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Le France de Profil
Le France de Profil
by Claude Roy
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for anyone who loves France, 14 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Le France de Profil (Hardcover)
A magnificent and thought-provoking view of rural France as it was just after the Second World War in well chosen words - essays, poems, recipes and prose - and superb images. Somehow it had passed me by for six decades, but now I've found it. I'd have given the book 5 stars had not the layout of some of the 2nd edition pages been a bit distorted to accommodate the 'new' English translations.


Wadjda [Blu-ray] [2013]
Wadjda [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Reem Abdullah
Price: £8.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing and uplifting insight into Islam, 25 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Wadjda [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
This is a slightly edited version of my review of the film written for English-speaking friends after I saw it in the cinema in July 2013:

"Oh joy! 5/5 ... This is an incredible film and if, after reading this you want to, you really should try to see it. Yes, yes, I know it's in Arabic with subtitles, but ...

"It's a Saudi/German collaboration, directed by a Saudi woman, about the lives of Muslim women in a run-down, tribal and very conservative Riyadh suburb. The uplifting conclusion will be an inspiration to anyone except perhaps conservative[s of all faiths] ... who will - very wrongly in my view - be indignant at 'all this heresy'...

"So, while the fact that it has been made at all - and is a big critical success - is incredible, it's wonderful to report that this film does for contemporary suburban Saudi life what John Reith said the BBC should do: educate, inform, and entertain. It's a sensitive insight into Muslim women's lives and a window on the teachings of the Koran. It comes from the liberal part of Islam. And it is amusing, sad and dramatic, and beautifully filmed and acted.

"If I had to say which films it reminded me of most, I'd say an unexpected, bizarre and enthralling mélange of If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) and Breaking away (Peter Yates, 1979). Yes, it's about badly-behaved school misfits with a dislike of authority and a passion for cycling. I really just can't think why it was that I empathized with the film so strongly!

"There is something odd about the English subtitles in places. But, without seeing the film again, perhaps it was that some of the characters were ignorant of aspects of Arabic grammar and this was being translated deliberately into what we saw on the screen to help our understanding. Anyway, it in no way marred an otherwise excellent experience.

"Quite a few of those of us who'd seen the film [at the showing I went to] ended up afterwards in an eatery next door. I noted we were all staring into space - and then at each other! - with delight about what we'd just seen. And, when I went to Ilford town centre this morning and saw partially- and fully-veiled women coming towards me, I said to myself, 'I know more about you now than I did only 12 hours ago'. What a brilliant result?!

"One for the DVD collection (I trust it'll be on disc soon) in due course ..."


Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary
Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary
by Don Paterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forthright, informed and informal, 26 Jan. 2013
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This is an educated and erudite book about William Shakespeare's famous love sonnets. Paterson, a distinguished poet himself, shows us in common language and with little pretence the art that Shakespeare employed in his vivid descriptions of his passions for a man and a woman. It's an essential aid to reaching the goal of a real understanding of the sonnets and to poetry more generally.


Further Ramblings of Railwaymen
Further Ramblings of Railwaymen
by Geoff Burch
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Geoff Burch, 20 Dec. 2012
I want to chime in to say that I agree that Geoff Burch's new book is wonderful. As a former Guildford resident, the local history is fascinating but the wider aspects of the LSWR (if I may call it that!) history is absorbing and rewarding.


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