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BBC TwoNewsnight Review
Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 19:10 GMT
Friday, 2 March, 2007
In this week's programme presented by Kirsty Wark:

THE PANEL:
Kerry Shale | Natalie Haynes | Paul Morley | Matthew Sweet

Comment on this programme


film
Inland Empire

Inland Empire is the latest film from David Lynch and his first shot on digital video.

Inland Empire
A very glamorous Laura Dern gets visited by a sooth-saying lady with a very bizarre Eastern European accent.

Laura, it seems, is an ageing Hollywood actress, who has just been cast in a movie, directed by Jeremy Irons. The first attempt at shooting the movie ended with the murders of the leads, but of course Jeremy knew nothing of this.

Meanwhile, Harry Dean Stanton is asking them all for money and Laura starts falling for her leading man, Justin Theroux. What will Laura's husband make of it all?

So far so good, but throw in some Polish Mafiosi, a sit-com cast entirely of rabbits and a dance sequence performed by a motley band of prostitutes, and one might even start to think David Lynch is teasing his audience.

Explanations have not, in Lynchian style, been clear. Discussing the title - which given the movie theme one could think was about the area near Los Angeles referred to as the Inland Empire, Lynch said:

"I like the word inland. And I like the word empire."

The panel will pick their way though the clues and discuss whether this is more genius from Lynch or self indulgence.

  • CERTIFICATE 15
  • INLAND EMPIRE IS RELEASED ON 9 MARCH, 2007


    theatre
    Equus
    Gielgud Theatre, London

    Daniel Radcliffe is best known for playing the boy-wizard Harry Potter in the films based on JK Rowling's books.

    Equus
    But now, in his first stage role, he's playing the part of Alan Strang in Equus, which is being staged in London's West End for the first time since the early 70s.

    Alan seems to be a normal, obedient 17 year old with a passion for horses. Then, one night, in an apparently motiveless attack, he blinds six horses with a hoof pick.

    Alan is sent to Rokeby Psychiatric Hospital and placed under the care of Dr Martin Dysart (Richard Griffiths).

    Dysart is forced to reflect on the meaning of his own existence as he probes the reasons behind Alan's tortured nightmares.

    Peter Shaffer wrote the play in 1973, basing it on a real life incident of a boy senselessly mutilating horses.

    Originally staged at the Old Vic, it was directed by John Dexter and starred Alec McCowen as Dysart and Peter Firth as Alan. Peter Firth then reprised the role in the 1977 film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Burton as Dysart.

    John Napier, who designed the highly praised staging in 1973, has returned to work on this production which Thea Sharrock directs.

    Will the panel think that Radcliffe can stand up to the scrutiny of a West End role? And will the play prove to be as relevant and shocking as when it was performed over 30 years ago?

  • EQUUS CONTINUES AT THE GIELGUD THEATRE UNTIL 9 JUNE 2007


    book
    Ascent
    By Jed Mercurio

    Jed Mercurio first made his name with the 1994 drama Cardiac Arrest; subsequently he received acclaim both for his novel, Bodies, and for the TV series he adapted from it.

    Ascent
    Here, he leaves the medical profession and moves to space exploration, with his new book Ascent.

    Set against the backdrop of the developing Cold War, Ascent tells the story of Yefgenii Yeremin, a Stalingrad orphan who overcomes his savage childhood to become an Ace fighter pilot in the Korean War, and is then selected for cosmonaut training.

    Can a single act not only define the meaning of a man's life, but also that of a nation and a species?

    American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Wally Schirra, who also fought in the Korean war, have read the book and given it their approval. Vindication indeed - but will it impress our panellists?

  • ASCENT BY JED MERCURIO IS PUBLISHED BY JONATHAN CAPE


    television
    The Trap
    BBC TWO

    The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream of Freedom? is a three-part series of films written and directed by BAFTA-winning producer Adam Curtis, explaining the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom.

    The Trap
    Curtis's series, the critically acclaimed The Power of Nightmares, explored the war on terrorism and The Trap uses the same style of a mixture of archive, interviews and Curtis's own voiceover.

    Curtis believes that if one steps back and looks at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.

    The West fought the Cold War for freedom and individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us and defines how we think of ourselves.

    And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to force freedom on to other people has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism.

    This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the government has dismantled long-standing laws that were designed to protect our freedom.

    Curtis argues that we have forgotten other ideas of freedom. We are in a trap of our own making, a trap that controls us, deprives us of meaning, and causes death and chaos abroad. Will the panel agree?

  • THE TRAP BEGINS ON BBC TWO ON SUNDAY 11 MARCH AT 9PM


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