Street language

If you feel like making the most of the (slightly) lighter evenings and getting out to some literary events, the next few weeks offer a pretty good selection. Next Thursday, the 1st of March, you could go along to Senate House to hear German great Martin Walser reading with Whitbread Novel prize winner Jane Gardam, or – if you fancy brushing up on your rough Argentine street slang – there’s Matías Néspolo in conversation with translator Frank Wynne at Canning House on ”the process of translating a book rich in ‘Lunfardo’, a dialect originating from Buenos Aires”. Néspolo was selected as one of Granta’s best young Spanish-language authors, and his debut novel ‘Seven Ways to Kill a Cat’ was published in translation by Harvill Secker last year. Both events are free but follow the links to register a place.

Less than a week later ‘rising literary stars’ Jan Brandt and Joe Dunthorne will be in conversation in Generation X Reflects: British-German Encounters at UCL on Wednesday 7th March. Guardian journalist Philip Oltermann will be compere for the evening, no doubt the perfect man for the job given that he’s just published a book on Anglo-German encounters, one which I’m hoping to read very soon.

If you fancy a little cinematic entertainment to round things off, the German film If Not Us, Who? will be released in the UK in March, venues to be confirmed. It was awarded the Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlin Film Festival and Bronze for Best Feature Film at the German Film Awards 2011. Here’s a quick overview of the plot from the Goethe Institut site: ”Set in West Germany in the early 1960s. Bernward Vesper, son of the Nazi author Will Vesper, and Gudrun Ensslin begin an affair in the stifling atmosphere of provincial Germany. Setting out to challenge the establishment they become part of the global uprising joining forces with leftist writers and political activists.”

Last but not least, I’m delighted that an excellent Argentine film I saw recently will be shown at the Renoir Curzon from Friday 2nd March. Carancho, starring the excellent and prolific Ricardo Darín, is a gripping, melancholic thriller which sets an unlikely love story against the cut-throat world of road accident insurance claims and corrupt lawyers. Perhaps a bizarre premise on paper, but a spell-binding film.


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