One of the most popular sights on Zagreb’s Upper-Town promenade is the silvery metal statue of poet, journalist and travel writer Antun Gustav Matoš (1873-1914), whose seated effigy has played a co-starring role in any number of selfies. In summer the statue serves as centerpiece for this cluster of open air bars with retro furnishings, retro music, and a fantastic panorama of the Lower Town.
Mini food market and deli-snack stalls in a grassy corner of the Upper Town, designed to bring organic shoppers and picnic-munchers together. Great opportunity to take the kids out in the daytime and meet up with friends in the evening.
There’s a lot that’s mind-bendingly corny about director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis’s ‘Yesterday’, a peppy ‘what-if?’ musical comedy that imagines a world in which the Beatles never existed. Your ability to spend time in its big-hearted, dad-joke world might lie with your tolerance for Ed Sheeran making fun of himself: If you can cope with those sort of inventions along with the film’s hit-and-miss gag rate and its happy-clappy view of modern Britain, then its endless sugar rush of Beatles covers and endearing performances from the likes of Lily James and newcomer Himesh Patel make it hard not to like. It also has a strange cameo, bold and not what you expect, and maybe the best screen jokes so far about Google searches. (Type ‘John Paul George Ringo’ in a Beatles-less universe and what do you get? ‘Pope John Paul II’ of course.) It all spins on a goofy high concept that blossoms in an average corner of coastal Suffolk. Jack (Himesh Patel, a real discovery) is a struggling 27-year-old singer-songwriter sick of playing to thin crowds. But his bright-eyed old friend and manager Ellie (James) is supportive – and clearly in love with him. The years of musical irrelevance end when there’s an electricity blackout across the globe, a jolt from the storytelling gods so absurd that you go with it. Jack is knocked off his bicycle and wakes in hospital to the gradual realisation that not a single other soul in the world knows who the Beatles are. The most powerful moment in
Anyone with a beating heart will be forgiven for allowing it to break during this unflinching and thoughtful account of the life and death of the soul singer Amy Winehouse. A shattering and sensitive documentary, it's directed by Asif Kapadia, the British director of 'Senna', who has once again created an immersive, layered portrait by stitching together mostly existing footage. Much of it is shot on phones or Camcorders, capturing chats in cars, holiday banter or, more cruelly, intimate moments with foil and crack. As with 'Senna', Kapadia relegates interviewees to the soundtrack. They include Winehouse's family, friends, colleagues, doctors and bodyguard – and their voices, many concerned and caring, help to fill this film with a love that counters the gloom. Moving from Winehouse's first steps in the music business in 2001 to her death in 2011 at just 27, 'Amy' gives equal weight to her talent and tragedy. But the film refuses to offer easy answers to explain her demise, preferring to submerge us in a perfect storm of accelerated global celebrity, fractured family relations, destructive romances, bulimia, depression, drug abuse and alcoholism. With a list that long, it would be crude to point the finger of blame in one direction, and Kapadia doesn't. But some come off badly: Winehouse's father, Mitch, for one, not least when he turns up to Winehouse's post-rehab St Lucia bolthole with a reality-TV crew. And Winehouse's one-time husband Blake Fielder-Civil presents himself
Taking the old-fashioned highs of an MGM musical and pairing them with the deep lows of an addiction drama, ‘Rocketman’ is a turbo-charged rock fantasia that pushes hard against the boundaries of the medium as it zips through the first four decades of Elton John’s life. The songs explode from the screen, time jumps catapult the story forward with exhilarating élan and even the emotional stuff lands, for the most part. Sure, Elton John purists will be here until Christmas pointing out the flaws in the chronology and the liberties taken with real-life events, but they’ll be doing it dancing in the aisles. It’s a credit to director Dexter Fletcher, who really comes of age as a filmmaker here, that any thoughts of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ fade away in a few short minutes. Fletcher was parachuted in to help finish that Queen biopic, but while there are some superficial parallels, he’s saved all his good stuff for ‘Rocketman’. From an opening blast of ‘The Bitch is Back’ which thrusts a young Reggie Dwight (Matthew Illesley) into a glorious sepia-tinged dance routine outside his Pinner home, the movie is filled with vividly choreographically, imaginatively staged, wow-isn’t-cinema-great moments. One standout sequence spills a drunk and overdosing Elton suicidally into his LA pool, before segueing from ambulance to hospital to concert stage, via a boyhood version of himself playing the title track on a tiny piano. Underwater. All in the time it takes to play out the title track. It mus
The afterlife has rarely been quiet for Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died young in 1991 after a flurry of late-life creativity. First came ‘Wayne’s World’, with Mike Myers head-banging along to Queen’s 1975 hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Then came a massive tribute concert in 1992 and a globetrotting stage musical, ‘We Will Rock You’ in the 2000s. Now, 27 years on, comes the authorised movie biopic to push the Freddie Mercury legend even further into the realm of the unreal. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is as brash, loud and mask-wearing as Mercury at his most playful. Another movie would try to get behind the legend or play with the idea of it but this does neither. Instead, it grabs the legend by the neck and gallops recklessly through the movie on it, climaxing in a wholesale extended recreation of one of the most famous rock gigs of all time: Queen at Live Aid. Modest and inquiring it is not. It boasts a film-stealing, possessed performance by Rami Malek, who pouts, struts and quips as Mercury, turning the rest of the cast into bit-part players. The energy of Malek’s imitation helps to bind what amounts to a series of gossipy but harmless rock-world anecdotes into something vaguely coherent. The story starts and ends with Queen playing Live Aid at Wembley in July 1985. In between, we see how Farrokh Bulsara, born in Zanzibar, became Freddie Mercury and helped to transform a student band into a stadium rock behemoth. The movie, though catchy and often seductive, is an act of b
Perhaps the leading local representative of techno, Petar Dundov is frequently the favoured DJ asked to accompany the leading lights of electronic dance music at the coastal festivals. Here, he will be playing to a hometown crowd at the relatively intimate Masters club, a treat for Zagreb's techno lovers whose home city scene has been rather quiet over summer.
This cabaret-style tour storms through the city's streets, reenacting grizzly scenes from Croatian history that visitors can get involved with. This interactive, theatrical tour is based on Zagreb's historical past with plenty of mysteries and urban legends lurking around the corner.
An apt title for a season of events that almost literally sends you spinning back through the centuries, Zagreb Time Machine is the umbrella term covering a series of happenings that take place every weekend from late-April until the first week in October. Period costumes and traditional music are the main ingredients in a sequence of street performances that take over various parts of the city. Key invents include the Upper Town in History (Saturdays 5-8pm) when actors dressed in 19th-century garb will act out scenes from the daily life of the capital in times of yore; the Upper Town Musical Panorama (Saturday and Sunday 10am-noon), when similarly clad musicians well belt out traditional tunes; Promenade Concerts in Zrinjevac park (Saturdays 11am-1pm, Sundays 11am-noon), when walzes and polkas will waft down from the old-school bandstand; and a Folklore Stage at various locations in the city centre (Saturdays 10am-noon, Sundays 11am-1pm) when singers in authentic folk costume will treat you to a performance of traditional songs. Also included under the Time Machine banner is the impressive pageantry of the Changing of the Guard of the Cravat Regiment (Saturdays and Sundays just before noon). The cravat was invented in Croatia and popularized by Croatian soldiers during the Thirty Years War in the 17th century. It is still a symbol of national pride, hence the modern-day recreation of a ceremonial regiment complete with appropriately seventeenth-century uniform. The impressiv
Boundary-breaking art collective Pimp my Pump originally teamed up with street art studio Lapo Lapo to turn a run-down urban park, located between Tomić street and Strossmayer promenade in the heart of Zagreb, into a vibrant open-air museum and green event space. So successful was the project that in 2019 it was moved to the larger Ribnjak park, where you can peruse the make-shift sculptures, watch the artists at work, or even get involved yourself. An array of fun events, workshops and open-air exhibitions take place throughout summer and there are craft beers, food and other consumables available too. Entrance to this creative oasis and all events, talks and workshops are totally free.