Whenever I get the chance, I seek out whatever London culturally has to offer. And there is always so much, way more than I can get to see and to experience.

Here are some of my cultural highlights from the past week, both within London and beyond…

Film

The London Mexican Film Festival

I had a day pass over the weekend, and saw two amazing films. Parts of a Family tells the story of the director Diego Gutierrez’ parents’ marriage, how it imprisoned both his mother and his father, and how love died within the constraints of a bond that began so positively and optimistically, yet ultimately became so destructive. An honest, brave and tragic portrayal of life, love, and loss.

The second film was Three Voices, the finale of the festival, a documentary about three women of three different generations, who share their personal stories of life, love and relationships honestly and unflinchingly. Glorious.

Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams

This film, originally released in 2006, follows the struggles of a single mother and her teenage daughter in the aftermath of the Balkan war. Another raw and real reflection of living and suffering, yet this is not a despondent experience, but a redemptive and hopeful one. I loved it.

Theatre

Conor McPherson’s latest play The Night Alive is currently showing at The Donmar Warehouse. Like much of McPherson’s earlier work, this piece also focuses on the plight of the lonely Irish male. The acting is superb, particularly but not exclusively Ciaran Hinds, yet I was less involved than I expected to be. The play felt a little too long and the plot seemed to unnecessarily complicate. Nonetheless, I recommend.

Books

Claude Gallay’s novel The Breakers was first published in 2011. This is a book that exudes loss, constantly alluding to it, yet also never truly declaring itself. An enigmatic piece, I was seduced by it, increasingly so as I became less impatient with the pace and allowed myself to move synchronously with what it chose to deliver.

CQ

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