Read this week: Zodiac by Ai Weiwei
Chinese contemporary artist, documentarian, and activist Ai Weiwei reflects on his childhood exile to Western China and the impact of the Cultural Revolution in his first graphic novel, where freedom and kindness are consequently two major themes. The book’s illustrator, Costantini, is a political cartoonist whose line art is characterised by microscopic detail. Each panel constitutes its own elegant work, spanning hundreds of images across the entire book. In this beautifully illustrated, deeply philosophical memoir, Weiwei explores the connection between artistic expression and intellectual freedom through the lens of the Chinese zodiac.
Binge this week: Alexander, The Making of a God
Created in the new hybrid format which combines interviews with extensive scripted reenactments, the docuseries aims to give context to the dramatic scenes that are playing out, but what ends up happening is that neither the experts nor the drama get enough space to really breathe. The subject would have been better served if it was not a mish-mash of both. Alexander must be turning in his grave because of the inaccuracy of the historical events, the forced acting and fake drama, that would also be quite distressing for history nerds.
Watch this week: 60 Minutes
This German-produced action thriller is a countdown drama clocks in at just under 90 minutes, with protagonist Octavio [Emilio Sakraya], an MMA fighter on a deadline to get to his ex’s house to be at his daughter’s birthday party. If he doesn’t get there in 60 minutes, he misses the party and loses her custody. Not much of a story or emotional content, but lots of action as the rash and impulsive Octavio dashes from point A to point B in this race against time. Watch if deadlines don’t wear you out.
Listen this week: Ahead Of The Game by Mark Knopfler
If you can’t wait for One Deep River, his new solo album dropping in April, here is the preceding lead single you can listen on repeat. Former Dire Straits frontman and guitar legend, Mark Knopfler has returned with a dreamy, propulsive spin on the expert-level guitar-pop that has been kicking out for decades. With a country, blues and folk vibe all thrown together, Knopfler’s tasteful and sweet guitar tones and his characteristic dark almost talk-like singing as he precisely delivers the lyrics, the song is a shuffling, mid-tempo melodic rock.
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