Fairies sparkle along the Seine, Pixar films come to life in Madrid, and Michael Mann’s ‘Ferrari’ revs up at cinemas. And we’ve handily ranked 2023’s best music and films… Don’t say we don’t treat you.
Ahead of the weird Christmas period where the world seems to shut down and we get lost in a haze of food and drink and awkward family disputes, there is still a lot to see and do around Europe in between it all.
Whether you’re looking for something to stream on TV while stuck in a food coma; a cinema escape from Boxing Day sale mania; or some exciting exhibitions to keep the whole family entertained – these are our picks.
‘Mundo Pixar’, Madrid, Spain
If you’ve ever dreamt of travelling the world in an Up! style house lifted by balloons, or of walking through Andy’s bedroom from Toy Story alongside Woody and co, ‘Mundo Pixar’ can make those dreams come true. The largest immersive Pixar exhibition to date, this interactive travelling exhibition has arrived in Madrid. You can feel as though you’re swimming alongside Nemo, hanging out with the emotions from Inside Out or wandering the streets of Santa Cecilia from Coco; an absolute must for Pixar fanatics.
‘The Art of the Brick’, Paris, France
Much like Christmas, Lego brings out the big kid in all of us. What better time, then, to rejoice with child-like awe at the world’s most popular LEGO® art exhibition in Paris, which includes some of the most incredible small brick builds in the world. From a 6 meter long T-Rex to Roman temples and even a gallery of human organs – there are more than 100 sculptures on display. The highly-anticipated event opened on the 20 December at Les Galeries Montparnasse, 22 Rue du Départ.
Rose, Rose, Rose, à mes yeux! James Ensor and Still Life in Belgium 1830-1930, Ostend, Belgium
74 years after the death of Belgian painter James Ensor, this is the very first exhibition to be dedicated entirely to his still life works – and hosted in the very city he was born. A collection of around 30 of Ensor’s paintings are on display, alongside another 120 works from lesser-known artists that, when viewed together, provide a thought-provoking exploration of still life and its evolutions in aesthetic and meaning throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Open until 14 April 2024 at Mu.ZEE.
Lumières en Seine, Paris, France
The shorter days of Winter are warmed by the glow of festive lights across many parts of Europe at this time of year. One such event is the Lumières en Seine, an enchanting walk through the beautiful Parc de Saint-Cloud which is illuminated with sparkly snowflakes, fairies, a large horse and carriage and more. Along the almost 2km stretch, every tree is bathed in a soft glow and structures costumed in fairy lights; familiar spaces sparkle with a Christmas spirit that even the Scroogiest of the Scrooges couldn’t deny finding magical.
Best Of 2023
That’s a wrap for 2023 at the talkies, and the Euronews Culture team has ranked our Top 20 movies of the year. It’shardly a definitive ranking, simply because no year of moviegoing can be reduced to a simple Top 20 – and nor should it be. However, these are the movies that followed us home after the screenings and lodged themselves in our minds. And hearts. And bottoms. More on that if you check out our Best Movies of 2023.
Oh, and if you’re as excited as we are about the year actress Sandra Hüller has had, you’re in luck. Our very own David Mouriquand had a sitdown with the undisputed star of 2023, who has already started raking up the awards for her roles in this year’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s upcoming Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest. She looks like she’s on her merry way to an Oscar… Check out the full interview.
Michael Mann returns with Ferrari, a biopic about Italian race-car maker Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) and based on the 1991 biography ‘Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races, the Machine’ by Brock Yates. Set in the summer of 1957, the film explores Ferrari’s professional and personal highs and lows, as threats of bankruptcy and a failing marriage alongside an affair shape a fascinating psychological exploration of an automobile icon. It’s our Film of the Week – check out our review here. Out in cinemas from 25 December.
The Boy and the Heron
If you’re not too busy eating leftovers and/or nursing a post-Christmas bloat, Hayao Miyazaki’s hotly-anticipated The Boy and the Heron arrives in cinemas on the 26 December – and despite rumours earlier this year, it’s thankfully unlikely to be the 82-year-old filmmaker’s final film. This latest animation from Studio Ghibli tells the story of a young boy named Mahito, who is trying to process the grief of losing his mother while also settling into a new place. It’s here that he meets a mystical talking heron that tells him his mother is actually alive, leading him into a portal to another world.
BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star
ARMY, unite! Documenting the rise and rise to superstardom of Korean band BTS, a new Disney+ documentary goes behind the scenes of their success, sharing immaculately staged performances and exploring the intense world of manufactured K-Pop. It will also feed fanatics as they await the band’s return from serving in the South Korean military.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Another highlight from Disney+ is the new Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Based on the hugely popular book series by Rick Riordan, it sees 12-year-old Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) navigating typical pubescent problems alongside also being a demigod that has been tasked with recovering a lightning bolt from the sky god Zeus. The fantastical infuses with the familiar to make this a fun and engaging coming-of-age adventure show.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Earlier this week Larry David announced that the upcoming twelfth series of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ will be the last, saying, “Larry David, I bid you farewell,” and adding “Your misanthropy will not be missed.” It’s a good reminder for both fans and those that haven’t ever seen the show to check out its back catalogue ahead of the final airing on HBO’s MAX in February 2024.
The best albums of 2023
As the end of 2023 approaches, we’ve been hard at work curating its cultural bests. In case you missed it, here are our Best Albums of the Year, with Gabriels’ debut album ‘Angels & Queens’ topping the list.
If you’re looking for something more festive – and alternative from the usual Mariah Carey and Wham! rotations – here are some suggestions for a not-so silent night.
Enjoy the holidays, and stay tuned to Euronews Culture over the festive period. We’ll be hard at work, giving you precious look ahead pieces to ensure you’ve got a head start on 2024 and the cultural goodness coming your way.