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

Sarah Snook in 'The Picture of Dorian Gray.'
Sarah Snook in 'The Picture of Dorian Gray.' Copyright Credit: Marc Brenner
Copyright Credit: Marc Brenner
By Amber Louise Bryce
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100 years of surrealism, the best from Berlinale, and Avatar: The Last Airbender arrives on Netflix - here's what to see and do in Europe this week.


For those dedicated Euronews Culture readers, you'll already know that there are reportedly 546 words for getting 'drunk' in the English language. But what's better than getting "totally gazeboed" at the weekend? Taking in some soul enriching, mind meandering art and culture, that's what. 

Here are our recommendations for the week. 


'The Picture of Dorian Gray', London, UK

Sarah Snook, AKA Shiv Roy for the 'Succession' fans, is starring in a one-woman stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The costumes are wonderfully camp and the performances (with Snook playing 26 different characters in total) exhilarating; a fresh and fun take that breathes innovation into a classic - and keeps it feeling young.


'Edward Burtynsky - New Works', London, UK

A new solo exhibition at London's Flowers Gallery showcases the striking and unsettling photographic words of Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. From coal mines in Australia to eroded landscapes of Türkiye, Burtynsky's 40+ year career has been defined by his ability to both disturb and amaze in equal measure with his sobering mega-scale images of environmental destruction.  

'The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure', London, UK

She was learning to love moments, to love moments for themselves by Amy Sherald (2017)
She was learning to love moments, to love moments for themselves by Amy Sherald (2017)Credit: Amy Sherald/Hauser & Wirth.

A major new exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery puts 22 Black artists front and centre, showcasing their eclectic paintings, drawings and sculptures as part of an exploration into the portrayal of the Black figure in contemporary art.

Curator Ekow Eshun says the show is an invitation to consider what "Black experience, Black lived experience, Black identity and being, and presence, and history" looks like.

Read more about it here. 

'Histoire de ne pas rire' and 'Imagine', Brussels, Belgium

For those stirred by surrealism, Brussels is putting it under the spotlight with two new major exhibitions celebrating its 100th anniversary: 'Histoire de ne pas rire' takes place at Brussels Arts Centre Bozar and focuses on the Belgian surrealist scene, while 'Imagine' at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts brings together international surrealists.

Hadja Lahbib, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the exhibitions are "an opportunity to discover major works that will fire our imagination and challenge our perceptions."

Festivals and events

'The Holtzezon Literary Festival', Veszprém, Hungary 

Holtsezon Literary Festival
Holtsezon Literary FestivalCredit: Holtsezon

Book worms, wiggle over here! The Holtzezon Literary Festival returns for its third year with more than 70 events arranged across four days in 10 different locations. It's the opportunity to mingle with likeminded people, take part in workshops, attend talks and theatre shows, try your hand at comic drawing and in general, replace that flat February feeling with literary fun and fascination. 

'Expo4Art', Paris, France

Discover paintings, sculptures photography and more from some of the world's best young artists at Expo4Art at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux this weekend. It's the perfect event for art collectors and admirers to discover exciting new creative voices - and admission is free!


Berlinale Film Festival 2024

Berlinale Film Festival
Berlinale Film FestivalCopyright Berlinale

Although nearing its close, the 74th Berlinale Film Festival has been in full swing this past week, premiering plenty of films to be excited about! From opener 'Small Things Like These' starring Cillian Murphy to Rose West's riveting return 'Love Lies Bleeding', our veteran film critic David Mouriquand has been on the ground, tirelessly attending film screenings to ensure you're in the know of what to see - and what not to

And for some extra insight into the chaos behind the scenes of attending a film festival, be sure to read David's play-by-play of Martin Scorsese's press conference

Perfect Days

In our dopamine-fuelled digital world, it's easy to get caught up in constant distraction, forgetting the peace and presence to be found within life's mundanities. It's this soothing philosophy that's at the heart of Wim Wender's latest film, 'Perfect Days', which is out now in UK cinemas. 

Set in Tokyo, Japan, it follows Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho), an aging and diligent toilet cleaner who finds joy in life’s simple pleasures: waking up before sunrise, watering his plants, reading before bedtime. These rhythmic routines are only interrupted when his teenage niece Niko (Arisa Nakano) shows up to his tiny apartment for an unannounced visit; a chance encounter that leads to further reflections on the beauty to be found in existence, if we'd only pay more attention to it. 


As our film critic David Mouriquand wrote, "In the end, finding the lyrical in the quotidian need not be so demanding. Sometimes it’s just about allowing yourself to be hopeful, taking the time to stop and stare, and thwacking on some Nina Simone. Perfection." 

Read the full review here. 

TV series

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Six long years after it was announced, the live-action adaptation of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ has finally arrived on Netflix. 

Expectations have been extremely high, the original animated noughties show cultivating a huge and very dedicated fanbase (who were not best pleased with M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 adaptation attempt). 


Following a young boy named Aang, the last airbender who must master all four elements to restore world peace, prepare for non-stop action and elaborate visuals. While it might never compare to the nostalgia-enshrined prestige of the original, this latest iteration will hopefully please fans through its dedicated world building and spectacular special effects. 


MGMT: 'Loss of Life'

For many a Millennial, indie band MGMT represent those Tumblr-tinted days of adolescence, pressing play on 2007's 'Time to Pretend' and turning every experience into a coming-of-age montage. In the years since, the band's appeal has waned, although the title track from their 2018 album 'Little Dark Age' recently gained traction on video app TikTok (but depressingly amongst far-right extremist creators). Excitingly, their fifth studio album 'Loss of Life' feels simultaneously fresh and familiar, a psychedelic genre mash-up that takes inspiration from the likes of David Bowie and Simon & Garfunkel, also featuring a collaboration with French singer/songwriter Christine and the Queens. Headphones on/in - it's time to pretend to be kids again.

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