The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
FOR once, don't ignore the inevitable broadsheet adulation from broadsheet reviewers who always admire any subtitled film over crass audience-appealing English-speaking cinema.
For once, they'd actually be right to praise Arnaud Desplechin's demanding - the narrative requires careful attention - but ultimately satisfying character study.
He tells two apparently diverse but ultimately parallel stories. One follows a divorcee played by Emmanuelle Devos, whose cleverly structured performance wins you over to her basically dislikeable character, as she fights to come to terms with her impending remarriage and the painful death of her father.
The second storyline, which is infused with broad humour and engaging cynicism, centres on a highly-strung musician (Mathieu Almaric) who is sectioned and sent to a mental institution where, more convincingly than hammy Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, he rails against the system.
The crazy artist is an over-used cinematic device but here, to the director's considerable credit - and thanks in large measure to Almaric's compelling characterisation - the narrative line is never cliched.
Desplechin finally cleverly interweaves the apparently diverse plot lines in a complex film, which never outstays its welcome even at a potentially buttock-numbing two and a half hours running time. ETHAN CARTER