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Cultural Digest: Don't miss these events in Europe this week

Timothée Chalamet in 'Wonka'
Timothée Chalamet in 'Wonka' Copyright Warner Bros.
Copyright Warner Bros.
By Jonny Walfisz
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Long summer days, hot, sticky nights. If you're staying in to shelter or planning to hit the streets, here's our guide to the best of what's on this week in movies, games, museums and music.

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There's so much to look forward to this week. For the cultural digest, we've taken a deep dive into three exciting trailers for upcoming films, the first taste of an era-defining video game, as well as the latest offerings in music and museum news.  

Film Trailers

It’s been a bumper week for big trailer releases on upcoming projects. For those ardently following the marketing build-up for the most unlikely film crossover of the year in Barbie and Oppenheimer’s same day release later this month, there’s a new kid on the block.

Forget “Barbenheimer” and get used to “Wonkpoleon”. That’s right. The first trailers for the upcoming ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ prequel Wonka and Ridley Scott's historical epic Napoleon have been released. They are set to be screened on 15 December and 22 November respectively. Sure, not at all the same day, but Wonkpoleon is still very fun to say.

Let’s get started with Wonka. Taking place in what looks like a steam-punk inspired Victorian Britain, Timothée Chalamet steps into the shoes of Willy Wonka, the master chocolatier of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The new film professes to provide a backstory on the eccentric character, previously played with magnetic panache by Gene Wilder and stained whimsy by Johnny Depp. For his turn, Chalamet looks set to continue the Depp school of Wonk-acting, in a rare miscasting for him. Each line reading in the trailer comes across as self-consciously quirky. Far from Wilder’s charmingly unknowable take in the 1971 adaptation.

Don’t lose all hope though. Perhaps in the context of the film Chalamet will make more sense. Coming from director Paul King, who brought buckets of charm to Paddington and its sequel, I remain cautiously optimistic - particularly thanks to the peculiar if brilliant decision to cast Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa.

Strap in because hit-and-miss director Ridley Scott has a three-hour epic on Napoleon Bonaparte. With Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, Napoleon has a hefty task on hand if it wants to faithfully depict the storied life of the French military commander who rose to become the Emperor of France through the Revolutionary Wars.

Napoleon is one of the most divisive characters in history. A charismatic leader who is responsible for huge numbers of deaths in his violent campaigns, Napoleon has been studied by historians and philosophers for centuries for his consummate influence over the world.

He’s been depicted in film many times, but the scale of Scott’s filmmaking (Blade Runner, Gladiator) makes this a particularly exciting project. Phoenix will hopefully bring ample depth through his Napoleonic scowl.

Finally, there’s also been a trailer released for Bob Marley: One Love, the upcoming 2024 biopic of the legendary reggae star. From King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green, the film stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as Marley and chronicles his life from his rise to stardom to his death in 1981.

A Marley biopic seems an inevitability after the successes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman in recent years. From the trailer, it seems like what will set Bob Marley: One Love apart is its willingness to focus on the musician’s political and philosophical life and the tensions he faced leading up to and following an assassination attempt in 1976.

Video Games

The cover and first trailer for Electronic Arts’ upcoming football game EA FC 24 has been released. It’s the first title for EA after the end of their long-term licence with FIFA expired last year. For 30 years, EA’s annual FIFA games have been by far the most popular football video game series.

Football-fan gamers concerned that the end of the FIFA licence would mean a return to playing for teams like “Man Blue” instead of Manchester City needn’t worry. Despite the termination of the overall licensing agreement, EA has retained the licences of 19,000 players, more than 700 teams, over 100 stadiums, and over 30 leagues.

Gallery of the year

The Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 has been announced as the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. The prize is an annual cash prize that celebrates the best museum in the UK. Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections for Glasgow Life was presented with the £120,000 prize by artist Sir Grayson Perry at the British Museum in London.

Janie Airey Art Fund 2023
The Burrell CollectionJanie Airey Art Fund 2023

For those unaware of the Burrell Collection, it houses the over 9,000 object collection of Sir William and Constance Burrell. Opened in 1983, the collection has undergone a massive refurbishment to better display its range of art objects, from Chinese antiques to Mediaeval sculpture, in its glorious Pollock country park location.

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Music

The album I’ve had on repeat all week since it was released on 7 July is ‘My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross’ by Anohni and the Johnsons. While Anohni released the astoundingly good solo album ‘Hopelessness’ in 2016, this is her first album back with the Johnsons band since 2010’s ‘Swanlights’.

Ever since her first albums with the Johnsons in 2000, Anohni has staked a claim as one of the most interesting songwriters, creating chamber pop with her distinctive operatic pop vibrato. ‘My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross’ brings equal parts soulful melancholic crooning as it does self-depreciating experimental invective.

Repatriations

Some nice news came last week from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. They intend to return six objects in its collection to Sri Lanka.

The move marks the first time that the Rijksmuseum has returned colonial objects. It's the result of an investigation started in 2017 for the provenance of its colonial objects. The six Sri Lankan objects include two swords, two rifles, a dagger and the Cannon of Kandy.

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The Cannon of Kandy is a bronze, silver and gold cannon that’s inlaid with rubies. The ceremonial cannon was decorated with the symbols of the King of Kandy and was looted by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) during the siege of Kandy in 1765.

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