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Welcome to The Culture Show. This week we are at the Wallace


Collection in London's West End, home to one of the truly great


collections of French 18th century art, as well as masterpieces by the


likes of Alaska's, Rubens and Rembrandt. It's also home to one of


the world's greatest collections of Renaissance armour. I take a tour


of the National Gallery with none Charlie Luxton looks at how great


design transcends age and ability? Clemency Burton-Hill finds out


about the art of the maestro. Tim Samuels talks to Jonathon Safran


Foer about his modern take on an ancient Jewish text. Journalist


Hadley Freeman goes street style. We turn to the art world's most


enduring double act. Gilbert & George have been working together


for over four decades and have openly declared for them, London is


the centre of the universe. Their latest show, London Pictures, stays


true to that theme. Alastair Sooke went along to meet them as they put


the final touches to their latest As far as radical artistic ideas go,


painting your face in gold, clambering on to a table and


improvising to an old music hall song is pretty out there. But to


keep at it for eight hours and call what you're doing a singing


sculpture is another level of weirdness altogether. This is


exactly how artists Gilbert & George introduced themselves to the


The they'd met at St Martin's School of Art in the late 60s and


formed a unique artistic and personal relationship. They would


be two people but one artist, with the motto art for all, and the


desire to put themselves at the centre of their work. They decided


to become living sculptures. Over the years, they've out raged,


delighted and confounded the art establishment. Always taking a


provocative look at their own lives and the life of the city that


continues to inspire them. London. Recently, Gilbert & George have


been busy stealing posters of newspaper headlines to make art


work for their latest collection, Hello. Good morning. Come through.


I've brought you a gift. A recent edition of the Evening Standard, it


was on the wall around the corner. That could go in our picture called


boy or tube. I how many posters did you collect? 3712. Which made, by


themselves, 292 pictures. To turn their posters into art, Gilbert &


George devised a complex cataloguing system. This is the


index to the posters. 28 posters here, but we can also find one for


soccer, arrested, old-age pensioners. What was the biggest


cluster of work? Sex, money and murder of the biggest subject.


Presumably, are these what we can see over here? The these are all


the designs. We wanted to use only black and white and red and skin


colour. That's it. It feels quite brutal. Do you view this as a


composite portrait of London, or is it a portrait of media hysteria?


think it is an international response. It doesn't matter where


you go, the world is the same. And art has to speak. If you go into a


museum and there is a landscape framed with a hill and foreground,


some trees and the sky, people will almost just walk past it. But if


there's a little policeman on the horizon and a tramp in the corner


masturbating, everyone will stop to look at that picture. Because it


has a moral dimension. It's different. After Bermondsey.


Bermondsey is home to one of three White Cube gallery is in the


capital, all of which are showing finished works from his London


Pictures series. This is extraordinary for us. This is the


first time we actually see the pieces for real. The scale of them


is unbelievable. There's a sense of being quite overwhelmed. Relentless.


That is absolutely what we wanted. You don't initially read the words.


What you see are these screaming, read visual overloads. I'm very


proud. And then there's the Queen in each corner. A always a


different one. No two queens are like. Of course. And here, this is


a piece which has called London. Man beheaded in the street,


bloodbath in London McDonald's. This isn't a very happy body of


work. It's a celebration of the lives and deaths of the great


number of people living in London. Probably more deaths than lives


here. But who wants To Be Happy? want to affect. If we just lie on


the beach with gin-and-tonic we are not going to change anything.


would be quite pleasant but no one would pay any attention. The reason


people recognise you is because not least you appear in your work, but


some people think it's one enormous work of self-portraiture. Never


mention that. The spirit and the person is behind every good artist.


If you are in a museum of a friend you might say, come and look at his


van Gogh. Come and look at this funny old dead tree with a bit of


grass. It's the artist speaking to you. There is an autobiographical


element in what we see it is stuff that you have encountered. In every


one you are often focused... With the eyes. Only the eyes speak.


almost like a floating consciousness around London, all-


seeing. Yes. With our pictures we've decided in favour of it or


against it, middle ground. This is the idea of being moralists. We are.


Everybody thinks madness to be a moralist today, but we absolutely


believe in good and bad. We always have. We always think it changes


all the time. It is not standing still, it changes so much. We want


to be a part of changing it. you optimistic or pessimistic about


the future? Always optimistic. Despite the evidence of what we see


around us? It's very simple. We are only dealing with the thoughts and


feelings that are inside any body wherever they live in the world.


Death. Hope. Life, fear, sex. Religion. But there's little good


news on the walls. I'm not sure that is true. Right. There are very


few cities in the world we could have posters like this on the


street. What a freedom. Freedom of thought. Non-Western people might


come here and say, you know what this says, it talks about the great


corruption that comes about from democracy. It's a small price to


pay for freedom. This show may be represents a little of that. These


overpowering London Pictures force you to think and engaged. And, as


for their creators, Gilbert & George, mischief-makers, yes, but


also, perhaps surprisingly, moralists with a Dickensian sense


of society's ills but the desire to confront and change things with


their art. London Pictures continues at all three White Cube


galleries into April and May. From the often prefer into the sacred.


The Jewish festival of Passover is intimately linked to an ancient


text, the Haggadah. Within you version of the book now on the


shelves, we sent Tim Samuels to meet the man behind the reworking


of one of the most beloved books in all of Jewish history. For 5000


years, Judaism has been fuelled by the excesses of food and family.


During the festival of Passover, most Jews sit down to the


traditional dinner, a ritual of wine and worship to mark the


liberation of the Jews from slavery. At the heart of the Passover meal


is the Haggadah, the prayer and instruction book which guides you


through the evening rituals. Ours used to be pretty tatty, it got


fished down from the loft once a year and you didn't pay much


attention to it, mainly counting down the pages to see when dinner


was going to be served. But in between, the crumbs and wine stains


from previous years, the pages themselves tell one of the most


epic stories from history. Haggadah means be telling. The handing down


of story of exodus to the next generation, recounting the journey


of Moses leading the Israelites out of repression in Egypt to freedom.


Early manuscripts have been traced to the Middle Ages. But the need to


revise and sustain the story has made it the most translated and


reprinted Jewish book in history. Judaism straddles both the


religious and the more cultural. Some people are very religious,


others, not so much. But all are united by a constant urge to


question and debate. So it's not surprising that in this latest


incarnation of the book it has been given a modern twist, something of


a cultural makeover. Having made his name with the novel's


everything is eliminated and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close,


Jonathon Safran Foer has overseen an imaginative new version of the


Haggadah. He has united a bold translation with commentaries from


four leading Jewish thinkers, each bringing a distinct political,


literary, philosophical or child friendly perspective. If you look


around your Passover table now, you will certainly seek the model and


mass of the world. It's likely to stay in some place on the


tablecloth or perhaps one of the glasses has based much. Soon,


things will be spilt. You might be sitting with people you do not know


very well or do not like very much, so your own emotional state is


somewhat disordered. Welcome to the oldest synagogue in London. Do you


feel a sense of, what have I done taking on one of the oldest books


in the religion? No. Haggadah's have been adapted for as long as


there has been Jews. Something inside the Haggadah demands that.


There's the sent for trial pot of week off supposed to feel as if we


ourselves were liberated from Egypt. Not just that we receive a story


and care about it, but that we literally re-enact it. It is the


most radical act of empathy that any book would ever ask of a reader.


For that to happen, the book has to be contemporary in certain ways.


The translation has to be somehow in our idiom. I don't mean


conversationally, but clear to us. To me, I felt only that I was


continuing the tradition, not that I was in any way departing from one.


Is it fair to say that you are not the most religious guy in town? Why


have you got involved with reinterpreting a very traditional


religious text? Because it's important to me. That is the answer.


With this have a dark, it is not God centric. -- with this Haggadah.


It is asking humans to ask questions of themselves. Questions


about justice and mercy. About slavery and freedom. These are the


very big themes, they are not exclusively Jewish themes. But Jews


have found a very good ways of reminding ourselves of these


problems or questions. Why did God Pardon Ferrell's heart against the


Jews, even after it seemed Pharaoh was writing to let them go? Did God


want to make a point, don't even think of challenging the? Why did


America shower death on Abbas Zaki, when it seemed the Japanese were


readying themselves to surrender? Was the fire bombing of German


cities so necessary as to neutralise all moral qualms. The


Civil War ended with the freedom for African-Americans. World War II


ended with fascism utterly vanquished and the death camps


liberated. Can we say that the ends didn't justify the means? When I


heard you were editing it I thought, here we go. I thought it was going


to be a more radical, divisive, have more of an attitude. When I


first envisaged it I did think this would be a really... A more radical


book. I don't mean politically, but visually and more texture really


adventurous. Through the process of working on it I became more and


more in love with what the book was. The goal was to create something of


the kind of invisible authorship as much as possible. Even though the


commentaries have very distinct perspectives. If people this year


use your book for the dinner, how is it going to feel different?


Hopefully the book will facilitate. Just a more engaging and vibrant


experience. Hopefully that when we close the book we will say that is


what we always wanted it to be. We had the conversations that we had


been hoping we would be able to have. And have a good dinner.


In years to come, this new Haggadah might become the dusty perennial in


the loft, or even be replaced altogether, but that is kind of the


And the Haggadah is out now. Next, from a sacred Jewish institution to


a sacred Islamic one. This 19th century picture is a romantic


fantasy at Arabs travelling through the Russian Desert, but the most


important journey a Muslim will ever take is the pilgrimage to


Mecca, the Hajj. Sarfraz Manzoor took his family on a lesser


pilgrimage, to experience the Hajj The pilgrimage to Mecca, known as


the Hajj, is one of the five pillars of Islam, a journey that


every Muslim is called upon to make. One of my earliest impressions of


This is my mum. She was planning on going to the Hajj with my dad, but


he died suddenly in 1995, and now the only way she can go is with a


male relative, which means me or my brother. It is the obligation of


every Muslim is to perform the Hajj, and for my mum, it has been a


lifetime ambition. Unfortunately, when she was healthy, we never got


around to going with her, and frankly she is now a bit frail and


couldn't stand the trip to Mecca, so I am taking to the British


Museum for the next best thing. My mum is just an ordinary working-


class Pakistani woman, typical of her generation. I don't know if she


has ever been to wait museum in her life. The Hajj is one of the great


global gatherings of mankind, but it is something many modern Muslims


know next to nothing about. This is my wife Bridget, and as you can


tell, she is from a different background. It'll be interesting to


see what she makes of the Hajj The Hajj is associated with the


Prophet Mohammed, but the ritual of going to Mecca is said to stretch


back to the time of Abraham. The old British Museum Reading Room has


been made over to make us feel we are on a journey ourselves. The


Hajj attracts nearly 3 million pilgrims every year from across the


world, and involves a series of rituals which must take in and


around Makah over five for six days. -- in and around Mecca. The first


of these and the most familiar image of all this walking seven


times around the building, the most The Hajj is a time when all Muslims,


men and women, rich and poor, black, white and brown, can come to Mecca


and be equal. When you come here, you are a Muslim, and there is an


equality to that, and so there is something about having a uniform of


equality. She says it doesn't matter whether you are rich or poor,


you are all the same. The exhibition charts the history and


geography of the pilgrims journeys. The perilous routes across the


desert in particular caught the imagination of the West. This toy


theatre set, the caravan to Mecca, was made in Vienna in the early


19th century. In 1853, the explorer Richard Burton, who later


translated the Arabian nights, brought back this flask of water


from the holy spring. He learned Arabic. I find it exciting to think


what it must be like to be there and not know if you're going to be


discovered, and feel like you're one of the first non- Muslims to be


experiencing this, and to then be able to go out and tell the world


about it. This whole exhibition made me think that I do it quite


individually, my spirituality, and for people here, it is this huge


river, the metaphor that you keep hearing. It feels beautiful, the


whole thing of everybody gathering While modern art works explore the


meaning of Hajj, this clip from the film Journey to Mecca shows it is


She just said that watching this here makes her feel like she is


For many pilgrims, this has been a profound spiritual journey that


will have changed their lives for At the heart of the exhibition are


the textiles traditionally hung. They are decorated with lines from


the Koran and other blessings. It is a rare opportunity to see them


close. She has never seen this before,


because you have got to have been there to see them, so this is quite


new for her. As for souvenirs of the Hajj, none is more precious


than the Holy is under mortar, set -- -- and the Holy Water, said to


come from the time of Abraham. I remember somebody came with a metal


plate, like a saucer, which had some holy water on it, and the idea


was that this was special holy water from Mecca, and it was there


as a way of trying to offer some solace and medicine. Does this make


So I asked my mum if this made her eager to undertake a hard herself.


-- to undertake the Hajj herself. She said it was good to come here,


but Mecca is really the place to see them.


She is saying that seeing this has made her want to go even more. Her


heart is there, but it is really about fate.


And Finn: Journey to the heart of Islam continues -- Hajj: A journey


to the heart of Islam continues until the end of April.


The RCA has seen a work by David Hockney, Tracey Emin and Henry


Moore, but the work carried out at the Helen Hamlyn Centre places


great emphasis on individual design, making products with consumers end-


users rather than just for them. Charlie Luxton went to find out


Over the last six years, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for design has been


working with medics, patients and engineers to improve ambulance


treatment areas for paramedics working in life-or-death situations.


And the result is this emergency ambulance prototype. To me, that


look like -- This looks like the kind of treatment space you would


find in any hi-tech possible, not necessarily in the back of a truck.


The Centre reckons that wombs that might take -- wins -- injuries that


take five minutes to treat could now take three minutes. Everybody -


- everything is right way you wanted, and the design put the


patient ride in the middle of the space, so that a paramedic can get


all the way around. That is such a revolutionary idea that it has been


nominated for a design of the year award, and it is here at the Design


Museum in London. Designers face a huge challenge,


and today's ageing society needs products and services for older


people. There is a disproportionate amount spent on marketing to the


young as marketing to people to have actually have the money. Some


surprising statistics are that the average age of a new car buyer is


45. For his sports car, that is 55. We need to read calibrate a lot of


our sensitivities as designers, makers, marketers and creators of


the world that we live in. significant do you think that this


trend to more inclusive design could be? I don't think there is


any alternative. In a world where one in three people are going to be


over 60 by 2050, we are going to have to change the way we design


things. The other point to make is that it is not just about designing


for people. That is going on for 50 or 60 years. It is designing with


people. Creating products that can be used by all ages and abilities


is central to the inclusive design approach, and listening to consumer


groups is vital in that process. Susan Greggs designs -- guides


students at the Design Centre through this process. The famous


story that everyone tells there is buying are the perfect bread slicer


for blind people, and blind people say, I buy sliced bread. Don't


waste your time. So isn't it a bit hard, trampling on these great


designers? Better that I should do it then when they are actually


presented to somebody who might give them my job. So the process is


becoming as important as the project -- the product. That is


what inclusive design is. It is starting really early on, aiming


for your market place. One company that championships -- champions the


approach was asked to design a new phone for the silver market. Their


research revealed that wasn't the phone that caused the problems, it


was unclear instruction manuals. So the designers put the phone right


inside the manual. So all these instructions. Way you need to press.


And you are using eight traditional language that I am familiar with


rather than technological language. Most of the proposals on the market


aimed at older people are patronising. We gave them bananas


and Marcus to let them express what they really wanted from a mobile


phone, and that unlocked a huge amount of feedback and inspiration.


They wanted GBS, news reports, weather forecasts, so we were


really seeing that they want to access technology, and they wanted


their phone to be a powerful tool. So if you said to them, tell me


about the phone I want, they would say I want a simple, big buttons,


but if you said, show me what a phone can do, they said don't do


everything? If we took them away from the frustrated feeling and let


them dream and create, they want the full works. This is something


quite a lot more mechanical, as you can see. This is the world's first


affordable wheelchair wheel. This came from finding out that there is


a huge demand for something in wheelchair market which is like a


folding bike. You can get a lot of folding chairs, and that is very


useful for travelling and storage. But you have always got great big


wheels. So why not try to for the wheel up? And that is what this


does, like that. The tyre can stay fully inflated. Would you say this


is about using design as a force for good rather than a force for


being good-looking? Definitely. Something that came back from a


wheelchair users I have spoken to is that this is the first new thing


that would enable me to do something new with my wheelchair


that I have seen for years. Sir by designing some that changes the way


you can live with a wheelchair, it is quite empowering. Fantastic.


And you can see that ambulance in the designs of the exhibition and


tell 4th July. Now, from updated emergency


vehicles to a rather more traditional mode of transport - a


bicycle. Upon which Bill Cunningham, one of New York's most influential


fashion photographers, weaved through traffic in search of the


perfect look. Inspired by a new documentary charting Bill


Cunningham's life and work, Hadley Freeman hits the streets to explore


the vast impact he has had on the Since the 1960s, Bill Cunningham


has been scanning the streets of Manhattan. Now in his 80s, he is


the subject of a feature-length documentary. Bill Cunningham New


York is a captivating and moving portrait of an extraordinary man


who's lived his life with an almost fanatical parity of purpose. To


discover that friends and document the reality of how people dress.


This fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been and


always will be. Bill Cunningham's photos appear in his two weekly


columns in the New York Times. Evening Hours records the social


scenes. But Bill is better known for the weekly collage of street


style photography that records what real people are really wearing.


you know what the pages going to be? It's going to beat All on legs


and shoes. Cunningham is a true legend. The front rows about with a


real sense of style and design. We all dress for Bill, says the US


Vogue editor, and a winter. sometimes want to look at his pages


in the Times or online and be so amazed that he and I and all my


team and all the rest of the world, we are all sitting in the same


fashion shows but he sees something on the street or on the runway that


completely missed all of us. In six months' time, that will be a trend.


More than just a photographer, he is a cultural anthropologist. By


photograph in changing street styles, he has built up an archive


of thousands of photos that document the real history of


fashion. I don't design anything, I'll let the street speak to me. In


order for the street to speak to you, you've got to stay out there


and see what it is. You don't manufacture in your head skirts to


the knee, but you photograph people with skirts on the knee. You've got


to stay on the street and let the street tell you what it is. And the


streets seemed to be speaking to a lot of people these days. Armed


with just a digital camera and a Wi-Fi connection, a new legion of


street style photographers are hitting the pavements. A excuse me,


sir. Can I have two seconds of your time? I'd like to take a picture of


your outfit. Daily updates of fashion as it happens are up Lotah


to any number of popular and influential Street Style blogs. --


are uploaded. Beautiful. How long do you usually have to spend


outside looking for people? Five to six hours. Every day? Every day.


you look at style blogs ever? don't. But what I do like to see


his Bill Cunningham's... I like when a photograph real people, not


fashion editors. Sometimes you take a shot and you get goosebumps. You


feel like you've failed it. It doesn't matter where you get your


clothes from, it's the way you wear it and the way you look when you


And nowhere is there more swagger than at fashion Week. Throngs of


bloggers and photographers gather. Not to document the action on the


catwalk, but to photograph the fashion show audience and even each


other. The whole street style things certainly came out of the


blogosphere. We noticed that London Fashion Week was bowl of the most


incredible peacock parade of these people who clearly spend hours


getting dressed in the hope that they would be photographed, and


indeed they were photographed. But as it goes on, it's become much


more universal and democratic. And it's not part of the mainstream.


Grazia, Britain's biggest-selling weekly fashion magazine, features


both fashion shoots and street style reporting. It's like a real-


life fashion show and Readers respond to that. Do you think it


street style will take over from the traditional fashion magazines?


I don't think it will. It's part of the mix. Part of what the appeal of


fashion is, it's the fantasy element. There's part of the main


fashion story, which is like a film set. We love to indulge in that and


get carried away by the fashion dream. But another part of it is


that people are hugely inspired by other people. Women have always


looked at what other women have warned. To put them in a magazine


on a full page of glorious colour is a fabulous fascination for


people. How much can be Credit bill Cunningham with the rise of street


style photography? Hugely. He started the whole thing. Before the


internet, before any of that, he was out there doing it. Suddenly we


find and 83-year-old man is bang on trend again - how fantastic! Street


style is not only on Trent. It's also on the money. The fashion


industry has embraced the aesthetic. Just look at recent campaigns from


All of this is a long way from what motivates Bill Cunningham. It took


the film-makers 80 years to persuade him to have the camera


turned on him. And what emerges is a window into a surprising, spartan


life. He lives in a tide - a tiny studio filled with filing cabinets.


He say - that he wears the same style of jacket every day. Central


to this lifestyle is the pursuit of creative freedom. If you don't take


money, they can't tell you what to do, Kid. That's the key to the


whole thing. Don't touch money. It's the worst thing you can do.


He'd probably never acknowledge it, but in his own way, Bill Cunningham


is the pioneer of a fashion phenomenon. Street style


photography may have been appropriated by the mainstream


fashion industry, but as the documentary that bears his name


testified, Bill Cunningham remains a true artistic outsider. One who


has used his life to celebrate those who use clothes to be


beautiful and different, too. Bill Cunningham New York is out in


cinemas on March 16th. Still to come... Mark Kermode's boat trip


with cult director Paolo Sorrentino. And my art date with Florence Welch.


First, to music. A conductor who has to realise the composers dreams


must master not just a single instrument but an entire orchestra.


And yet the craft remains shrouded in mystery. Clemency Burton-Hill


took to the skies to meet rising star Alexander Shelley, who shed


light on the elusive role of the Before the 19th century there was


no such thing as a conductor. Once viewed as little more than a


glorified timekeeper, the maestro has since become one of the most


revered and intriguing figures in classical music. And today's


conductors on to just planted on the podium. They are just as likely


to be jet-setting around the globe as a DJ or pop star. Which means


that even when they are just down the road, you have to catch a


Famed for their persistence. And passion. It's got to be like one


person singing his heart out. conductor is the beating heart of


any orchestra. We need a generation of conductors that are able to


communicate meaning. Conductors who can stand up and says something, in


this world that's fallen apart in front of our very eyes. One such


conductor making waves in Germany and across the globe is the 32-


year-old Brit, Alexander Shelley. As principal conductor of the


Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, he is one of the youngest music directors


Born into a musical family, Alexander made his name in 2005


when he won the prestigious Leeds We often associate conductors with


being a lot older than you. You clearly bring a huge amount of


freshness and youth to this, but how much does that affect your


authority, the fact that you are much younger than quite a few


members of your orchestra? Well, music, the great music that we


perform, is written by young people. From Mozart to Mendelssohn,


Schumann to show band. It is performed by them for young people.


Virtually none of the people I mentioned lived beyond 40. It is


music of youth, music of dynamism, music of passion and excitement. As


long as the intentions are true, you really believe in the thing and


you are trying to achieve something exciting, and I personally don't


think about my age. But for the first few years, one of the


greatest challenges of being a young conductor is the learning


curve is huge. You are standing in front of brilliant, experienced


professionals. The responsibility How do you define the role of a


conductor? What is expected of a conductor is so varied. To start


with, a clear, deep and precise technical knowledge, both of how an


orchestra functions, how it is to be balanced, how to tune courts.


How a composer has technically put the music together. Beyond that,


how to turn all of these technical ideas into musical ideas, and


transport people from the world of the real to the world of fantasy.


Is there something more mundane, more earthbound to conducting that


has to do with simply keeping time, keeping the orchestra together?


There is. It's a complex business but the most basic nuts and bolts


are with the right hand I give him polls. If you reduce it to its


beginnings, it's like a metronome without making a noise. So an


orchestra has a beat without it disturbing the audience. Nowadays


it can express anything you want to. The colour and energy of the music.


With the left hand you can show where a phrase is going. Open and


close a phrase. You can show specific entries for members of the


orchestra who have been waiting for a while. Is one of the things that


defines a really great orchestra their ability to read you? Yes.


There are some incredible orchestras were you make the


movement of your eyebrow and something happens in the sound.


They are aware of the physiology of the conductor. The better the


orchestra, the higher the stakes for the conductor because there is


One of the reasons that classical music often feels scary is because


people think, I don't understand it, I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed


to react. It's part of your job to open it up to people so they know


their response to it is valid. I am conducting in front of an


orchestra, I will often have an image in mind, either of an actual


story that is being told all of an emotion that is being expressed or


philosophy that's being expressed. And I will use my body to move the


music in a way that I feel Best tells the story and expresses the


demotion. But as we know, everybody feels he motions differently. I


think it is wrong to expect of an audience that they all have the


same feeling. Indeed, the beauty of great art is that it means many,


many things and there are many, many truths. That's why we need to


Alexander Shelley will be conducting the Royal Liverpool


Philharmonic on March 15th and the 18th. Next, we turned to the road


movie. Thankfully not on this! And Paolo Sorrentino's new film, This


Must Be The Place. It features no fewer than two Oscar winners, Sean


Penn and France's McDormand, and it's his first feature film in the


English language. Mark Kermode got behind the wheel to find out more.


The road movie is part of the DNA of American cinema. Taking on what


has become the US' signature John there can be a bumpy ride,


especially if you are an outsider for whom English isn't your first


language. In that This Must Be The Place, Italian film director Paolo


Sorrentino puts Sean Penn behind the wheel. He plays an ageing rock


star who tries to track down his father's Nazi persecutor from World


War II. They are both rather pedantic. My instinct tells me that


pedantry is an essential characteristic for capturing Nazis.


True. But solitary is the playground of resentment. It seemed


like the perfect time to hit the road and track down the director,


whose work I have long admired. My journey didn't take me to Hollywood.


Welcome to The Culture Show. Can you tell me about the Goth rock


star character who in his look is a bit Robert Smith from the Cure, a


bit Edwards is a hands. Tell me about him. This movie is about


things that I loved in my adolescence, the cure and the


lifestyle of Robert Smith. So I took some parts of that biography


for the main character. Did you dress as a Goth? A little bit, but


I was always afraid to become... How did Sean Penn become involved


in the film? I met him at the Cannes Film Festival. He said


something like it would be interesting to work together, and


in that precise moment, I decided - - I decided to work on a movie for


him. Sean Penn has a reputation of being very serious. Is he fun to


work with? Sean Penn is very serious in the work, but he is a


very funny guy. So for me it was surprising to have a kind of


relationship about the funny things. He is very ironic, and it was


perfect for that character. What do you want me to play? Hajj by arcade


-- This Must Be The Place. Where were you going? I was just seeing


Sorrentino is clearly a hard man to say no to. David Byrne also co-


stars in the movie. In fact, This Must Be The Place takes its title


from a talking Heads song. I asked him to do the soundtrack. He was


afraid of playing himself, but then we convinced him to play himself,


The cast list goes on to include bona's daughter as a Ukhov groupie,


and Frances McDormand play is the star's long-suffering but adoring


Did you do the bike? Did you do it? I have read that if you couldn't


get Frances McDormand to play his wife, you would have made him a


widow? Yes. I wrote her a letter, and they said, if you don't play


the wife, I would change the script. For me, she is the only actress


Sorrentino's films are known for their exploration of the darker


side of Italian life - corruption, obsession and the Mafia. His film


LDV no one international acclaim in 2008. It is an irreverent by Opec -


- biopic. He comes across as a vampire. Yes, because the first


time I met the real Andreotti, it was a sunny day in the morning, but


he had all the shutters closed. So I decided to do that character in


that way. In all his movies, Sorrentino uses bold and grandee is


visuals with or elaborate, audacious camera moves. It has


become his hallmark. How do you keep a balance between directing


the performances and the complicated choreography of the


visuals? I do their homework before shooting. I work a lot out before.


Ridley Scott once said that for him, the camera moves were his


performance. I completely agree. is the same for you? In 90% of the


cases, the actors can do it without the help of the director. But that


10% is important. Paolo, think you very much.


And This Must Be The Place opens in cinemas on 6th April. I am standing


in the 16th century gallery of the Wallace Collection, a treasure


trove stuffed with master works of the baroque and Renaissance period.


Pop musicians have and often drawn inspiration from the world of high


art, but there is one notable exception to that, as I found out


when I met up with Florence Welch of Florence and the machine at the


National Gallery. They are not many pop stars to be


found walking there corridors of the National Gallery in the dead of


night, but Florence Welch is the kind of pop star we haven't seen


for a while. Her music brings the great themes of the Renaissance


into the 21st century - love, death, sex and, of course, God. It is high


church indie rock, with organs blasting and a big dose of drama.


Given her Italian its name, it is apt that I meet her in the


Renaissance gallery to find out a bit more about the art that


Is going to galleries something you do? A respite from the madness of


being on tour? It is, actually. It is something we try to do in every


city we go to. Just the sense of being outside yourself. I also like


the atmosphere of galleries. Some people might think it is an unusual


preoccupation for somebody in the modern music business to be


interested in Renaissance art, but in this gallery, all these pictures


about emotion, hopeless love, compassion, a desire to fly. Some


of your songs are about these sorts of things. There is a lot of drama


going on in this room, and amazing wallpaper, as well. You have come


dressed as National Gallery wallpaper! What you look for in a


wall -- in a painting? Are I am always attracted to drama and


passion. I like this one a lot. She looks very serene, which are think


a lot of the Renaissance paintings of martyrs, they do, it is about to


that sense of transcendence, the spirit going somewhere better. I


like the physicality of this one. I have definitely pulled that pose in


I imagine this might be a picture that I would have thought might


appeal to you, because it is doing a lot of things in a way that your


music does. At first, it is very beautiful, because the more you


look, the more disturbing it is. I saw it as a canvas for a laugh, and


they think, is that syphilis? Technically, it is jealousy. But we


think that might be syphilis, as well, because the has the symptoms


such as the rotting teeth. And we have got this strange half the


Sphinx, who seems to be holding a cake? She is pleasure. She looks


like an innocent, sweet little girl, but she has a sting in the tail. So


if you go the route of pleasure, as Cupid and his mother are somewhat


incestuously doing, syphilis might be the consequence. This was given


to the King of France by the McGeachie, who was a famously


lubricious monarch, and syphilis was known as the French disease.


Some people think it was a sort of gift with a sting in the tile. I


don't know if that is true. I am always attracted to the big


things, because I feel like they last. Sex, time, death, violence.


There is never going to be an updated version of Death, is there?


Or the new updated version of Love or pain. They are eternal. I think


we are always trying to find ways of not feeling, but they keep


cropping up. So we have done transcendence and sex. Do think we


should go and find some other great What are profoundly more big


picture we have decided to end on. There is a bit of last involved as


well, because the Hunter surprised Diana when she was paving, and she


took revenge by turning him into a stack, and he is killed by his own


hands. -- turning him into a stand. She is rebuffing his advances in


the most extreme way by turning the emblems of his masculinity against


him. It seems like a very personal


picture. Do you think he was rebuffed? I think it is partly a


Titian painting, a fading memory of every beautiful woman he has ever


seen. He knows he is not up to it any more, knows he is on the way


out. It is a picture about encroaching death. It is a picture


that almost feels like autumn. There is no glowing marbled flesh,


and the colours are all rusty and autumnal. There are no bright blues,


even the fault of the fabrics seem to be merging together. It is


fantastically ambiguous. He still wants her, even though she is


killing him. Maybe you should write a song about it. I'd definitely, I


think I have got one with hunting. I love you so much, I am going to


let you kill me. I have got it as a line in a song. But that is the


line from a power Mysore, but the That's it for tonight. Next week,


Dexy's Midnight Runners, sculptor Anthony Caro and author Irvine


Welsh. But to play us out, performance poet Elvis McGonagall's


sometimes edgy take on our beloved Change, Optimism, Hope.


Progress, Energy, Vigour. Modest, Moderate, Modern. Brighter, Better,


Bigger. Conservative, Compassionate, Communal. Black, Muslim, Gay. Young,


Green, Martian. Work, Rest, Play. Responsible, Tangible, Real.


Motivation, Dedication, Aspiration. Empower, Enhance, Improve.


Location, Location, Location. Vision, Ambition, Intuition.


Courage, Resolve, Expertise. Beliefs, Values, Dreams. Eats,


Shoots, Leaves. On, My, Bike.


Eco, Friendly, Guy. Recycle, Renew, Relax.


Look, No, Tie. Liberty, Equality, Paternity. Women, Babies, Men. Co-


operation, Cohesion, Cocaine? Never, Ever, Again. Trusting, Caring,


Sharing. Rebecca, Rupert, Andy. Emerson, Lake, Palmer. Yankee,


Doodle, Dandy. Beanz, Meanz, Heinz. Ready, Steady, Go. Leg, Before,


Wicket. Edgar, Allen, Poe. Mary, Mungo, Midge. Beverly, Hills, Cop.


Yabba, Dabba, Doo. Snap, Crackle, Pop. Keep, It, Real. Watch, Me,


Blog. Pimp, My, Ride. Snoop, Doggie, Dogg. Boo, Ya, Shaka. In, Da, Hood.


Super, Smashing, Great. Finger, Lickin', Good. Suit, You, Sir. Are,


Friends, Electric? Want, That, One. Vorsprung, Durch, Technik. Ganja,


Skunk, Weed. Bloody, Nice, Bloke. Sun, Shiney, Day. Blobby, Blobby,


Blobby. Gabba, Gabba, Hey. Drivel, Piffle, Bilge. Yackety, Yack, Yack.


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