Lady Macbeth (2016) directed by William Oldroyd Premieres Today in Madrid

UK / 89 min / Color / Sixty Six Pictures, iFeatures Dir: William Oldroyd Pro: Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly Scr: Alice Birch, based on the book Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov Cin: Ari Wegner Mus: Dan Jones  Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Christopher Fairbank, Fleur Houdijk, Bill Fellows, Rebecca Manley, Ian Conningham, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Golda Rosheuvel, Kema Sikazwe, David Kirkbride, Joseph Teague, Cliff Burnett, Alan Billingham Synopsis:  The debut feature by accomplished theater director William Oldroyd relocates Nikolai Leskov’s play Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District to Victorian England. Florence Pugh is forceful and complex as Lady Katherine, who enters into an arranged marriage with the domineering, repressed Alexander (Paul Hilton), and must contend with her husband’s even more unpleasant mine-owner father (Christopher Fairbank). In this constrictive new milieu, she finds carnal release with one of her husband’s servants (Cosmo Jarvis), but there are profound consequences to her infidelity. Boasting deft performances by an outstanding ensemble cast, Lady Macbeth is a rousing parable about the price of freedom. A Roadside Attractions release (Source: MoMA) Release Dates: 10 September 2016 (Toronto International Film Festival); 19 September 2016 (Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival); France 12 April 2017; UK 28 April 2017; Spain 28 April 2017. IMDb Rating: 7.1

Acclaimed theatre director William Oldroyd relocates Nikolai Leskov’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to 19th-century England, in this Gothic tale about a young woman trapped in a marriage of convenience whose passionate affair unleashes a maelstrom of murder and mayhem on a country estate. William Oldroyd has built a reputation in the theatre, particularly as Director in Residence at London’s Young Vic theatre, where, amongst other things, he staged Frank McGuinness’ daring update of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts. Now Oldroyd makes a seamless transition to filmmaking with his beautifully controlled adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s famous Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the source material for Shostakovich’s opera of the same name. Yet “theatrical” is not a word one would use to describe Oldroyd’s debut feature film. His work with the cast is faultless, but what’s most striking about Lady Macbeth is its sheer formal beauty. This is a film for anyone who loves to see a camera in exactly the right position, moving in exactly the right way. Its story concerns Lady Katherine (Florence Pugh), a young misfit in the stifling social atmosphere of Victorian England. Locked in a marriage of convenience to a much older man, marooned on an estate amidst the northern heaths of County Durham, Katherine strains against the social mores of the time. Lectured at by the local priest, tormented by a father-in-law who expects her to provide an heir, she paces her constrictive world like a wild animal looking for escape. She soon finds an outlet for her passions in Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), a young groom who is one of her husband’s many servants. Those passions could be their undoing. Portrayed by Pugh with an almost primal fervour, Katherine is a powerful revision of the Gothic heroine. Lady Macbeth‘s strange tale of love and betrayal revolves around her force of will, and Oldroyd takes hold of this topsy-turvy drama with the authority of a master storyteller. A brilliant filmmaker is born. (Source: Toronto International Film Festival)

About William Oldroyd: William’s first feature film, Lady Macbeth, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2016 and was subsequently chosen as a top ten pick of the festival in both Variety and Rolling Stone. BAFTA, Variety, The Observer and Evening Standard have identified William as a director to watch in the future. William’s short film Best won the Sundance London Short Film Competition in 2013 and was then invited to be screened at the Sundance Festival, 2014. Previously he had worked with film and video at art college before becoming a successful theatre and opera director in the UK and abroad. As Director in Residence at the Young Vic Theatre, London he staged contemporary adaptations of European classics such as Ghosts by Ibsen. Subsequently he was invited to direct adaptations of Sartre in Tokyo, Beckett in Munich and Shakespeare in UK for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. Opera productions include works by Pergolesi in Portugal and Donizetti at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. Lady Macbeth was adapted by Alice Birch from the mid-nineteenth century novella by Nikolai Leskov and produced by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly with the support of the BFI, BBC Films and Creative England through iFeatures. It has already won the FIPRESCI International Critics’ prize at San Sebastián and Thessaloniki, the Critics’ Choice at Zurich and the Cineuropa prize for outstanding cinematic contribution at Les Arcs, France. William is represented by United Agents in U.K. and by WME in the US.

Florence Pugh – ‘I have been told for about three years now not to get big-headed’

The Hollywood Reporter film review

OT: Treasures from the Hispanic Society of America. Visions of the Hispanic World

Beginning April 4, the Museo del Prado, with the exclusive support of  Fundación BBVA, offers to the public the exceptional opportunity of enjoying more than two hundred works of art from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library founded to promote the art and culture of the Hispanic world in The United States.

The Hispanic Society holds the most important collection of Hispanic art outside of our borders. With more than 18,000 works of art that spans from the Paleolithic Age to the 20th century, an extraordinary research library with more than 250,000 manuscripts and 35,000 rare books, which includes 250 incunables. There is no other institution in the world, even in Spain, that alone can offer such a complete vision of our history, art and culture.

Archaeological artifacts, Roman sculpture, ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, silverworks, medieval and Islamic works of art, masterworks from the Golden Age, colonial and 19th century Latin American art and Spanish painting from the 19th and 20th centuries are arranged chronologically and thematically. Their Spanish paintings, including The Duchess of Alba by Goya or Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares by Velázquez, are in conversation with those of the Museo del Prado.

Through September 10, the Museo del Prado will, in galleries A, B and C of the Jerónimos building, house the treasures of the museum and library of the Hispanic Society, an institution located in Upper Manhattan in New York, founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955), one of America’s greatest philanthropists. He created an institution that reflected an appreciation of Spanish culture and the study of the literature and art of Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

“Treasures of Hispanic Society of America. Visions of the Hispanic World” brings together more than two hundred works of art including paintings, drawings, and sculpture; archaeological artifacts and decorative arts, liturgical vestments, furniture and manuscripts from the library, creating a fascinating chronological and thematic experience of the highlights of their vast collections.

With this exhibition, which occupies all of the temporary exhibition galleries in the new extension, the Museo del Prado – as they did for the exhibition “The Hermitage in the Prado” in 2012 – offers its visitors the privilege of enjoying a museum within another. In this case, the renovation of the Hispanic Society’s galleries has allowed the treasures of their collections of Spanish and Latin American art, along with rare books and manuscripts, to travel to Spain.

Many of the works of art that will be shown have not previously been exhibited or were unknown, such as the reliquary busts of Santa Marta and Santa María Magdalena by Juan de Juni, and the Fates of Man, by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara; and others have recently been identified such as the Map of Tequaltiche, which was thought to be lost. Besides the individual value of each work of art, this exceptional grouping gives context to the magnitude of the rich history of Hispanic culture in the Iberian Peninsula, America and Philippines that spans more than 3,000 years, shows a quality of art works that no museum outside of Spain can compete with, and demonstrates the passion of the unique collector who put his resources and knowledge towards the vision of creating a Spanish museum in America.

The extraordinary selection of paintings includes master works such as Portrait of a Little Girl, Camillo Astalli and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares by Velázquez, Pieta by El Greco, The Prodigal Son by Murillo, Santa Emerenciana by Zurbarán and the emblematic Duchess of Alba by Goya, especially conserved for this occasion at the Museo del Prado with the collaboration of Fundación Iberdrola. Also represented are paintings by post-impressionist and modern artists, such as Zuloaga, Sorolla and Santiago Rusiñol.

The selection of sculpture includes, among others, the Efigie of  Mencía Enríquez de Toledo from the Workshop of Gil de Siloé, the terracota, The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine, by Luisa Roldán, and Fates of Man, the group of polychromed wood sculptures by Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara.

The exhibition also includes a selection of important archaeological artifacts, among them Celtiberian jewelry, Bell-Beaker vessels and a Visigothic belt buckle. Completing the survey, is a significant selection of decorative arts, with Renaissance and Baroque metalwork, ceramics from Manises, Talavera and Alcora, and an exquisite Pyxis made of ivory with gold plated hinges. Alongside these objects are textiles including a Fragment of the tunic of Prince Felipe de Castilla and a Nazrid silk textile.

An innovative mounting technique will allow the important holdings of the library of the Hispanic Society to be displayed in such a way that it can be appreciated in all its splendor, relevant works include A grant (Privilegio) issued by Alfonso VII, king of Castile and León, Biblia sacra iuxta versionem vulgata. Bible in Latin; unique letters such as Holograph instructions for his son Philip, and the Letter to Phillip II of Spain from Elizabeth I, Queen of England and the Holograph letter, signed “Diego de Silva Velazquez” to Damián Gotiens, and various examples of maps including Portolan Atlas, by Battista Agnese and the Mapamundi by Juan Vespucci.

Archer Milton Huntington. Founder of The Hispanic Society of America

Archer Milton Huntington, only son of one of the wealthiest families in The United States, from a young age possessed a profound interest in the Hispanic world. His education and numerous trips to Europe inspired an interest in collecting, always with the idea of creating a museum.

In less than forty years, Huntington created a library and museum designed to elevate the study of Hispanic art through unparalleled collections in both scope and quality. At the same time, he published various facsimiles of important rare books and manuscripts. Huntington, in an effort to not deprive Spain of its artistic treasures, acquired most of his collection outside of the country. One can confirm, as did Jonathan Brown, that Huntington saw the Hispanic Society as an encyclopedic depository of Spanish art and literature.

Huntington was one of the first Hispanists in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. For this reason he was awarded by numerous American universities. He was an active member of various Spanish museums and was invested as member of the Spanish Royal Academies.

This exhibition pays homage to Huntington’s lifelong work for The Hispanic Society Museum & Library in the diffusion and study of Spanish culture in The United States of America.

For more information on the exhibition and related talks and interviews, please visit: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/whats-on/exhibition/visions-of-the-hispanic-world-treasures-from-the/c1b08f10-d0d9-499f-8969-160e74000d5b

 

OT: Patatas Bravas

An English journalist said with contempt that patatas bravas “are nothing more than chips with ketchup”. This route along some of the best places where you can taste patatas bravas will confirm you that he was wrong. Don’t forget to check it on your next visit to Madrid. Patatas bravas (spicy potatos), also called “patatas a la brava” or “papas bravas”, is a dish native to Spain, often served as a “tapa” in bars.

You can find a nice recipe here if you want to try it yourself.

OT: Monte del Pilar (Majadahonda, Madrid)

El Pilar Mountain is a forestry mass of Mediterranean woodland of 804 hectares of which 446 belongs to the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón, 249 to Majadahonda and 109 to Madrid. It’s natural continuation of the Regional Park of the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares that has been artificially separated from it by the A6 and the urbanizations which, built during the last half of the last century, extend in its two margins.

The area is easily accessible by public transport. See my previous post here.

My pictures of yesterday with my hiking group:

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OT: Ramon Casas. Modernity Desired

The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ramon Casas (1866-1932) provides a magnificent opportunity to rediscover the work of a painter whose work reflects the birth of a new era, one in which modernity came knocking on the doors of history. Through his attitude, at times bohemian, at times irreverent and ironic, Casas positioned himself decisively within a movement that emerged during the closing decades of the nineteenth century. This is illustrated by his use of such inventions as the bicycle and the motorcar, which embodied his optimism regarding the technological possibilities offered by the myth of progress. Halfway between desire and reality, then, Casas’ work was open to a vast range of influences: poster art, photography, Japanese prints and so on. The exhibition, first presented in Sitges and now opening at CaixaForum Madrid, features 145 works by both by Casas himself and a number of his contemporaries. Organised by ”la Caixa” Foundation in coordination with the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) and the Museums of Sitges, the show was produced with support from the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona Provincial Council and Sitges City Council.

Ramon Casas. Modernity Desired, from 8 March to 11 June 2017 at CaixaForum Madrid. CaixaForum Madrid (Paseo del Prado, 36).

Read more here.