40-something fans relive the glory days of “Cool Britannia”, FT pop critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney looks back at the renaissance of British rock 20 years ago, and asks – was it all it was it cracked up to be? And what is its legacy? He is joined in the studio by Richard Clayton and David Cheal. Featuring music from the Stone Roses, Oasis, Blur and Pulp. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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The Great Gatsby now

In 1926, LP Hartley called The Great Gatsby “an absurd story”. Now, it is hard to imagine that F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel was ever considered less than a masterpiece. And it seems particularly popular in our recessionary times – with the remarkable eight-hour play Gatz having had rave reviews in York, and now about to open in London; and Baz Luhrmann’s film version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan released later this year. Jan Dalley talks Gatsby mania with Sarah Churchwell, Professor of American Literature at the University of East Anglia; Mark Ball, artistic director of the London International Festival of Theatre; and the critic Matt Trueman. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Who's afraid of Pina Bausch?

The late choreographer and high priestess of Tanztheater Pina Bausch once said she was not interested in how people move but in what moves them. As part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the Barbican Centre and Sadler’s Wells will stage Bausch's 10 Cities. Peter Aspden talks to Alistair Spalding, artistic director of Sadler’s Wells and a friend of Bausch, and to FT dance critic Clement Crisp, who “owns to a mistrust of Tanztheater, or dance-theatre, or Euro-tedium – call it what you will.” Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Rappers and reality: has hip hop lost touch with its roots?

Hip hop may have started in the Bronx, but today’s rappers are millionaires with business empires that extend way beyond music. Ahead of Jay Z and Kanye West's European tour of their joint album Watch The Throne, Raphael Abraham talks to FT critics Ludovic Hunter-Tilney and Richard Clayton about the evolution and future of rap. With clips from The Sugarhill Gang, Jay Z and Kanye West, Evidence and DJ Shadow. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Writing Britain: how landscape shapes art and literature

From Dickens’ London to Wordsworth’s Lakes via the painter George Shaw’s suburban “edgelands”, the British landscape has long permeated writing and visual art. On the opening of the British Library’s exhibition Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, Jan Dalley talks to the poet Owen Sheers; the exhibition’s curator Jamie Andrews; and FT art critic Jackie Wullschlager. The travel writer Robert Macfarlane is on the line. Plus, Faber's 1998 recording of Harold Pinter reading his poem “Joseph Brearley 1909-1977” © Faber & Faber Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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The Bauhaus revisited

In 1919 Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany "to create the new structure of the future". Its teaching combined fine art with craft, and its adherents saw design as the key to a better way of life. Were its utopian aims misguided? What is its relevance today? On the opening of a major exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London, Neville Hawcock puts these questions to Lydia Yee, co-curator of the show; Edwin Heathcote, FT architecture critic; and Peter Aspden, FT arts writer. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Shakespeare: lost in translation?

Nelson Mandela once said, “Somehow, Shakespeare always seems to have something to say to us.” This year, the bard is saying it in 37 languages. Globe to Globe, a six-week festival starting on April 21 at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, presents all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, each by a different international theatre company. But what is lost in translation? Can other countries really do Shakespeare better than Britain? And how do the plays relate to the world today? Jan Dalley is joined by Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the Globe; Professor Robert Grant, formerly of Glasgow University; and Peter Aspden, the FT’s arts writer. Roger Granville, producer of the Dari Persian "The Comedy of Errors" from Kabul, joins down the line. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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British design, then and now

Ahead of the Victoria and Albert museum’s new exhibition 'British Design 1948-2012', Jan Dalley asks: can great design build a better society? Can Britain be called a leader in the field when its manufacturing industry is all but dead? And are we doing enough to foster a new generation of artists and designers? She is joined by the furniture designer Matthew Hilton, co-curator of the V&A show Christopher Breward, and FT arts writer Peter Aspden. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Madonna: still the Queen of Pop?

She's the most successful female recording artist ever – and now, 30 years after her first single, Madonna has released her twelfth album, 'MDNA'. It's already caused a stir, with the video for the opening track 'Girl Gone Wild' banned on YouTube for being 'too raunchy'. But is she still good? What's more important: Madonna the brand or the artist? And, at 53, should she really be wearing those hot pants? Neville Hawcock puts these questions to FT writers Lucy Kellaway, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney and Richard Clayton. With clips from 'Girl Gone Wild', 'I'm a Sinner' and 'I'm Addicted'. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Bright Young Playwrights

We’ve heard a lot about the new generation of British playwrights – but how much of it is hype? Does age matter in writing? And who are the names to look out for? Jan Dalley is joined by young writer Bola Agbaje, whose first play ‘Gone Too Far’ won an Olivier Award; Steven Atkinson, artistic director of the HighTide Festival for new writing; and Sarah Hemming, FT theatre critic. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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How contemporary classical music got cool

Ever been to a classical club night or an opera in a warehouse? This week on the arts podcast Jan Dalley talks to her guests about how people consume classical music today. She is joined by Gabriel Prokofiev, composer, DJ and grandson of the Russian composer Sergei; Frederic Wake-Walker, artistic director of pioneering company The Opera Group; and FT writer Laura Battle. With clips from Gabriel Prokofiev's 'Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra', and Elena Langer's 'The Lion's Face', commissioned performed by The Opera Group. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Louis de Bernières on how to film a book

Jan Dalley is joined by Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the playwright Mike Packer, and journalist Carl Wilkinson to discuss literary adaptations. At the Oscars this month, six of the nine movies up for Best Picture are based on books – and the film version of de Bernières’ novel Red Dog is released in the UK on February 24. Why are adaptations so popular? Are filmmakers and investors just playing it safe in uncertain times? And how does it feel to see your novel – or play – on the big screen? Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Bollywood now

The Indian film industry is famously prolific, turning out hundreds of movies of year. Some of these are "masala movies" – made to appeal to all ages, with plenty of melodrama and musical numbers – but others are very different. Like the rest of India, Bollywood is changing fast. Jan Dalley is joined by Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, and Prakash Bakrania, who distributes Hindi films in the UK for Reliance Entertainment. She asks them: is Bollywood escapist? Is it starting to tackle real life issues? And do different films fare well at the Indian and global box offices? Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Leonard Cohen and Paul McCartney: is there life in the old dogs yet?

The arts podcast reviews new albums by two of the most venerable singer-songwriters around: Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas" and Paul McCartney's "Kisses on the Bottom". Have they still got it? Does their latest work speak to modern times? And just what are we to make of Macca's album title? Neville Hawcock is joined in the studio by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, FT pop critic, Peter Aspden, FT arts writer, and Gautam Malkani, FT writer and novelist. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Death of the pop critic?

As the winners of the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll are announced, FT deputy arts editor Neville Hawcock asks three of the judges: who are the real “tastemakers”? What’s more important nowadays, a rave review or hits on YouTube? And how do unsigned artists make it? He is joined in the studio by FT pop critics Ludovic Hunter-Tilney and Richard Clayton, and NME assistant reviews editor and blogger Laura Snapes; music clips from Sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka, as well as Context, Emeli Sandé and Skrillex. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Woody Allen redux?

The British Film Institute has just launched a season of Woody Allen comedies, ranging from his knockabout beginnings to the recent Midnight in Paris, his biggest commercial success to date. Like Match Point (2005) and Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008), Midnight in Paris was hailed as a “return to form” by some – but has he really still got it? How does his recent output compare to the earlier films? And do those classics still resonate today? Raphael Abraham is joined in the studio by Geoff Andrew, Head of Film Program at the BFI, Peter Aspden, FT arts writer and Nigel Andrews, FT film critic. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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'Mile 54' by Amy Waldman

Author Amy Waldman reads her short story set in Afghanistan 'Mile 54', commissioned by the Financial Times for the new year.  


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Margin Call and the financial thriller

Margin Call, the latest in a line of films on the crash of 2008, depicts a Wall Street investment bank’s last ditch attempts to save itself from impending disaster. Written and directed by first time feature director J.C.Chandor – and starring Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and Jeremy Irons – The New Yorker called it “the best Wall Street movie ever made”. It’s been marketed as a thriller – but how do you create excitement when the action consists of men in suits peering at computer screens and talking on Blackberries? Does Margin Call have anything new to say on the much-debated causes of the collapse? Andrew Hill, FT management editor, puts these questions to Alex Preston, ex-City trader and author of This Bleeding City; Peter Aspden, FT arts writer; and Leo Robson, film and television critic. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Interactive theatre and the role of the audience

From shouts of “he’s behind you” at a Christmas pantomime to truly “immersive” productions in which audience members shape the action, audience participation is rife. The radical Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed – known for shows that test theatrical as well as moral boundaries – are now staging their latest play, Audience, at London’s Soho Theatre. Sarah Hemming, FT theatre critic, talks to Matthieu Sys, an actor in Audience, Neville Hawcock, the FT’s deputy arts editor, and the critic Suzi Feay about the changing role of the audience. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Enough Hamlet?

London has seen many Hamlets in recent years - David Tennant, Jude Law and Rory Kinnear to name but a few. And now Michael Sheen take the prized role in the Young Vic's new production. Jan Dalley talks to actor Simon Russell Beale, David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic, and Sarah Hemming, theatre critic for the FT, about the enduring appeal of the troubled Dane. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Postmodernism: what's not to like?

Postmodernism defined itself against the stifling clarity and seriousness Modernism. It put style before drab functionality. It embraced pop culture and garish colour. But it got a bad rep. “PoMo” was called vacuous and kitsch, and in the 1980s it became associated with corporate culture and consumerism. Now this controversial cultural movement is the subject of a major exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert museum, "Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990". Neville Hawcock talks to Glenn Adamson, co-curator of the show, and to FT columnists Edwin Heathcote and Peter Aspden. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Ken Loach on political filmmaking

On the occasion of his British Film Institute retrospective, Ken Loach, the acclaimed director of films such as Kes, Land and Freedom and the Cannes Palme d’Or winning The Wind that Shakes the Barley, talks about the state of political filmmaking. He is in the studio with Raphael Abraham, Peter Aspden and Lucian Robinson. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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The late, great Amy Winehouse

The Arts Podcast remembers Amy Winehouse, the brilliant but troubled British singer who died tragically, at just 27, on July 23. Jan Dalley talks to FT pop critics Ludovic Hunter-Tilney and Richard Clayton about her musical roots and unique appeal; how her increasingly wild lifestyle influenced her songs; and her legacy – what was her impact and who are her successors? Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Is this a golden age for children’s theatre?

War Horse has just won five Tony Awards; last year the RSC put on an acclaimed production of Matilda; and now Punchdrunk are staging their first show for children, The Crash of the Elysium. Is children’s theatre on the up – or is it still the poor relation of “proper” theatre? Where is the new writing among the successful adaptations? And what are the best shows on in Britain this summer holiday? Jan Dalley puts these questions to Tony Graham, artistic director of London’s Unicorn Theatre, Sarah Hemming, FT theatre critic, and Neville Hawcock, deputy arts editor – as well as to four budding young critics. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Edinburgh Festival 2011 Preview

The Edinburgh Festival – the world’s largest arts festival – is really a collection of different festivals that take place across the Scottish capital every year throughout the month of August. There is the stately International Festival and the so-called “Fringe” festival – a more unruly, sprawling affair with a reputation for experimental theatre and bawdy stand-up. There’s also an acclaimed Book Festival, as well as an Art Festival and even a Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Jan Dalley, FT arts editor, turns her attention to the Edinburgh’s theatrical offerings. She is joined in the studio by Ian Shuttleworth, FT theatre critic, and Matt Trueman, theatre blogger and critic for Time Out. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life

It premiered at Cannes to cheers and boos, and went on to win the Palm D’Or. Some called it a masterpiece; others dismissed it as overblown nonsense. But what’s so divisive about Terrence Malick’s ambitious new film? It’s a coming-of-age story set in 1950s Texas but it also has long sequences that explore the natural world and the origins of the universe. Does it work? And is its strong religious strain likely to turn off non-believers? Raphael Abraham is joined in the studio by Nick James, editor of Sight & Sound magazine, Peter Aspden, FT arts writer, and Leo Robson, film critic. Produced by Griselda Murray Brown  


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