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Hello and welcome to The Culture Show from the royal adad mi. We are
talking vision Rhys and dissenters. Sculpture and Savages, Mormonism
and musicals. Coming up: blockbuster bronzes,
from creators Matt Parker. And director Oliver Stone on
Savages, his latest gory tale. First up, the Royal Academy has
crossed continents and five menia in the name of their new show, the
aim to bring together in one place, some of the planet's most
extraordinary bronze sculptures. My old friend Danny Katz has been
buying and selling sculpture for 40 years. I asked him to join me in
picking out some of the most remarkable objects from this truly
great exhibition. Beautiful bronze. From the minuture
to the monumental. Bronze has been Chericked as an -- cherished since
an antiquity. Made from a mixture of copper, tin,
zing and lead, it has cast its artistic spell down through the
ages. The exhibition is arranged theme
atically, from the ancient world to the present day.
First up on our tour is the dancing satire, recovered from the depths
of the Sicilyian sea. It's not a bad start. Could you
imagine the lucky fisherman who went out to catch his fish one day
and got that in the met. I met the fisherman and he told me that when
the figure came up, it came up headfirst out of the water, it
danced out of the water, with fish and crabs, screaming from the hole
in the head. Look at the drama in its face. Extraordinary, the way
the tension in his face is pulled back. He is in full flight, having
a go. I love the way they put it in this gallery, a dark blue gallery,
as if to suggest the sea from which it came. Look at that, like it's
taking off. We have live-off. -- Look at that, I didn't know they
had those here. Here they are three of the great monumental bronze
sculptures of the of the Florentin Renaissance. They are by a chap
Rusticci, whose work you have bought and sold. What do you think
about it? Obviously the catalogue has been written by a knowledgable
scholar, but he's wrong. These are by da Vinci. You say that quietly.
I don't say it in jest. There is only one man who could have
designed drapery like that. That's come out of a sketch book by da
Vinci. That hand out stretched. That is like da Vinci's signature.
Leonardo helped with these skull.Ures. -- sculptures. It can't
get better. It can't get better. Oh, no, look
at this, my goodness gracious. Donatello, look at him. He is your
favourite artist of all time. he is actually having fun with this.
This is the mind of a genius, a man developing an idea, a form, a shape,
this is the one object so far I photoally covered -- totally
covered. You want to take it home couldn't live with something like
this. We learn from this. What did he do with bronze that he couldn't
have done with another medium. carve this in one piece of marble
would have been impossible, but he was fascinated by the use of bronze.
He was the first man to make a full-scale individual statue.
can reinvent the whole form, you are not impressoned by the block of
marble. No, because it's more solid, it is strong letter. For those who
come to the Royal Academy and engage with this object, it is just
about enjoyment and fulfilment and happiness. It's good good for the
soul. Next to room seven which contains something a little strange.
When I first saw this, I thought Mexico? No. Is it Mexico? What is
it, ancient Viking what could it be? It says here it's English, to
ward off evil spirits. Durham cathedral. I am a bit of evil in my
dad. That's a scary bugger, look at that thing. That would scare any
bit of evil out of anyone. It's not a Gargoyle. If you look at the side,
it's got teeth like a mantra. Think of the noise that's going to make.
Clang and boom boom! I'm scared! I need a cup of tea. To calm our
spirits, we enter room 10, to look at one of the show's most
astonishing pieces. I think summing up this exhibition, with this
amazing new discovery from Bulgaria says something about the durability,
lasting process of casting in bronze, because this has been --
had this been made in stone or terracotta, it wouldn't be here
today. It's like a face, still alive. He's staring out at us with
those eyes. Did you see a photograph of the chap who
discovered this, an aged archaeologist. He would only wear
under pants, he was known as the great underpant archaeologist. If a
modern day film director was going to make a film about ancient Greece,
this would be it. This is something else. It is absolutely amazing.
think that is the pinacle of this exhibition, one of the last things,
we get this high art, high culture and it continues throughout the
whole exhibition, this great high quality of bronze. It is ever
lasting, lasts forever and it is here for us to wonder and marvel at.
It's like it was created yesterday. Extraordinary.
Bronze is at the Royal Academy until 9th December. Next something
foul mouthed, scatheingly satirical and multi-award winning. The Book
Of Mormon is a musical created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the
team behind South Park. It tells the story of two Mormon boys sent
on a mission to Africa. The show hits these shores next year but
first it's touring the US and last week saw its glittering premiere in
Hollywood. Hollywood stars are out in force
for the LA opening of The Book Of Mormon, a musical from the creators
of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The plot is take two of
these kids, white boys that grew up in a privileged, in a really nice
middle American Mormon home in Utah and we send them to, like, the most
war torn famine stricken ravaged part of Africa.
In this scene the missionaries belatedly discover the local song
has a blasphemous English transation. -- translation. Holy
moly, I said it like 13 times. we were first doing the show on
Broadway, they were saying are you ready for the bash lash lash we
thought there won't be one. We live in a same free country that allows
us to practise our religion. And it was like exactly what it really
should say. # This was the time for me to step
up, so why was I so scared. # A warlord who shoots people in
the face, what is so scary about that. The songs dictate where the
show goes. # I believe that the lord God
created the universe # I believe that he sent his only
son to die for my sins # And I believe that ancient Jews
built boats and sailed to America For a lot of people out there, in a
lot of ways a Mormon represents an American period. And it is like the
ultimate version of the overly happy-go-lucky, overly nice, trying
to pretend everything is OK, and not that bright about the actual
goings on of the world. The naive cheesy optimism that more Mondays
have is a sort of an American thing. # I am a Mormon
and a Mormon just believes The Book Of Mormon has enjoyed huge
commercial and critical success, already racking up nine Tony Awards.
The winner is The Book Of Mormon. Next year the show is heading to
London's West End, something its creators never envisaged. The fact
we are talking about coming to London is crazy. We have always
said we are 40%-ers, maybe 20%. 40% of people like our stuff but the
ones that like it really like it. The Book Of Mormon opens in London
next March. The actor Colin Firth has been busy recently, not chasing
his latest Oscar but helping to to compile a book. The People Speak
tells the story of our nation through the voices of the
dissenters and ordinary folk who took on the establishment. On
Sunday, a star studded cast assembled at London's Tabernacle to
speak the stirring words afresh. Clemency Burton-Hill went along.
I am Arthur king of the Britons. Whose castle is that? King of the
who? The Britons. What What who are the Britons? I didn't know we had a
king. We are living in a dictatorship, which working class...
Bringing class into it again. Conceived in America, the people's
speak is the brainchild of Howard Howard Zin. By traumatising
speeches and songs, the project aims to bring to life the American
story through the voices of its people. Anthony Arnove has joined
forces with Colin tpeurt to bring the idea across the pond and turn
the spotlight on to British history. In Britain we have a tradition of
being sceptical of actors who embrace causes and turn into
activists, but how important is it to get the likes of Colin Firth
involved? Colin got involved organically. He saw an American
production and was moved by it and felt these words needed to be heard
in England. I am going to be reading a a clip from Harold Pinter.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described
as a mass murderer and war criminal. 100,000? More than enough I would
have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair will arraigned
before the international criminal Courts of Justice.
The scope of the project is vast. Covering the movements and issues
that shaped, rocked and defined the nation, but from an individual's
perspective, reminding us that democracy is built from the bottom
up. When a man says he is free, does he mean he is wholly,
independent in thought and deed or does he mean he's not doing
anything at the moment. I am excited to be start to be part
of something that is celebrating the lunatic fringe or say what
people are thinking from the heart and we are at the beginning of the
movement, trying to get those voices not mainstream.
The great thing about Margaret Thatcher was that she left us in
absolutely no doubt. One of the things that is striking
in the book is that these things for which we take for granted now
were acts of treason when they are first pos eted and often the people
advocating for them lost their lives. Absolutely. The things we
consider as basic rights were once crimes. Nous terribly long ago.
People were tortured for them. say we are rebels, because there is
no other way open to us of obtaining redress for the
grievances, grave grievances Which? Women have. You have a powerful
moment in British history, amazing female trail brazer. I am thrilled
and honoured to be reading the speech. It's quite an empowering
moment for her. I think you just see that ferocity she had. I mean
to be a voter in the land that gave me birth or that they shall kill me.
And my challenge to the government is this: kill me or give me my
freedom. I shall force you to make that choice. Campaigning and
outspoken women feature heavily in both the book and the performance.
Virginia Woolf was one of the woman who stuck her head above the
parapet. How important is it for those words to be head by an
audience?. I am reading from her book a room of one's own, it was
written to be spoken, and when you read it to yourself, it is a very
different different thing. Off relationship to her thought and you
find yourself talk to go her in your head. When you stand up and
read it out loud, you are appealing to a collective. It is a rally, it
is a cry. It is a very thoughtful and interesting and intelligent cry
but it still becomes a rally and cry for change.
At last nick green the actor manager took pity on her, she found
herself with child by that gentleman and so who shall measure
the heat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a
woman's body, killed herself one winter's night and lies buried at
some crossroads where the omnibuses now stop. That, more or less, is
how the story would run, I think, if a woman in Shakespeare's day had
Shakespeare's genius. It is people who stepped outside the norm of
their day, to speak on an issue where it was considered unpopular.
This is a book of people who did that and as a result of that, we
have the freedoms we do enjoy today. But there are also freedoms that
can be erode d. I believe despite the enormous odds which exist,
unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination as
citizens to redefine the real truth of our lives and our societies is a
crucial, obligation which deinvolves upon us all. It is, in
fact, mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in
our political vision, we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly
lost to us. The dignity of man. Next tonight, director Oliver
Stone's the man behind such major movies as JFK, platoon and Natural
Born Killers. Soy say he's bold, some think he's merely obsessed by
graphic violence, but many agree he's been rather off the boil in
recent years. But does his latest film Savages mark a return to form.
Here's Mark Kermode. Oliver Stone's new film Savages is
a son and blood soaked triler from Starting as a screen writer, stone
made his mark mark directing Platoon, Born on 4th July, Nixon
and JFK and Wall Street. Why do you need to wreck this company? You are
made many films in which you have not one lead, but a selection of
leads. Tell me about the difficulties of working with an
ensemble. A pain in the ass. On Savages it was six actors, three
young people, and they are not as experienced as Benecio or John or
sell ma. They are like pupies. It is a different chemistry.
The plot of Stone's latest film follows some pop dealers as their
existence is blown apart when they refuse to join forces with a
violent mex kal drug cartel. want out of the dope business, it's
been a drag. You are making a mistake. This leads to the kidnap
of their shared girlfriend played by Blake Lively. Can you describe
sell ma high eck's character, because he has been described as a
dragon lady fill and for me she is the centre of the film. She is
speaks for herself. I wouldn't have a problem, cutting both their
throats. She was The head of a cartel but losing power in Mexico.
She's been betrayed from within and from without and she is slipping.
Universal at the beginning of the of the movie said are you sure she
is right for this movie. She doesn't seem tough enough. And I
said I know her personally, she's one tough lady. Is everything all
right? Yes, why you ask? realistic is Dell Torro's character.
He is a really evil figure, he has an extraordinary hair arrangement,
he exudes nastiness. He did some very strange things. That's your
bed, that is your toilet, that is your sink. No tooth brush? You want
to use my finger. John Travolta is a fascinating
character, he is an agent who is corrupt. In an ironic way, it is
Travolta who is the seiziest guy in the -- sleaziest guy in the whole
cast. Just a matter of time before they legalise it. I take the deal
instead of decaptation. It is a work of entertainment, but do you
think of it as a political statement?. No, I have given up on
the drug war. You have 42 years of hypocrisy going on on where the
money has gotten bigger and the drugs have got more plentiful and
more profitable. The prison system in the US has exploded because of
drugs. A huge number of inmates are people who committed victimless
crimes, like smoking grass. I don't see anything wrong with marijuana,
it's been made illegal in the US. But the federal government doesn't
agree. Does it matter to you how the film is received critically.
The interesting thing is that the reviews are divided? I didn't read
reviews. Do you never? I will in a year. I don't want to get hurt too
much, because I do. You get hurt by that stuff? Yes, I get hurt by it,
yes. I get hurt by not being understood. I like to be understood.
What can people expect from Savages. What did you get out of it.
thought you were having more fun than in the last three films you
have made because you were working a film primarily a work of
entertainment. It's not fun to make a movie, it's hard. Is it not fun?.
It's like being a quarterback on a football team and trying to get
down the field. He enjoys it after he wins.
Savages is released on Friday. Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer Prize
for her last novel a visit for the good squad. Her latest work Black
Box was published in the United States as a series of tweets, while
here it's only being released as an E book. Gimmick or the future?
Grace Dent has been considering the matter.
Earlier this year, eager readers waited with baited breath for the
next instalment from Jennifer Egan. I love twitter. But I think that if
I had written a bestselling zeitgeisty novel like Jennifer Egan,
I would have wanted to cash in on my next novel. I wouldn't have
risked it by putting it on on twitter. I track her down in New
York and asked her why she did it? Hello. Why did you decide to
publish via twitter? You are not a big tweeter, are you? I have had a
terrible time with diviter. I thought maybe I would want to tweet,
I was interested in it, but I found I couldn't find the right attitude
or persona that made tweeting as myself feel natural, so that is the
extent of my tweeting. But my interest in twitter remains,
despite the failure at it personally. I found myself
wondering what kind of story would benefit from being read
individually in the way that they would be if it were actually
tweeted in real time. Necessary ingredients for a successful
projection, giggles, shiness, the goal is to be both irrestistible
and invisible. When you succeed, a certain sharpness will go out of
his eyes. I was looking for some kind of voice that could work in
this tweeting form, and I found myself thinking about, imagining a
female spy in the south of France, delivering bulletins about what
she's doing, not in the form of descriptions of the action, like I
did this, this happened, that seemsically sayed but in the
lessons she der derives in the action. A button is imed on your
right knee, depress twice to indicate to loved ones you are well
and thinking of them. You may send this signal only once a day. A
continuous depression of the button indicates an emergency. Do you
think twitter could be the future of the novel, or is it just a
playground for procrastinating people like me who spend too much
time on the internet?. I think the novel has always been a very ecleck
tick plexible form, few look at earlier novels. Some are really
wild, swaggering, endeavours using all kinds of discourse and bending
it to their purposes, whether it is legal discourse, letter writing,
all the the technological possibilities, they were using. It
is part of the history and the rational for the novel to grab hold
of whatever is around and bend it to its its purposes. What will the
novel look like in 20, 30 years, we have no idea. That wraps it up for
tonight. Make sure you don't miss next week's culture show when we
have a special interview with JK Rowling and exclusive readings from
The Casual Vacancy, her first aimed purely at grownups. We will leave