Film & Tele­vi­sion

Be­hind the scenes with two very dif­fer­ent fash­ion de­sign­ers.

North & South - - North & South -

Rave Re­view How to Change Your Mind: The New Sci­ence of Psychedelics Michael Pol­lan (Allen Lane, $38)

Since Nixon called LSD ad­vo­cate Ti­mothy Leary “the most dan­ger­ous man in Amer­ica”, psychedelic drugs like LSD have been rel­e­gated in the pub­lic mind to an at­tic stacked with Grate­ful Dead LPS and “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” leaflets. Un­fairly so, says US pro­fes­sor of jour­nal­ism Michael Pol­lan, who de­clared his con­sid­er­able writer’s chops in 2001 with The Botany of De­sire. Pol­lan’s guide to a sci­en­tific and per­sonal re-eval­u­a­tion so pro­found he calls it a “re­nais­sance” pre­dicts a pow­er­ful new role for these drugs in dis­si­pat­ing anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and treat­ing ad­dic­tion. Far from mak­ing peo­ple crazy, he says, psychedelics can make them “more sane”. The as­tound­ing way they do this – by tem­po­rar­ily dis­solv­ing the ego – he cau­tiously ex­plores through the lit­er­a­ture of re­search, in­ter­views with sci­en­tists and sub­jects, 100 mi­cro­grams of LSD, “the big­gest psilo­cy­bin mush­room I had ever seen”, and by smok­ing the venom of the Sono­ran Desert toad – not taken con­cur­rently. Trans­for­ma­tive, man. JENNY NI­CHOLLS

The Guernsey Lit­er­ary & Potato Peel Pie So­ci­ety DVD: His­tor­i­cal drama ( M)

This film adap­ta­tion (of a book with the same tongue-twist­ing ti­tle) is best ap­proached with Down­ton Abbey ex­pec­ta­tions; it’s old-school en­ter­tain­ment that seems sprung from a more in­no­cent movie-mak­ing age. Down­ton alumni pop up all over, in fact, in­clud­ing Lily James as perky Lon­don writer Juliet Ash­ton, who in 1946 re­ceives a let­ter from a mem­ber of the potato-themed lit­er­ary club that has its roots in Nazioc­cu­pied Guernsey. In­trigued, she as­sures her Amer­i­can GI fi­ancé she’ll be back and heads to the is­land, where she en­coun­ters a cast of sat­is­fy­ingly ec­cen­tric char­ac­ters, a hunky, book-lov­ing farmer and a wartime se­cret she’s de­ter­mined to un­cover. Fine en­sem­ble act­ing keeps schmaltz at bay. VIR­GINIA LAR­SON

West­wood: Punk, Icon, Ac­tivist Cinema re­lease: Doc­u­men­tary ( M)

Fash­ion may be an ephemeral in­dus­try, but Vivi­enne West­wood – now in her late 70s – re­mains as rel­e­vant and riv­et­ing as ever in this un­flinch­ing doc­u­men­tary by Lorna Tucker, who fol­lowed the no­to­ri­ously prickly de­signer over a pe­riod of three years. A work­ing-class girl from Tin­twistle, West­wood was never des­tined to be part of the Bri­tish es­tab­lish­ment. Along­side Mal­colm Mclaren (and what an arse he turns out to be), she made punk a fash­ion phe­nom­e­non in the 70s and has of­ten been ridiculed for sim­ply be­ing ahead of her time. To­day, she’s rein­vented her­self as an en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist, ped­dling her bi­cy­cle through Lon­don in wildly colour­ful en­sem­bles that stay just the right side of ridicu­lous. True to form, West­wood has dis­missed the doc­u­men­tary as “medi­ocre”. Don’t be fooled: like her, it’s fab­u­lous. JOANNA WANE

Yel­low is For­bid­den Cinema re­lease, 1 Novem­ber: Doc­u­men­tary

Chi­nese de­signer Guo Pei is a very dif­fer­ent kind of fash­ion rebel – and cer­tainly far more re­strained and un­der­stated. Her run­way cre­ations, how­ever, are wildly op­u­lent and drip­ping with pageantry – the al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, per­haps, of a young girl born to Com­mu­nist Party par­ents dur­ing the dour­ness of Mao­ism and the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion. You’ve prob­a­bly never heard of the diminu­tive Pei, who cre­ated the ex­tra­or­di­nary 24kg yel­low cape dress Ri­hanna draped her­self in at the 2015 Met Gala. Here, Kiwi film­maker Pietra Bret­tkelly presents a typ­i­cally nu­anced view of a woman who strad­dles two very dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural worlds. Mes­meris­ingly beau­ti­ful. JOANNA WANE

Born Racer: The Scott Dixon Story Cinema re­lease, 25 Oc­to­ber: Doc­u­men­tary

This is timely. Just over five weeks af­ter Scott Dixon won his fifth Indy­car ti­tle with a sec­ond plac­ing in the 2018 sea­son fi­nale at Sonoma Race­way, Cal­i­for­nia, a new doc­u­men­tary gives an in­side view of the Kiwi racer’s high-oc­tane world. The catch is that its cin­e­matic re­lease fol­lows Dixon’s un­suc­cess­ful 2017 sea­son, rather than this year’s tri­umph, but his lat­est vic­tory still whets the ap­petite for in­sights into what lies be­hind his achieve­ments. Di­rected by Bryn Evans ( Hip Hop-er­a­tion) and pro­duced by Matthew Met­calfe, pro­ducer of last year’s big mo­tor-rac­ing doco, Mclaren, Born Racer was made with un­prece­dented ac­cess to the enig­matic Dixon, his fam­ily and his team. No­tably, it in­cludes all the drama of the spec­tac­u­lar 2017 Indy 500 crash from which Dixon amaz­ingly emerged with just a bro­ken an­kle. Though his sea­son slipped away, we get the chance here to see the seeds be­ing sown for the suc­cess we know lies just ahead. BE­VAN RAP­SON

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