From Baba Yaga to Hermione Granger: why we’re spellbound by ‘witcherature’

Vengeful, seductive, feminist, misogynist … witches have appeared in many forms in literature. Now a new generation of novelists are falling under their spell A witch is a woman who has too much power. Or, to quote the novelist #MeToo world, where Donald Trump a fan of the term witch-hunt is US president, it is really no surprise that female writers are examining the role of the witch in new ways. Since Trumps election, which inspired mass spell-casting by thousands of resistance witches (the selection of judge Circe, Millers reimagining of the story of the witch from the Odyssey. Shortlisted for the Womens prize and soon to become an HBO series, the novel sees Circe, a victim of rape, turn …

Fight and flight: how Glow continues to show women at their best and worst

In the third season of Netflixs consistently entertaining comedy series about female wrestlers, characters are allowed to be messy in and out of the ring In the opening scene of season three of Glow, the Netflix comedy about a group of misfit actors who end up becoming female wrestlers, an interviewer speaks with the co-leads Debbie and Ruth about their shows exciting move to Las Vegas. Both women are dressed as their respective wrestling personas, Liberty Bell, the beautiful all-American girl defending the USA and Zoya the Destroyer, her slinky nemesis from Soviet Russia. True to their parts, Liberty Bell delightedly extols the wonders of Vegas while Zoya complains that the glitzy town is a revolting display of capitalism. Then, …

Une Femme Douce review Bresson’s transcendent reflection on marriage

The French directors 1969 spectacle about the wife of a pawnbroker who kills herself is still difficult, devastating and captivating 50 years on Rfilm of the same name by Sergei Loznitsa in 2017). It was his first colour film, and the colours themselves appear muted and darkened, as if from a neglected church tapestry. Dominique Sanda plays Elle, the delicate young wife of a pawnbroker (that ominous Dostoevskian trope) who takes her own life by jumping from the balcony of their handsome Paris apartment, leaving no suicide note or explanation. The eerily calm widower Luc (Guy Frangin) his face set in the mask of suppressed emotion that he wore throughout their unhappy marriage explains the course of their relationship to …

Sleater-Kinney: Music has always been the playground of mens sexuality

The feminist punks new album, produced by St Vincent and inspired in part by a Rihanna song, is their most expansive yet. So why did their drummer just quit the band? By now, we know reunion culture is a con. The brief excitement of seeing a favourite band re-form is swiftly tempered by watching them resentfully trot out the hits and confront their mortality. Plus, the past is no longer a novelty but our perpetual groundhog day of recycled franchises and rebooted brands. Which is why Sleater-Kinneys surprise return, in 2015, nine years after they went on hiatus, was so refreshing. Not content to rehash old glories, the feminist punks had a brilliant new album, the riotous, new wavy No …

How we made Moon by Sam Rockwell and Duncan Jones

We were concerned the audience wouldnt know which clone was which. We talked about using a wig, but I stole Ratso Rizzos cough for the sick clone Duncan Jones, director I wanted Sam Rockwell to play the villain in Mute, a film I later made for Silent Running, Kevin Spacey, their look. While we were working on it in London, we ordered so much food from Mexicali on Fulham Road that we ended up using their takeaway boxes for Sams space rations. We built the moon base as a full 360-degree set and we would seal the cast and crew in at the start of the day. That set gave us confidence, though it cost close to a third of …

Swinging 60s surrealist Penny Slinger: ‘Collectors thought I came with the art’

She made psychic dolls houses, erotic wedding cakes and full-frontal collages. But the world wasnt ready for her powerful personal visions. Is Lady Picasso about to get her dues? Penelope Slinger has never done anything by halves. She remembers drawing her first really accomplished picture in 1952, when she was four and a half. It was of her parents completely naked. They were terribly proud but too embarrassed to show their friends. Then, when she was nine, she was expelled from her Surrey convent school for waving a sanitary towel out of a bus window. A child psychologist informed her parents that she wasnt mad, she was simply an artist, and they should do what they could to support her. …

8 Essential Books in the Queer Comics Canon

More than a decade ago, when Batwoman was reimagined as a gay character, it was a big deal. She was a woman in comics who dated and danced with other women, experienced heartbreak, and went through many of the mundanities of relationships that queer people aren't often afforded in mainstream media. Katherine "Kate" Kane was revolutionary. She was, and is, also not alone. LGBTQ+ people are now featured in a lot of comics. In fact, when it comes to queer representation, the Marvel and DC movies and television shows are pretty far behind their paperback counterparts. Batwoman is only just now getting a her own show, and Marvel is promising that a gay character is coming, but such a character …

Mothers who have abortions: what to do with TVs third rail?

Most women who terminate a pregnancy are already mothers but we rarely see that on screen. Australian comedy The Letdown is the latest show to tackle the taboo We got a beautiful email from a viewer last week, says Sarah Scheller, co-creator of the ABCs The Letdown. It said, That was my scenario. I cant believe I just saw it on screen. Women who have abortions are only just now beginning to see themselves depicted on screens, but for a certain subgroup women who are already mothers when they decide to terminate the taboo is stronger than ever. Its a taboo that Schellers low-key comedy was determined to quietly break. The Letdown follows Audrey: a middle-class woman, played by Schellers …

Meet the 10-year-old drag kid shaping the future of drag youth

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is open about his marriage to his husband, Chasten ButtigiegImage: joe raedle/Getty Images Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg isn’t in the mood to back down.  The Indiana mayor has endured multiple homophobic attacks in recent weeks. But in an interview with columnist Jonathan Capehart at New York City’s 92nd Street Y Wednesday night, Buttigieg didn’t minimize his relationship with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg. “What would you say to the Franklin Grahams of the world, the Mike Pences of the world, who have an issue with the LGBTQ community?” Capehart asked Buttigieg. “I guess I would say that we all have a lot to repent for,” Buttigieg said. “I have a lot to repent for when it comes to …

Michael Sheen: Anything I do, I commit to

Michael Sheens many roles, from Caligula to Blair, have always been full-blooded. But now its social injustice that really gets him going, says Tim Lewis One of the things the actor David Lynch, Sheens all-time favourite director, was one: Oh God, as a David Lynch fan, he was everything you could possibly want. Laurie Anderson, avant garde artist, composer and partner of Lou Reed. Now, says Sheen, when I was 11 or 12 one of the first singles I ever bought was O Superman. Ive played it all my life to people, it used to drive them mad, and Ive made my daughter listen to it, so she has a weird thing about it now. Its had a huge effect …

Parasite review creepy invasion of the lifestyle snatchers

Bong Joon-hos bizarre black comedy about a rich Korean family and a poor one in a modern-day Downton Abbey situation gets its tendrils in you BPark Chan-wooks The Handmaiden, an adaptation of the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Walters; and also Lee Chang-dongs 2018 film Burning). Song Kang-ho plays Ki-taek, a shiftless, unemployed man who lives in a chaotic, stinky and squalid basement with his wife, Chung-sook, his smart yet cynical twentysomething daughter, Ki-jung (Park So-dam), and son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik). They are all out of work and out of cash. Then Ki-woo gets a stroke of fortune: an old school-friend helps him get a lucrative tutoring job. With a fake college diploma created by Ki-jung, he shows up at the …

After sex on the damp sheets, we passed out the worst moments from Mobys memoir

Natalie Portman has disputed the musicians account of their relationship. But fear not: his new book has plenty more steamy stories You can tell a lot about Mobys second memoir, the follow-up to his 2016 effort, Porcelain, from its title: Then It Fell Apart. You can tell even more from its preface, about how it came into being: After finishing the book, rather than go to therapy, I kept writing. Then It Fell Apart, charting Mobys lost decade, is a globe-spanning morality tale (so the publishers say) with so many dropped names that the index, if it had one, would make the book half as long again. Although it was published earlier in the month, this week it made headlines …

Andy Warhol’s friendship with Jean-Michel Basquiat revealed in 400 unseen photos

Book offers voyeuristic glimpse into the two artists lives with hundreds of Warhols images and diary entries A voyeuristic glimpse into the world of two of the late 20th centurys greatest artists is to be revealed in a book that finally brings to light some of the 130,000 photographs that Andy Warhol took to document every aspect of his life. More than 32 years after Warhols death, hundreds of his photographs are set to reveal the minutiae of his friendship fellow artist published for the first time in a new book. Theirs was a complex relationship, which began in 1980s New York. Warhol with his depictions of movie stars, soup cans and Brillo-pad boxes was already one of the worlds …

You want a dark Mel Gibson comedy about rich Jewish people? You got it!

Rothchild, a new film starring the polarising star is being touted around Cannes. If you dont get the gag, well, join the club Let me tell you something about the god that Mel Gibson worships up there in his private $42m, 17-acre church compound in Malibus Agoura Hills (congregation: 70). He and it will be a he is the one true god, who doesnt just forgive and forget, even if you dont meaningfully repent. He goes the extra 1,000 miles to ensure that at the Cannes film festival in the year 2019, the Hollywood trade press will be able to type the words: This is shaping up to be Mels market with a host of Gibson projects on sale. As …

Game of Thrones Recap: How to Ruin Every Beloved Character

Like the famous Robert Frost poem about the end of the world, the apocalyptic themes of Game of Thrones raise an elemental question: Will the world end in ice or in fire? If the smoking ruins of King's Landing are any indication, the answer is fire—specifically, fire wielded by a mentally unstable, vengeful woman laying waste to the world out of jealousy and misdirected rage. Laura Hudson Game of Thrones Recap: So Much for Breaking the Wheel Laura Hudson Game of Thrones Recap: That's What Death Is Laura Hudson Game of Thrones Recap: The Problem With Prophecies We were warned about "Targaryen madness" early and often, this idea that "every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin." …

The Sesame Street gang has a great message for kids who are already screen addicts.

Tell me if this rings true for you — usually the first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone. The first questions that cross my just waking brain are how and where can I find out what’s going on in my (and the rest of the) world today? And if for some reason my phone’s not nearby and I can’t remember where I put it, I panic. Sound familiar? The average smartphone user taps, clicks, or swipes on their phone nearly 2,700 times per day. In the worst cases, it’s over 5,000. Our children were born into a smartphone-centered world, and the addiction keeps starting younger and younger. It’s not uncommon to see children just over …