Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-30-06)
The show, complete with nude romps and new theories about conspiracies and cover-ups, will be built around Christine Keeler.
Keeler was a 19-year-old model and topless dancer whose affair with John Profumo, the Tory War Secretary, led to his resignation in 1963 after he lied about it in Parliament.
Richard Alexander, the creator of the show, to be called A Model Girl, claims to have unearthed new evidence behind the scandal, though he refuses to disclose it until the curtain goes up.
SOURCE: Reuters (10-30-06)
In 1979, eight years after the death of the Doors' magnetic frontman Jim Morrison, the band's song"The End" seared the psyche of moviegoers during the opening scene of Francis Ford Coppola's landmark Vietnam epic,"Apocalypse Now."
Then in 1991, Oliver Stone's Doors biopic relit the fire of interest in the band, recalls manager Jeff Jampol, commenting on the Doors' enduring and cyclical popularity.
Now, the band's surviving members -- keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore -- are preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their 1967 self-titled debut album with a wealth of activities to spark interest in the band among a new generation.
On tap: a new boxed set, the band's first authorized biography and a push into areas ranging from ringtones to a theatrical production in Las Vegas that will feature the group's music.
SOURCE: Reuters (10-30-06)
Ripped from today's headlines? Not quite.
The project is not based on the West's ongoing standoff over Tehran's nuclear program but rather on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's first overthrow of a foreign government, 53 years ago.
But while the movie is set in the past, Neshat hopes it will reverberate in the present, showing Westerners how their role in history is partly responsible for the current state of affairs.
"I am drawn to this project because I feel so strongly about the need for Westerners to look back in history," she said in an interview with Reuters.
"Most Westerners have amnesia beyond the Islamic revolution. They have very little concept of the foundation of the problems that we have between Islam and America, and Islam and the West."
The movie is set in 1953,...
SOURCE: Independent Institute (10-25-06)
Most of the reviews of Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” salute the movie as a powerful work of art whose message is that war, whether of choice or necessity, is always horrific.
Actually, it does a lot more than that. It tells us that war tends to involve a double act of predation: the one each warring side inflicts on the other and the one the government—and that vast latticework of interests hidden under the guise of patriotism—inflicts on those who do the fighting and on the rest of society back home.
The first kind of predation is blatant and easily understood, even if it means a country is ready to pay a high price in order to achieve a worthy goal. The other type is more subtle: It is not measured in corpses, it does not take place...
SOURCE: David Forsmark at FrontpageMag.com (10-30-06)
Flags of our Fathers is faithfully based on the great book by James Bradley, son of Navy Corpsman John Bradley, one of the men who raised the hugely symbolic American flag over Mount Suribachi early in the Battle of Iwo Jima. It tells the real story of the most reproduced photograph of all time, the raising of the flag — actually, “raisings” would be the appropriate word, given the fact that there was a less dramatic one before the iconic shot was taken — and how becoming something close to cult figures for what they felt was a routine act as...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-30-06)
Now their glory can be seen in aerial photographs which go on display at the British Museum next month.
The show, The Past from Above, demonstrates, like Shelley's poem Ozymandias ? "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains" ? the impermanence of man's labour. The damage caused by nature, dams, treasure-hunters, farming, mass tourism and wreckers is evident in many of the images, says Lesley Fitton, co-curator of the exhibition.
The photographs of sites in Iraq, such as the Temple of Gareus, the ziggurat at Ur and the 11th century fortress Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, may be the last, most complete views of the ruins. Archaeologists fear bombing or looting may have caused serious damage.
A photograph taken in 1973 of the huts of marsh dwellers in Iraq is an...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (10-27-06)
The courage of Britain's refugees and their contribution to their adoptive nation were yesterday highlighted in a new exhibition designed to refute the image of asylum-seekers as a social and financial burden.
The show at the Museum of London, entitled Belonging, took two years to produce and is the first major exhibition in Britain focused on refugees. It tells the stories of 150 refugees who arrived in the UK in the past 50 years from countries including Germany, Bosnia, Chile and Eritrea.
Organisers said it was an attempt to redress the balance against the portrayal of refugees as "swamping" Britain in search of a lifestyle unavailable in their native countries.
The exhibition, which includes a...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-27-06)
The SS officers, who were running a forced labour regime in southern Russian during the Second World War, are seen relaxing while troops make prisoners work.
Historians said the footage was highly unusual because it was taken in Russia, and shows informal scenes as opposed to the carefully-shot Nazi propaganda films.
The 10-minute black and white film has been stored at Cullompton Baptist Church for 20 years.
It was part of a collection of films left to the church by a worshipper, Reg Whitton, who died in the 1980s. Mr Whitton ran a foundry and a transport firm and employed several emigres and former German prisoners of war. Church members who remember him said he was probably given the film by one of them.
SOURCE: NYT (10-29-06)
One, Shirlyn Wong, 23, said she had barely learned about Hiroshima growing up, let alone about the bloody battle for Iwo Jima, and World War II just didn’t seem all that relevant now. Iraq is where it’s at, she said, and the images of carnage that she’s drawn to are the videos popping up on YouTube, despite what she and her friends see as the best efforts of the government and news media to suppress them.
“As soon as you hear something on CNN about a beheading, or a sniper video, the first thing we do is check on the Internet for it,” Ms. Wong said.
It’s been a long eight...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (10-27-06)
Now there is no avoiding that mystery because these buildings — the Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center — were partly built to address it: what was Washington like, this most publicly celebrated and privately guarded of the founding fathers, and what is the scope of his accomplishment? In trying to answer those questions George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens must now engage in a delicate balance, combining its old tradition of historical curatorship with...
SOURCE: Newsweek (10-30-06)
Next month, New York's American Museum of Natural History's aptly named exhibit "Gold" will offer a comprehensive review of how different cultures have used the lustrous, malleable element and will feature artifacts that stretch from ancient times to modernity. Their common thread? Rank and privilege. "Societies that used gold as ornamentation, money ... were societies that had social stratification," says Charles Spencer, chairman of the museum's anthropology division. "Even in our own culture, that's how gold operates ... I think that may be the draw."
A draw indeed. At the Field Museum in Chicago, a largely golden collection of King Tut artifacts has sold nearly 800,000 tickets since May. The display is expected to...
SOURCE: A.O. Scott in the NYT (10-27-06)
But “The Death of a President” doesn’t really deserve either response, even though its makers and distributors will no doubt be happy to exploit the brouhaha. The best that can be said about Mr. Range’s opportunistic little picture is that, at least in its first half, it faithfully recreates the tone and rhythm of a second-rate American television program.
For a while, this is actually pretty riveting. The film...
SOURCE: National Post (Canada) (10-27-06)
Les Bienveillantes, whose Canadian publishing rights were won late Wednesday by an "extremely strong" bid from McClelland & Stewart, has sold almost a quarter million copies since its French release in August, and already its author, Jonathan Littell, 39, is being spoken of in the same breath as Tolstoy and Flaubert.
Although there has been controversy over the subject matter -- Second World War French historian Peter Schoettler called it a "strange, monstrous book," and explicit to the point of "pornography" -- it has been roundly lauded as a deeply researched and humane treatment of a monstrous subject.
French newspaper Le Monde called it "a stunning...
SOURCE: CBS (10-25-06)
Clark is going to auction off years of memorabilia from "American Bandstand," "New Year's Rockin' Eve" and his other shows.
Among the items to be sold by Guernsey's is Clark's microphone that he used as host of "American Bandstand." Also up for sale is a bass guitar that Paul McCartney played when he was a Beatle.
The auction will be held December fifth and sixth at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in Manhattan's Time Warner Center.
There will be no reserve set for the items, so they will all be sold to the highest bidder.
SOURCE: NYT (10-25-06)
Now a film starring Richard Gere as a journalist and partly shot in this city aims to tell a small chapter in one of those tales.
“Spring Break in Bosnia” is a black comedy loosely based on an actual attempt by a group of journalists to track down Mr. Karadzic. The filmmakers say they hope the movie, due out next year, will shame the international community into making his arrest a higher priority, so that he will finally go on trial at the...
SOURCE: CBS News (Canada) (10-24-06)
The work by the Nova Scotia-based filmmaker is based mainly on Ken McGoogan's book Fatal Passage: The Untold Story of John Rae, the Arctic Adventurer Who Discovered the Fate of Franklin.
McGoogan credits Rae with, in 1854, finding evidence of a famous mystery — the disappearance of the British explorer Sir John Franklin and his 128 crew members.
But the writer also argues that Rae unlocked the last piece of the Northwest Passage puzzle, by discovering that King William Land was an island separated from the mainland by a navigable strait.
However, Rae's Arctic exploration efforts were dismissed because he reported the unpopular notion that Franklin's men had taken part in cannibalism to try to survive.
But the two-hour documentary will go beyond McGoogan's story, relying more on local...
SOURCE: NYT (10-23-06)
An effort is being made here in the largest city in the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country to remedy that situation. The Museum of the Portuguese Language, with multimedia displays and interactive technology, recently opened here, dedicated to the proposition that Portuguese speakers and their language can benefit from a bit of self-affirmation and self-advertisement.
“We hope this museum is the first step to showing ourselves, our culture and its importance to the world,” said Antônio Carlos Sartini, the museum director. “A strategy to promote the Portuguese language has always been lacking, but from now on, maybe things can take another path.”
SOURCE: NYT (10-24-06)
By Monday morning, however, the studio and its partners found themselves facing a costly fight to save their showcase awards entry, as “Flags” took in just $10.2 million at the box office — a relatively tiny beachhead that did not match expectations or its mostly strong reviews. The picture had failed to excite enough older viewers who could remember, readily identify or relate to its subject, the bloody battle for Iwo Jima, to make up for its lack of appeal to younger audiences and paucity of recognizable stars.
For Paramount, which inherited the movie when it bought DreamWorks last year, the combination of a weak opening...
SOURCE: Observer (10-22-06)
The new project will chart the composer of The Four Seasons' ordination as a priest and his life at a school in Venice, where he becomes a music teacher. 'We are setting out to make something that will last for generations,' said the film's director, Boris Damast. 'Amadeus is what we are going for. They set the template for this form, and there's been not much between then and now. That was a wonderful film. We want to make a film of that calibre. Maybe better.'
Vivaldi's plot begins with the composer entering...
SOURCE: Guardian (10-21-06)
"There were bodies bobbing up all around, all these dead men," said the former US marine, now 83 and living in San Diego. "Then we were crawling on our bellies and moving up the beach. I jumped in a foxhole and there was a young white marine holding his family pictures. He had been hit by shrapnel, he was bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. It frightened me. The only thing I could do was lie there and repeat the Lord's prayer, over and over and over."
Sadly, Sgt McPhatter's experience is not mirrored in Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood's big-budget, Oscar-tipped film of the battle for the Japanese island that opened on Friday in the US. While the film's battle scenes show scores of young soldiers in combat, none of them are African-American. Yet almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima,...