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Matthew d’Ancona’s Culture: One Love is a timely cinematic pageant

Our editor-at-large’s rundown of the pick of the week’s film, TV and art

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley in One Love. Photo: Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Welcome to this weekly round-up of the best in culture and the arts. In addition to my own picks, your favourite TNE writers will chip in with their recommendations. And we’d love to hear what you’re enjoying: please send your tips to



General release

Pay no heed to the miserabilist critics who have trashed Reinaldo Marcus Green’s musical biopic, principally on the grounds that it is too respectful (you can bet that they would have been just as angry if the movie had been hostile to Marley).

Ushered back to the years 1976-78, we follow the reggae legend – already a huge star – as he seeks refuge in London from the political and gang violence tearing Jamaica apart, and, with the help of guitarist Junior Marvin, finds a new sound in the all-time classic album Exodus. Kingsley Ben-Adir brings not only the necessary charisma to the lead role, but a sense of the weight that Marley carried on his shoulders as the “skipper” to whom millions looked for inspiration. Lashana Lynch is also excellent as his wife, Rita (one of the movie’s producers).

Best of all, of course, is the music itself. At the screening I went to, the audience sang along to One Love, Redemption Song and Three Little Birds and danced in the aisles. Marley was only 36 when he died in 1981. Imagine what a force for unity he would be today, aged 79. The next best thing is to relish afresh the joyous rebellion of his songs in this timely cinematic pageant.



Tate Modern, London, until September 1

I was once introduced to Yoko Ono in a West End restaurant and am ashamed to say that I felt the urge to blurt out: “You broke up the Beatles!” I’m glad I didn’t because (a) it would have been extremely rude and (b) it wasn’t even true.

This retrospective of Ono’s work is the most extensive yet mounted in this country and demonstrates vividly what a significant artist she is – and was long before she met John Lennon. The 1950s and 1960s were undoubtedly her most innovative period: witness the loft concerts she curated in downtown Manhattan in 1961, attended by John Cage, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp. Tate Modern has also restaged Add Colour (Refugee Boat) (2016), which invites visitors to write messages around a white skiff. In the decade of Rishi Sunak’s deranged fixation with “small boats”, this interactive piece feels more contemporary than ever.




Before he found academic sanctuary in Princeton, Einstein spent three weeks in a hut in Norfolk at the invitation of MP Oliver Locker-Lampson. This curious limbo period lies at the heart of Anthony Philipson’s deftly constructed docudrama.

Aidan McArdle is good as the scientist who transformed our understanding of the universe with his theories of relativity, and grasped that, if the Nazis were able to develop a nuclear weapon, the cost to humanity would be incalculable. In August 1939, he and the Hungarian-American physicist, Leo Szilard, wrote to Franklin D Roosevelt warning the president of the risk (a letter mentioned in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer). Thus alerted, FDR established what was to become the Manhattan Project.

Einstein later regarded this as his greatest mistake. In the event, Werner Heisenberg’s team of German scientists never got close to the Allied researches led by Oppenheimer. But what if they had? In truth, Einstein was both right and wrong: a classic example of Heisenberg’s own “uncertainty principle”. It was a conundrum with which he never truly made peace.



Hamish Hamilton

Hot on the heels of Anna Funder’s Wifedom, an exploration of George Orwell’s shortcomings as a husband, and Julia, Sandra Newman’s re-telling of Nineteen Eighty-Four through the eyes of Winston Smith’s lover, Paul Theroux’s 30th novel is a gripping fictional portrait of the young Eric Blair (as he then was) and his experience as a colonial police officer in Burma between 1922 and 1927.

Theroux’s thesis, lyrically expressed, is that these were the years in which Blair became Orwell, and a callow young Englishman discovered the steely perspective that was to make him one of the century’s great writers



Selected cinemas

Perhaps the most accomplished film about food since Babette’s Feast, Trần Anh Hùng’s masterly portrait of a household whose true chapel is its kitchen reunites former partners Benoît Magimel, as legendary gourmand Dodin Bouffant, and Juliette Binoche, as his cook and lover Eugénie. Set around 1889, The Taste of Things depicts cuisine as an art form, whose most important ingredient is love; for the food itself, and between those who dedicate themselves to its creative rigours and epicurean delights. Sublime.

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See inside the SUNK edition

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