The best things to do and see (or watch) in Europe this week

The best things to do and see (or watch) in Europe this week

According to a new study, the best European cities for culture vultures are Paris and London. No surprises there - and we do have a lot of London-based recommendations for you this week - but putting this digest together also makes us realise just how many wonderful exhibitions and events take place in every pocket of this continent.

Did you know, for example, there was an entire parade dedicated to cats in Ypres, Belgium last weekend? Yeah, we wish we'd been there too.

There's also a brand new exhibition dedicated to 20th century icon Mark Rothko's paper paintings that just opened at Oslo's National Museum.

Meanwhile, Cannes is the main place on movie-lovers' minds as the 77th edition of the film festival gets underway with screenings of Quentin Dupieux's Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), George Miller's gasoline-soaked Furiosa and the hugely divisive (and absolutely bonkers sounding) Megalopolis - a $120 million passion project by Francis Ford Coppola.

As for new exhibitions, movies, tv shows and music - here are our highlights. Lord knows we need them, to erase that painting of King Charles III from our minds...


‘Oliver Enwonwu: A Continued Legacy' at Mall Galleries (London, UK)

Beauty and Morality II, 2023, oil on canvas
Beauty and Morality II, 2023, oil on canvas - Oliver Enwonwu

It's been 30 years since the renowned Nigerian painter and sculptor Ben Enwonwu passed away. A new exhibition at London's Mall Galleries seeks to bring him back to life through showing his works alongside his son, Oliver Enwonwu's. Conceived to be like a conversation between the two artists, it explores generational divides, tensions between tradition and contemporary works, and the "shared depiction of femininity as a symbol of indigenous aesthetic and primordial feminine power," according to a press release. See it from 21 May to 1 Jun 2024.

Mark Rothko: ‘Paintings on Paper’ at the National Museum (Oslo, Norway)

ark Rothko, Untitled (seated figure in interior), c. 1938, National Gallery of Art
ark Rothko, Untitled (seated figure in interior), c. 1938, National Gallery of Art - © 2023 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / BONO

While many art lovers will be familiar with Rothko's rectangles, this newly opened exhibition presents an intimate, rarely seen side to the artist through focusing on his works on paper (of which he painted more than 1,000).

From the early days of his career, in which he experimented with figurative and surrealist styles, through to the final and incredibly prolific years of his life, it's a fascinating experience that offers a new perspective on a 20th century icon.

Zhuang Hong Yi: 'Fusion' at HOFA Gallery (London, UK)

Zhuang Hong Yi, Obsidia Flora, 2019
Zhuang Hong Yi, Obsidia Flora, 2019 - HOFA (House of Fine Art)

Bold, textured, kaleidoscopic colours reminiscent of blossoming flowers, Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi's new exhibition 'Fusion' embraces the elements of surprise and curiosity that have defined his personal discovery. Hong Yi uses traditional Chinese techniques such as rice paper folding, ink painting and calligraphy alongside digital elements to innovate and immerse viewers in his processes and cultural heritage. It runs at London's HOFA (House of Fine Art) Gallery on 23 May to 4 June 2024.


'Let It Be' (Disney+)

Beatles obsessives will likely have already devoured this one, but for those previously unaware, Disney+ have re-released the holy grail documentary 'Let It Be'. It chronicles the band's rehearsals and recordings in January 1969 for what would become their final studio album.

Previously unavailable to buy or stream due to the master tapes mysteriously disappearing from Apple Corps after its completion, this version has been meticulously restored and remastered into 4k. And on that note, if you haven't seen Peter Jackson's 2021 epic eight-hour documentary series 'Get Back', get on that afterwards.

Cannes 2024: 'Megalopolis'

We've already caught you up on some of our Cannes coverage in the intro, but Francis Ford Coppola's wildly ambitious and wildly bonkers project Megalopolis deserves its own section just as an excuse to highlight some of the unbelievably strange/confusing details. For example, there are characters called things like 'Wow Platinum' and a moment at the premiere where someone in the audience ventured on stage with a microphone to interact with the film for less than two minutes. Yes, really. Read our film critic David Mouriquand's review.

TV Series

'Bridgerton' (Netflix)

If you burn for Netflix's period drama 'Bridgerton', fan yourself, because season 3 is out now on Netflix. Regency gossip girl Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) is getting serious about looking for a husband while lusty, will-they-won't-they tensions continue to simmer between her and Colin (Luke Newton). Sexy summertime TV has officially arrived.


Billie Eilish: 'Hit Me Hard and Soft'

Billie Eilish has won nine Grammys, two Oscars and countless other awards. At just 22 years old, she's one of the most accomplished artists on the planet - and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. 'Hit Me Hard and Soft' is Eilish's third studio album with her brother, Finneas O'Connell.

"[Finneas] and I put so much into this album and have never ever ever loved something more," the singer wrote on Instagram. Just as the album cover of Eilish falling through water suggests, every track feels like sinking into an abyss of warm, wavy, whispered melodies that buzz with bioluminescent beats in parts. She's done it again.

I Saw the TV Glow (Original Soundtrack)

A24's I Saw the TV Glow, a coming of age film directed by Jane Schoenbrun about a late-night television show linked to a supernatural world, is due to be released in Europe this summer. The soundtrack is a warm embrace for every angsty millennial that once sat on their bedroom floors writing sad poetry to Bright Eyes and Broken Social Scene. Its title track is a cover of the latter's 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl' by Yeule. Other featured artists include Caroline Polachek, Sloppy Jane and Phoebe Bridgers. It feels like slipping through time, every track a mind montage-inducing melody; nostalgia-dipped and gently haunting, like finding an old childhood toy or hearing the distant hum of a dial-up modem.