Mulan review, Lorna Sage's memoir 20 years on, and must art be political?


Manage episode 271385800 series 1301220
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The much-loved story of the Chinese warrior Mulan is the latest Disney animation to get a live-action remake. Its less a direct remake of the 1998 original and more a retelling of the Chinese folk legend of Hua Mulan with an all-Asian cast. There have been changes - no cute animated dragon or songs - are we going to love it as much? Find out with critic Gavia Baker Whitelaw. Lorna Sage was a much admired literary critic but it was her memoir Bad Blood that made her a household name. Bad Blood examines Lorna’s childhood and adolescence in a small Welsh border town and is an exploration of thwarted desires, marital disappointment and the search for freedom from the limits and smallness of family life. The critic Frances Wilson has written an introduction to the twentieth anniversary edition and discusses the legacy of what is one of the most critically acclaimed memoirs ever written - vividly bringing to life Lorna’s dissolute but charismatic vicar grandfather, her embittered grandmother and her domestically inept mother. Hull’s annual Freedom Festival begins this weekend. Its an event rooted in the legacy of the Hull-born anti-slavery activist William Wilberforce and usually brings thousands onto the streets to celebrate. This year due to Covid 19, its moving online, but its keeping its strong commitment to “art that helps build a stronger and fairer society”, fuelled by current affairs from Black Lives Matter to the virus itself. But if artists have a political aim, does that affect the quality of the art? Should Art be valued for its political engagement even if we don’t rate the artwork itself? We'll be debating these questions with the director of the Design Museum Tim Marlow, Jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch and artist Davina Drummond, part of the duo Yara and Davina. Across the country independent music venues are in serious crisis. They’re having to keep their doors closed - in spite of a cash injection of £3.36m from the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund - because they simply don’t have the room to operate within social distancing guidelines. Passport: Back to Our Roots is a campaign that aims to raise money for these stricken venues by asking some of the UK’s biggest bands to commit to playing small local gigs. All fans have to do is make a minimum £5 donation to be entered into a prize draw to see these artists, should the gigs go ahead. We find out more from Ash drummer Rick McMurray and campaign co-founder Sally Cook. Presenter Katie Popperwell Producer Olive Clancy

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