Best of the Year The Culture Show

Best of the Year

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Best of the Year. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



This week we have got the cultural highlights of 2011. We have got an


Elizabethan inspired opera, an England-inspired album, and


everything you may never have understood about science fiction.


Coming up, David Attenborough celebrates his favourite artist. PJ


Harvey reveals the inspiration behind her Mercury prize-winning


album. Sue Perkins gets personal with humorist David Sedaris. All


this, and Damon Albarn, on his Elizabethan Opera. Film critic Mark


Kermode looks at his movies of the year. Plus, we go on a tour of this


latest work. There I was at one of our finest new galleries, in


our finest new galleries, in Wakefield. But first, a bit of arts


evangelising from me. Earlier this year, Tate Britain put on an


exhibition devoted to the watercolour. It is by far the most


popular form of painting amount amateurs, and the thousands of


visitors who flock to the show made it a big success. But for most art


students, watercolour simply is not cool. I made it might mission to


convert a group of young sceptics. Watercolour has long had something


of an image problem. It is not very bold, not very provocative. It is a


bit wishy-washy. I want to just start with a picture which I really


like. This one was the 17th century, maybe 50 years after the death of


Shakespeare. It is the world that he saw, that he knew, that he could


travel into, and there it is, just caught like that. I enjoy looking


at it, and I respect it, but it does not get me excited. I do not


feel quite as romantic about it as you. What do you think of this?


is definitely a lot more striking. It looks basically like someone has


been shot, and they have gone up against the paper, and the last few


moments have been recorded. I love that. It is not what he did. What


he did was, he made a snowball, and rolled it through the grit, he


wanted to preserve the residue, so he allowed this snowball that he


had made it to melt. Now, and have picked these out, because these are


two of my own favourite images in the whole show. It is like


Photoshop Turner. That's a bit cruel. But Turner has a really


screwed-up relationship with himself. He had all these ideas


about what art should be. It is only sometimes that he gets away


When I see these, I see the essence of what Turner realised. The baby


reality isn't actually solid objects. But you could only do this


in watercolour. There is none of this trying to get it to look


realistic. It is just this kind of emotional approach, and it in that,


I can personally read a lot more from it. There's Pollock in here,


what go in here, the whole of modern painting - does it make you


feel a bit more like using this medium yourselves? There's a fuel I


would not mind trying to rip-off. Mission accomplished. My next pick


from 2011 was an eclectic mix of the old and can you. The British


museum has been described as the place where the world comes to meet


the world. The 8 million objects it houses reflect every known facet of


the entire history of the world's civilisation. For his latest


installation, Grayson Perry has done his own pick from the


selection, to be shown alongside some works of his own. I wanted the


audience to be confronted by these three things, almost as a test, in


some ways - what is authenticity, where his Grace? What is fantasy?


What is reality? What is art? There's three helmets here. That


could be a Grayson Perry. But it is not, it is a Ghanaian ceremonial


object. This one looks much older, it has just been in my back garden


for 20 years. And this is a real helmet. This whole exhibition is


trying to challenge the idea that there is meaning, there is a


definite way things should be interpreted. On the tapestry, the


British museum is seen as a kind of multi-faith have them. There it is,


with all the different names of the afterlife. This is a Map of the


British museum. I like it because a lot of your work is a self-


conscious archaeological slice of what now is. This one I made in


February this year. I literally decided what I was going to put on


it the night before I came to decorate it. I did not have any


plan, I just watched the TV and read the newspapers. The people in


the museum were very interested in this, because as a museum object,


it is very potent, because it speaks about a moment in history.


Sitting at the centre of the display is another new piece of


work by Grayson Perry, entitled The Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman, an


elaborate, richly decorated cast- iron coffee machine. Everything


hanging and build on to this is a cost of an object from the British


museum. So there is a famous silver dish, the flood tablet, bits of


medieval crucifixes, Egyptian figurines, and right in the centre


of it is a flint tool. This flint axe head in his 250,000 years old.


It is the organ of generation. From that, all art, this whole museum,


everything in it, all the civilisation's in it... Yes, and


most of them are anonymous, and this is the monument to that.


exhibition also spreads beyond the walls of his allocated space. He


has created a special menu for the restaurant, called A teddy bear's


picnic. I like the way that the exhibition continues into the


restaurant. When I proposed an exhibition here, I wanted the


entire context, I wanted the gift shop, the marketing department, and


the tea menu, everything. Talk me through it, come on. We have got


Marmite sandwiches, because this was a big thing in my childhood,


Marmite on toast. This is the posh version of it, I suppose. You have


got chocolate motorbikes and they teddy bears. But is this the work


of art? No! It is part of the fun of coming to a museum like the


of coming to a museum like the British museum. It is part of the


ritual of it. If this is a multi- faith cathedral, this is kind of


the food for holy days. Well, it is very tasty! And Grayson Perry's The


Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman continues at the British museum


until 19th February. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to


Edinburgh in August, while earlier, in July, the third Manchester


International Festival featured a host of thought-provoking premieres,


including the latest creative odyssey from Damon Albarn. Michael


History is full of forgotten men - brilliant, strange, complex men,


whose influence has resonated through our culture, in ways that


may have become obscured. One such man was the Elizabethan thinker and


John Dee is a shadowy, obscure figure at the heart of the English


Renaissance. Elizabeth I called him Her Philosopher, and he was the


inspiration for Shakespeare's Prospero and Marlow's Faust. A


cryptographer and a spy, whose code name was 007, he has also been


caught the first English think tank. He's the man who came up with the


idea of the British Empire, the idea that England could become a


maritime power which could challenge Spain's domination of the


New World. Dee lived in an age when the line between science and


sorcery was blurred. Mathematics, like magic, was still considered to


be an uncanny art, the work of the devil. I caught up with Damon


Albarn between performances and asked what attracted him to the


#Just everything about him was just really elegant, and I'm a great fan.


Did you see a lot of threads between his time and our time, was


there a resonance? Yes, the two Elizabeths was uneasy starting


point. The melancholy score features the BBC Philharmonic


Orchestra, and a mixture of African and English musicians. They all


come from a very different sound world. I mean, all of those


instruments sound amazing together, with no amplification, and it is


really nice just to leave the amplified world, although I could


# People of the rose, the nightingale... And Dr Dee will be


restaged as part of next year's Now, at the Edinburgh Festival, we


were in the capable hands of Sue Perkins, who met with the best-


selling writer from America, David Sedaris. Was the reason for the


mortuary? I was living in New York, and a magazine asked me if I wanted


to write for them. They said I could do whatever I wanted. I


always wanted to see a lot of dead people, but you cannot just walk in.


I guess the most famous job you had was when you started off as a


department store elf. And I'm Small and merry, so they hired me.


you have to wear hat? Well, I had an outfit, and I did it for two


years. Was it financial necessity, or was it you thinking, I'm home


now, I'm with my people?! That's great. No-one loves Christmas more


than me, but I did not actually feel like... I'm home now. You're


constantly writing a diary through all of this, and you do not know


that fame and success are coming, you're doing it because you need to


write at this time in your life? think so. I started writing when I


turned 20. I think I just exhausted every other way of trying to get


attention. Everyone's worried that the food in Beijing will be


different from America. It is more real, they said, meaning, it turned


out, that I could dislike it more authentically. We went to meet Tony


Cragg. What are we looking at? are looking at some commercial


vessels. This is a detergent bottle, a shampoo bottle. And you have


extended it? Yes, and this one here, You are transforming it into


something magnificent, different, very unexpected. The moment you are


not bound by utilitarianism the have casualry of form is free for


you. You don't have to be practical and economic with it. Suddenly


things happen, the thing grows up into space and becomes something


that you and nobody else has ever seen before, and have to struggle


with it. What's this piece called? Red Figure. This is part of the


Rational Being series? It is. seems that you are playing are


futurism? No, futurism wanted to have the illusion of movement. I


don't think that's what I want - I want energy. Even though it is an


object, it doesn't have any energy, you are creating the illusion of


energy. Of course it has energy. Only because you imbued it as a


sculptor. No, no, no. That's a real strength to keep that, to keep that


volume out there. That is energy. When people say "statue" - static.


They have the idea of stasis, of rigidity, of a frozen moment, and


that is not the point. The history of sculpture in the last 100 years


fantastic dynamic, developing, you should never see the material as


being something static. formidable Mr Crag has lost none of


his energy. The exhibition is a timely reminder of his importance.


Next up, even before PJ Harvey won the Mercury Prize for her album,


Let England Shake, there was no doubt it was one of the year's


outstanding releases. The only person to win the Mercury Prize


twice, Harvey spoke to Miranda Sawyer about the challenges of


creating a work that bristles with questions of war, nationhood and


blood. # This is love, this is love that


I'm feeling. # This is love, love, love that I'm


feeling #. PJ Harvey is an artist who never


stands still. Each of her albums is self contained with its own


particular atmosphere. And she herself takes on many personas for


the sake of her music. So let's start from the beginning. Where did


the idea for this LP come from? of the markers that I kept in the


forefront of my mind when I was writing, and one of the instigators


of the whole project, was when I began to think. There there are


officially appointed war artists and poets. There are people who are


always on the front line of whatever conflict zone there is. I


began to wonder what the song equivalent was. Where was the


officially appointed songwriter? Can I be that? Obviously there


isn't a post of such, so in some ways in my mind I appointed myself


in that position. # Goddamn Europeans.


# Take me back to beautiful England # And the great and filthiness of


ages. # And battered books and fog


rolling down behind the mountains. # On the graveyards and Dead Sea


captains. # Let me walk through the stinking


alleys. # To the music of drunken beatings.


# Past the Thames river glistening # Like gold hastily sold for


nothing. # Nothing. #


You started with the lyrics and you can read the lyrics entirely


separately and they are like poems. The way that I write has changed


very gradually, but it has changed, in that I concentrate pretty much


solely on words for great periods of time. And some of those words


remain as poems and some become short prose. It has really become


my starting point that the words have to work. I wanted the melody


to be so simple that it could be sung from one person to another,


that it could be remembered straight away. It is that simple.


That harks back to how music begins. And the tradition of storytelling.


Folk music was often very simple, because it is just passed on from


one generation to another. Everyone remembers it. It was never written


down. # Let me watch my former river.


# Moon rise and turn silver. # The sky move, the ocean shimmer.


# The head shake, the last living rose quiver


I feel like I've just begun. That's the strongest feeling. I felt that


with this record in particular I have uncovered a new way of writing


that's just the beginning for me. I feel like I've got so much yet to


He's a modest looking fellow of 82 but Frank Gehry has changed the way


we think about architecture. The latest building, the New World


Symphony Hall opened in January. We travelled to Miami to meet Frank


Gehry. Once a candy-coloured wonderland for the rich and famous


Miami Beach is looking, well, a bit tired. But it is here that


architect Frank Gehry is launching his latest ambitious world, the New


World Centre. But for a Frank Gehry building isn't this one a bit


square? Once you are inside it all becomes clear. Here are the great


Frank Gehryesque sheaths of plaster, its cardboard forms. I managed to


get some time with him amid the hustle and bustle of the press


opening. It turned out to be difficult to drag Frank from the


music to talk architecture. What kind of relationship do you


have with classical music? I went in just now and heard the music and


it almost made me cry, it was so beautiful. Just the few notes, it


is a moment of truth. When the audience comes in and sits down and


the conductor raises the baton and you hear the first sounds. You know


right then, click or clock or clunk. And it happens pretty quick. Have


you ever felt clunk? Clunk for me is every connection, collision. I


wish I had done that better. I wish I had done this. So I go through


holy hell. The New World Symphony is all about making classical music


accessible to all and every concert will be smil townously projected


outside for the whole of Miami to enjoy. But some of the hi-tech


equipment wouldn't look out of place in a builder's yard. There's


a degree of rough and readiness which of course was very prevalent


in your architecture in the '70s and into the '80s. That is in my


DNA, and hate to do with my leftie- leaning proclivities. I don't like


the idea of spending a lot of money on marble. I've never been able to


do rich guy's houses. Not even my own. Being different was never


something that Frank Gehry had a problem with. The loose LA school


of architecture that Frank Gehry accidentally founded was always


more about having fun than they wereising. That is so stupid-


looking it's great. It is so stupid-looking? Isn't it? It's


just... Do you think you've been misunderstood as an architect?


Everybody thinks they are misunderstood, don't we all? I


don't go into it is art and all that stuff. For me it is a service


business. I get a budget. I get a site, a client. There is no excuse


for the banality. I'm much more critical than any critic, any


British critic could be. For the audience it's incredible. It feels


a bit like being inside. Right in there. Oh, my God. It sounds like


you like it. I love it! I want to go back. On this side of the Pond


British architectural visionary David Chipperfield unveiled his


latest building in May. The Hepworth Wakefield is devoted to


the work of Barbara Hepworth and her contemporaries. This is bold,


modern architecture which feels in complete harmony with the artist's


work. The centrepiece of the gallery is the Hepworth family gift


- a collection of 44 full-sized working models in plaster and an


min yum made in preparation for the finished originals in bronze. Those


prototypes allow us for the first time to get a greater understanding


of how Hepworth worked with her material. I like this display of


Hepworth's tools. You get a wonderful sense of just how tactile


Hepworth's engagement with her material was, and I really like


this little circular cheese grate Kerr. She used that to roughton


surface of the plaster too. She was also a great improviser. The tools


have become intensely personal to one. The most precious extension of


one's sight and touch. The big question raised by this


display, indeed by the whole existence of the Hepworth Wakefield


is, why did the artist decide she wanted to preserve these models.


After all, she didn't need to. The finished sculpture that was made


from this exists, it is in the world. But it is a very different


thing. It's a large, dark green weathered bronze. This is something


much more fragile. I think Hepworth, whose life was not entirely


straightforward, whose life was in many ways quite a troubled one. She


recognised that the emotions at the heart of her work were indeed


fragile. And vulnerable things. But the Hepworth Wakefield isn't


just about this collection of models and a new gallery space. It


is about bringing the artist back to her roots, to the countryside


that first inspired her. All my early memories are of forms and


shapes and textures. I remember moving through the landscape with


my father in his car. And the hills were sculptures. The roads defined


the forms. Sometimes I think your earliest experiences leave with


deepest and the strongest traces. Looking at these extraordinary rock


formations, thrust out of the soil, it is hard not to think that


Hepworth did indeed carry the memory of these sculpture-like


forms with her throughout her life. I think this really is, as she


herself said, where it all began. Now, science fiction was as strong


as ever on this year's best seller lists, but this most popular of


contemporary genres res possibly the most misunderstood. The British


Library decided something had to be done, so created one of the what


turned out to be one of the most exciting exhibitions. Subtitled


science fiction but not as you know it, it presents a series of world,


parallel world, even the end of the world, drawing on literary history


and asking, what is science fiction? The collection has been


assembled with painstaking care and gives an overvuef the genre through


beautifully preserved illustrations and film clips. It throws together


rare and contemporary literature which contains surprise. It has


been called the fields of literature left between the gaps of


all the other fields of literature. They are taking a wide ecumenical


notion of what SF is. This is something remarkable. This is


arguably the first work of science fiction in English. It was written


in the 1620s, published in 1638 by the Bishop of Hereford. It is


called The Man In The Moon. It tells of travelling to the Moon


with a harness powered by geese or swans. It was written when the idea


of space travel was not invented. You are legal flying to the Moon.


And it is written by a Bishop, who didn't find it her et cal to look


up at the skies and think of something other than the heavens,


unthinkable before the time of Galileo.


Here's something you might not expect to see in a science fibs


exhibition. This is an advert from the 1890s for Bovril. If you wonder


where Bovril got its name from, it is from The Coming Race, the


original manuscript is next to it. In this novel they get their


extraordinary energy from a strange substance called Vril. Some


marketing whizz decided to put together Vril with bovine and


overnight created the first science The figure who looms large over


this exhibition is H G Wells. Here, we have a copy of War Of the Worlds,


which brilliantly illustrates what science fiction can do at its best.


The story on the service is about Martians invading earth, but


scratch the surface, and you find lots of levels, including the fear


of invasion, and other things. There is an ongoing debate about


whether or not science fiction is taken seriously or smear that -


does it matter? I think it does matter, and I think exhibitions


like this are important. I think science fiction is a very proud


part of the literary heritage, and I want to have my cake and eat it,


I want it to be taken seriously, but I also want to be having a


party in the gutter. March saw the launch of the First World Book


night. And we were there to record its birth. The idea was to get


people with this is for one particular book to have free copies


of it to hand out. It is about sharing the pleasure of reading


through word of mouth. By the end of it, a million books are given


away. Thank you so much. What does weeding mean to you? You do not


need companions, you can make your own. You can travel. You can go


anywhere you like in this world. All in the mind. Yes. Next year's


event will be held on 23rd April. If you would like to sign up to be


a book giver, you can find more information at this website. Have


you read this one? I haven't, no. The Spy who came in from the Cold.


But the one I wanted a! There you go. I will enjoy that, thank you.


It is a great pleasure. Now, as we gear up for the Olympic Games, we


went to meet a cycle geographer, whose latest book dismisses recent


London developments as grand folly on the part of New Labour. People


will be surprised, an Olympic bid comes through, an area is about to


be regenerated and have billions of pounds pumped into it, and your


response as a resident was to see this as a disaster. I do not see


this as a genuine regeneration. Genuine regenerations are organic,


they happen from the ground up, they are not imposed. You're


walking between perimeter fences on concrete and Tarmac, and holding


this up as a highway into the future. And this, as a Space


Station. So, this is a corporate folly, as you see it? This is a


grand folly, a grand sleight-of- hand, an enormously boastful and


extravagant thing to do, for what amounts to a fortnight's sports day.


I set off down the sewage outfall to Stratford. We had been promised


an Olympic Tester, a procession of the torch through London. The


elevated footpath is accessible as it passes beneath the A102. Here is


the fault line, where the virtual collides with the actual, a world


war to pillar-box, half-built apartment blocks, a Lock Keeper's


Cottage, converted into the centre of a breakfast-time television show,


pylons being disassembled and cables buried. A patch of wild wood


is tamed with screaming chainsaws. Concrete producing tunes cough and


spew. Are you not romanticising what was here, and painting a very


negative picture of what actually is kind of an extraordinary moment


of change? As a writer, I'm relishing the whole of it. I'm


relishing the difficulties, the dangers, the monstrosity of it, is


terrific for a writer. It gives enormous energy. From humble


beginnings to fame, fortune and a tragically early death, the


celebrity car crash life of an and Nicole Smith was the surprising


inspiration for an ambitious new production at the Mall Opera House.


She was a Playboy model whose life was routinely played out in front


of the cameras. We went to see what happens when high art and tabloid


trash collide. She was married to a Texas oil billionaire. She has


inherited �62 million from her husband. In a way, her story is a


parable for our times and our celebrity obsessed culture. But


only four years after her death, should her life be used to


entertain an audience yet again? Is it in any way morally questionable


to be making her life and death into art so soon? I don't think so,


but maybe I'm a morally questionable person. We do not


trash it, we are very sympathetic. The piece is dedicated to her,


The piece is dedicated to her, we're not taking the mickey. People


think that we are trashing her, but that was hopeful, because we are


doing something which is a bit deeper than that.


# Blow you all a kiss. If she had a different name, and it was set in


the 19th century, exactly the same, a woman trying to get money out of


an old, rich person's family, living with her lawyer, you would


not bat an eyelid. # She comes from the school of hard


knocks, she's old school. # Come to think of it, no school!


It is just a great story, it is begging to be done as a musical.


could hear music. For me, the basic thing is that I found the whole


story, her life, suggested music to me, there has got to be a reason


why people sing. And I could see a lot of reasons why those characters


could sing. But what is it like to become Anna Nicole-Smith? This was


the soprano who took up the challenge. She did all of these


things, decisions, in her life, which were wrong. I feel for her.


It feels like she had no help, she was so lonely, in a way. People


around her were not there for her benefit, they were there to exploit


her, in a way. Now, here on the culture show, we


like to get different perspectives on things, so we often have guest


presenters. This year, one of my cultural highlights was a Sir David


Attenborough's celebration of his favourite painter. In


Attenborough's view, John Craxton was a neglected artist, but a new


exhibition set out to change all of 60 years ago, I had just got out of


the Navy, I had got a degree in natural sciences, and I was in my


first job - looking after the illustrations for a publisher. And


I picked up this book, The Poet's Eye. Initially it interested me


because the illustrations were quite new, they were done by the


artist, drawing directly onto the plate that was going to reproduce


it, auto-lithographs, they were called. But when I started to look


at them - what pictures they were! - I wondered who on earth the


artist was. Well, his name was John Craxton. He was brought up in a


Bohemian, musical family, and was free-spirited, adventurous and a


It was these haunted, undeniably melancholic pictures that led some


critics to call him a neo-romantic, a label he did not like. But then,


as far as the fashionable art world Now, a new exhibition at Tate


Britain, the first major show in London since 1967, reveals what


happened to him. And here's the explanation. In 1946, he went to


Greece. Two years later, he painted this. Gone is that melancholy young


man - all is music and sparkle and sunshine, delight. Fascinated by


the qualities of the Mediterranean light, his painting was transformed.


The landscapes become more complex, more spectacularly daring in their


However, these bright, scintillating pictures were thought


to be too playful and decorative for British tastes at that time.


Dispirited by the poor reviews for his 1967 retrospective, for long


periods afterwards, John rarely exhibited at all. In his later


years, he divided his time between his life in Crete and his studio


here in London. It was over 30 years after I first saw those


pictures in a book by John Craxton that I got to know him, and even


went out to stay with him in Crete. He was a man with a huge enjoyment


of life. He loved riding across Europe on his Tiger motorcycle. He


loved parties, whether they were at the embassy or down by the quayside.


One of the great pleasures of life was to be taken by him to the


harbourside restaurant and eat a meal of seafood which even I, whose


supposed to know about these things, found difficult to identify. Life,


said John, is more important than There was another must-see


exhibition over at Tate Modern. Alan Yentob met its star, the


influential German artist, Gerhard Richter. Gerhard Richter's career


spanned five decades, and he has proved something of an artistic


chameleon. This show has been curated by the director of the Tate.


It gives a sense of the scope, intensity and virtuosity of his


work. Was there ever a time when you thought that painting and art


was not for you? A time when you had had enough? Enough of painting?


No. Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden, and grew up in Nazi


Germany, an experience which would infuse his early work. He became


one of the first artists of his generation to reflect on Germany's


national socialist past. An early series of paintings depicts family


members, who had been recruits, as well as victims, of the Nazi party.


Again and again, you often go back to pictures of your family. Why is


that? They are the people I have most to do with. They are the


closest. When I first saw your pictures, I could not believe that


the same person had been able to paint all these different images.


Nowadays, it is easy to paint. it? Yes, much easier than before,


because they have photographs. did you blow the photographs, why


not give us nice photographs? like the surface, and of course,


Our next guest interviewer travelled to Italy to meet up with


the creator of one of the most audacious art works of the year.


You might not instantly recognise it as a art. A gigantic super-yacht,


like this one, is going to be available to buy in London. As a


luxury yacht, it is yours for 65 million euros. As a lot work, it is


a handsome 75 million. That is a mock-up of 10 million euros. We're


So, this art work - what do I get for the extra 10 million? What do I


get that makes it an art work? get my name in chrome letters, I


give my name to this boat. And of course, you get an art work, a


different thing than it was before, it is not just a boat, it is an art


work. So the only addition you have made physically is the labelling?


Yes. You decided not to make any other s 30 decisions or any extra


When I started to talk to the shipbuilders there was a wish to do


something inside the boat, to make it Moriarty. But I had to explain


carefully that it stays as this concept. If you are charging 10


million for an artwork you are putting yourself up there with


Picasso and the great Masters. not? It is quite a bombastic


project that could irritate the general public I think. It might


get a lot of criticism. For me the boat isn't the artwork - you doing


it is the artwork. I see it as you trying to get away with selling a


boat as an artwork. It is both at the same time. The aspect is needed


as a sculpture. If you are struggling for Christmas ideas,


Christian is still looking for a buyer.


The most talked about cop series of the year was BBC Four's The Killing.


We caught up with its star. She is a very aspirational character. In


many respects she does things we would like to do but we don't have


the nerve to do with it. Where do the roots of that character lie?


an actor you are looking for a challenge. You are looking to


always go somewhere you haven't been before. Up until that point I


had always played very emotional characters, traditional feminine


characters. Where I have been crying a lot and shouting a lot and


feeling a lot, and communicating a lot. I remember saying at that very


first might, I would like to play a person who is not able to


communicate. When I was standing on the circuits especially in the


beginning, I actually found it very, It is the writer's story, but this


writer insists on writing as we go along. That means that we are


shooting one episode at the same time and he is writing on the next


episode as we shoot the first one. But it allows him to take a lot


from the actors. If you add something as an actor, he will


start writing in that direction, if he gets inspired. The one thrap is


at the heart of that first series of The Killing is the relationship


with the jumper. LAUGHTER When you see series that have


female protagonists, they always have nice wardrobes. You've got a


woman wearing the same jumper week after week after week for 20 weeks.


The jumper becomes almost iconic. don't know what it is with that


jumper but there've been times where I have felt that the jumper


was wearing me more than I was wearing it! We knew we were looking


for somebody not a cliche type of detective. Not a woman in a suit.


So we had tonnes of clothes. I just spotted that jumper and I felt


right away that that was it. Now, American movie makers Joel and


Ethan Cohen released their 15th movie this year, a remake of the


cowboy classic True Grit. The brothers based their remake not on


the western with John Wayne but on a novel.


Mark Kermode saw this film appreciation showdown. The western


is a cornerstone of a great American narrative, in which the


good get even and the bad are just plain ugly. It is perhaps the most


quintessentially American genre, the western provides surprising


challenges for Hollywood outsiders Joel and Ethan Cohen. From a final


showdown on all things cowboy I met up with Christopher frailing. Hello


Chris. Hi, Mark. Let's go see a film. Great idea. True grit is


based on a 1968 nov ill, first made into a film by Henry Hathaway in


1969, starring John Wayne and Kim dar by. Now 40 years on the Cohen


brothers have made their own version of true grit. Tells the


story of Matty Ross, who hires Rooster Cogburn to avenge her


father's murder. Where's my money. Meet me here at o'clock tomorrow


morning. Matt Damon joins them as the suave Texas ranger into the


dangerous Indian territory. I just watched True Grit, which was


very powerful. Do you think true grit is more than a Cohen brothers


film than a western? Partly because the Cohen brothers make it their


own so much. They have such a strong view of the world, a strong


visual sense that they are dominating the material. It is like


a costume drama. It is the equivalent of a Thackray adaptation


or a Dickens adaptation. Who are they speaking to in this film? It


is to the original True Grit and to the novel. It doesn't make it a


western, even though it is set in the Wild West. There is none of


that promise, turning the desert into the garden. No sense of


promise at all. I've been drawn into a wild goose chase by a harpy


in trousers and a nincompoop. film has been astonishingly


successful. When I saw it I liked it very much but didn't think it


would be a hit. I thought it would be a film liked by critics. Why has


it achieved such success? Partly because tts view of a 14-year-old.


Here is a voice you can identify with if you are in the demographic


14 -20yofpltd everyone that heard of True Grit. It was so successful


in the '60s. But on a deeper level the movie is about retribution.


Somebody wants vengeance because her dad's been shot. Although she


gets deflected on the journey, she gets there. This idea of


retribution, who are the bad guys, sit clear cut or more economy Kayed,


that's a clever way of chiming with what's on people's minds. Thank you


and adios. Adios. Mark's second film pick is another


film adaptation. We Need To Talk About Kevin


revolves around Eva, a mother played with harrowing intensity by


Tilda Swinton, who has a troubled relationship with her son, Kevin.


When he reaches 15, Kevin commits a terrible act and Eva is left to


deal with the horrendous consequences. As his mother, is she


to blame? We Need To Talk About Kevin has the same unsettling tone


as Lionel Shriver's novel. It's a perverse love story which tackles a


taboo subject - a mother who doesn't love her child. The film


marks a welcome return for Scottish director Lynne Ramsay. Emerging in


the late 1990s, the dark and lyrical style of her early films


marked her out as one of Britain's most visionary directors, but this


is only her third feature in 12 years. What is it about the story


of We Need To Talk About Kevin that you wanted to address? I mean, why


that story? I just thought it was very compelling. Some women do not


feel that instant bond. It was like a dirty secret. It was like, "Oh,


have you read that novel?" There are feelings that people can relate


to but it is hard to talk about. How was your relationship with


Tilda Swinton on this? Obviously she is the centrepiece of the film


and, as you said, it is not a role that everyone would take, because


it is profoundly unsympathetic and also taboo, because she is the


mother who doesn't love the child. Tilda Swinton is a very bold person.


She's brave and she's so intimidating and exotic. So the


thing about this was making her more normal, in a way. Making her


more, you know, your average mother, albeit this is a very extreme


situation. But that was a challenge in itself - how to make Tilda


Swinton dowdy. Newcomer Ezra Miller plays the part of the teenage Kevin.


You had a drink of water. Hey, Kev. Listen, buddy, it's easy to


misunderstand something when you hear it out of context. Why would I


not know the context? I am the context. He's got a kind of


sexuality as well, a kind of creepy slinkiness. I put him through the


mill and I had him back six or seven times. But when he walked in


the room, he sucked up so many presence. He was so confident. And


so intelligent. I felt that Kevin really was smart. Ezra Miller is


probably the smartest boy I ever met. It's intimidating actually.


But our Mark didn't just confine himself to movie theatres this year.


I'm sure they don't sell popcorn there.


I'm here at Tate Modern because the new Turbine Hall commission is for


the first time a film. Well, how to begin to describe it. It's like


celluloid as architecture, a huge celluloid strip, like the monolith


from 2001. The first thing you notice is cinema is usually


landscape, but in this has been turned on its side to make it


portrait. And how big it is! It was a radical change for me. Of course,


I will to work intuitively and my first impression was that whatever


I had to do had to be portrait like the space. It became about trying


to make that possible within the medium, within the film. The hall


is trying to find the shape of the installation. As far as the content


is concerned, you've talked in the past about filming a lot to find a


little. How did you choose the images? It came about when he the


portrait format but I didn't know it was a portrait of what. I


started to pick out my port trait format post cards, waterfalls and


steps. And then he them up. At a certain point I realised it was a


portrait of the film itself. So once I had that and then a bit


later it was a portrait of the Turbine Hall. It was a combination


of this place. It is only ever going to be for this place. And


then with the sprocket holes, I just suddenly realised it was a


strip of film. It was very simple. It was that revelation.


One of the concerns of this installation and your work is


general is the difference between film and digital imaging. Celluloid


is fast becoming obsolete. This is something about which you are


passionate. What's important about celluloid? Well, film is an


entirely different medium from digital. For some reason there is


an assumption that digital can take over from film, but it can't. They


are totally different mediums the two should be allowed to coexist.


We wouldn't get rid of oil painting and replace it with acrylic, or


whatever metaphor. The Turbine Hall is a huge platform. He to make this


project about fighting for the medium that we are just about to.


We've had this for 100 years. We won't be able to see our history of


Do something quickly Hope you enjoy this look back at this year. Before


we go we leave you with a track from one of 2011's most charming


albums. This is Noah And The Whale. We'll be back in February. Until


then we wish you a very merry # Pressed up to a window


# On the other side of town # His breath on the glass


# And then his fingers # Circles the streetlights


# The only signal note there's people out there in the black


# He is in the town he grew up with # Will he ever come back? His heart


is pumping blood # On his lip as perfect smile


Download Subtitles