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 email@example.com.
SOURCE: Roger Pulvers in Japan Times (5-20-07)
The film, which starts shooting on June 2, concerns the postwar trial, in Yokohama, of Lt. Gen. Tasuku Okada, former commander of the 13th Area Army in the Tokai region (the area centered on the prefectures of Aichi and Mie). Nineteen of the general's subordinates were also on trial with him.
The court proceedings stemmed from the last months of World War II, when giant American B-29s carried out relentless and indiscriminate bombings of the region, using high-explosives, napalm and other incendiary ordnance. Tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, were burnt to death.
SOURCE: AHA Blog (5-30-07)
SOURCE: http://www.indiantelevision.com (5-30-07)
The channels will be launched in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand.
"We are going to launch both brands in additional territories in the region throughout the summer, and plan to deploy our brands and programming via VoD, mobile, and broadband," says A&E Television Networks senior VP international Sean Cohan.
THC and Crime and Investigation Network will be carried on Astro in Malaysia and Brunei. In Singapore, both channels will be carried on StarHub. In Thailand, The History Channel will be available on TrueVision. Additional distribution arrangements will be announced in the coming months.
SOURCE: http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk (5-30-07)
Since he left his post as the BBC's political correspondent, broadcasts from outside Number 10 haven't quite been the same.
Fans have been able to get a fix by getting up early on a Sunday morning but that has hardly been the best timeslot.
But now Andrew Marr is back and presenting a History of Modern Britain in his own inimitable style.
Marr has that great ability - so lacking in so many modern day presenters to both entertain and inform without resorting to any tricks or gurning incessantly at the camera.
This week his BBC2 series took us back the the Fifites, which Marr argued, wasn't the idyllic golden age as we are led to believe.
It was a black and white world of Suez, Harold Wilson and the birth of satire.
The great thing about this series is that you don't have to be a...
SOURCE: NYT (5-30-07)
Using clothes from the late 1800s, she dressed female friends and posed them in front of painted backdrops to look like the women in the antique photos. But her women appeared with something modern: a newspaper, a tape recorder, a vacuum cleaner.
The shots became known as the Qajar series and made her one of Iran’s most famous female photographers.
“My pictures became a mirror reflecting how I felt: we are stuck between tradition and modernity,” she said in an interview here....
SOURCE: AFP (5-29-07)
"The 354 pieces will be the largest exposition of Frida Kahlo," director of the National Fine Arts Institute Teresa Franco told reporters.
It will also be Kahlo's first comprehensive exhibit in Mexico, she said: After Mexico proclaimed Rivera paintings to be national cultural heritage, foreign owners feared lending her work to Mexico.
Besides one-third of her artistic production, manuscripts and 50 letters that have not been displayed previously, she said.
Works are on loan from Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Nayoga, Japan.
Kahlo (1907-1954) twice married muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and was a close friend of Russian communist leader Leon Trotsky.
SOURCE: Guardian (5-29-07)
Born in the village of Azumino in mountainous Nagano prefecture, Kumai became interested in cinema while a student at Shinshu University. Upon graduation in 1953, he entered the industry as an assistant director. A decade-long apprenticeship at Nikkatsu studios preceded his directorial debut, The Long Death (1964), a thriller based on a notorious 1948 mass poisoning. Japanese Archipelago (1965), another thriller, dealt with the murder of...
SOURCE: Press Release (5-29-07)
Documentary filmmaker Laurence Jarvik boldly confronts this question, exploring the actions and inaction of the Roosevelt Administration and American Jewish leaders and exposing the political tradeoffs that kept the doors closed to Jewish emigrants fleeing the Nazi regime. Requests were made to bomb Auschwitz, set up a Jewish army and construct rescue havens, yet no action was taken.
Containing previously classified information, contemporary interviews and rare newsreel footage, this film is a unique chronicle of important decisions made by the American political and Jewish establishments during World War II. "Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? provides a much needed history lesson for all who are either too young to know, or who were never told the facts." (Neil Barsky, Jewish Students Press Service).
SOURCE: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk (5-29-07)
Russian Ambassador Sergey Peskov inaugurated the five-day exhibition at the Institute of Space Technology (IST).
The 57 photographs put up for display document Russian space history with images that include the maiden earth orbiting satellite, Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space and cosmonaut Yuruy Romanenko seen on a treadmill aboard the Mir Space Station.
Also among the photographs, some of which are in black and white, is that of the Souyz TM 32 spacecraft crew along with the first space tourist Dennis Tito.
IST Vice Chancellor Imran Rahman told Daily Times that Russians had done really well in space programmes and that it was important that Pakistani students learnt from them. “As far as I am concerned,...
SOURCE: New Yorker (6-4-07)
SOURCE: Sacramento Bee (5-27-07)
Of course, the Beatles had changed the world many times before, but the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was different.
It was called "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization," one of its tunes ("She's Leaving Home") was credited with being one of the three great songs of the 20th century, and in the week after the album came out, "the irreparably fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young."
Because those comments were made by, respectively, the Times of London's noted critic Kenneth Tynan, New York Philharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein and New Yorker writer Langdon Winner, they signified the acceptance and triumph of "Sgt. Pepper" and the Beatles in the arts -- and...
SOURCE: http://denver.yourhub.com (5-25-07)
Reading books by big name authors like James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Dean Koontz, and Patricia Cornwell can be like springtime: It's beautiful while it lasts, but then you have to wait through the whole year again for decent weather. And popular books are always fast reads.
An anomaly titled The Historian appeared on fiction best-seller lists in 2006. Written by Elizabeth Kostova, this historical horror novel holds a heavy 600 pages. It isn't a fast read at all.
And with all the time, trees, and ink that went into producing The Historian, an optimistic reader might hope it at least contained compelling characters or an intriguing plot. Unfortunately, those wishes would be wasted. Kostova just tried to do too much with one book.
The Historian is about three historians, who seek to prove Vlad Dracula...
SOURCE: AP (5-27-07)
A new film and biography suggest that the young writer of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility wasn't the solitary genius long imagined by historians but a free spirit whose imagination was fed by a passionate, ill-fated courtship.
The theory, presented by historian Jon Spence in his book Becoming Jane Austen, has been loosely adapted into a film (Becoming Jane) starring Anne Hathaway and Maggie Smith, one of seven Austen-inspired movies and TV miniseries due for release this year.
Audiences remain entranced by Austen's tales of love and loss, desire and disappointment, despite their seemingly outdated focus on the intricate courtship rituals of early 19th-century Britain.
But was Austen's ability to tap into these universal themes a product of her rich imagination, or was she inspired by...
SOURCE: Charles Isherwood in the NYT (5-27-07)
What gives? A clue might be found in the fate of “Letters From Iwo Jima,” the acclaimed Clint Eastwood movie from last year. Few films were more enthusiastically reviewed than the second half of Mr. Eastwood’s somber diptych about the fiercely fought battle between American and Japanese troops in the waning days of World War II. But audiences gave it a skip, despite all the critical hosannas and Mr. Eastwood’s status as a popular star turned bona fide artiste. The same fate had already greeted “Flags of Our Fathers,” which focused on the same battle from the...
SOURCE: NYT (5-24-07)
When the attack began, it was Dec. 7 at Pearl Harbor but Dec. 8 in Japan. The book is subtly subtitled “A Novel of December 8th” to signal its attention to the Japanese point of view. On the basis of that detail, you might expect a high level of fastidiousness from “Pearl Harbor.”
And you would be spectacularly wrong. Because you would find phrases like “to withdraw backward was impossible,” sounds like “wretching noises” to accompany vomiting, or constructions...
SOURCE: NYT (5-25-07)
Its magical role on screen makes Grand Central the ideal location for “Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies,” an ambitious exhibition of films, photographs and sets that begins today in Vanderbilt Hall, adjacent to the main concourse. The project was put together by James Sanders, based on his 2001 book...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (5-24-07)
But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away.
What is this, then? A reproduction of a childhood fantasy in which dinosaurs are friends of inquisitive youngsters? The kind of fantasy that doesn’t care that human beings and these prefossilized thunder-lizards are usually...
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (5-25-07)
That is what George Lucas managed to do with "Star Wars."
The current and former House speakers are just a couple of the two dozen fans and critics who offer their insights into the 30-year "Star Wars" phenomenon in a new documentary, "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed," airing at 9 p.m. Monday on the History Channel.
From the outset, the documentary proves to be somewhat different from the usual History Channel fare. Comedian Stephen Colbert and filmmaker Kevin Smith start the discussion by revealing how "Star Wars" defined their childhood and how "life would never be the same" after they saw the original film.
From there, the documentary expands the "Star Wars" legacy from a childhood fantasy into an enduring yet thoroughly...
SOURCE: USA Today (5-24-07)
"I had been watching cowboy and Indian movies growing up, and this was a completely different view of history -- the first point of view from Indians," says Wolf, executive producer of NBC's Law & Order franchise and spinoffs.
So when Wolf was approached by HBO to produce historian Dee Brown's seminal 1970 work about the displacement and slaughter of the late-19th-century American Indian for the screen, he says he jumped at the opportunity. Six years in the making, the film airs Sunday (9 ET/PT).
Brown's book was not easy to adapt to the screen, and Sunday's premiere is vastly cut back from the big-budget, six-hour miniseries originally envisioned. Wounded Knee cost "well south" of $20 million, Wolf says, and took 39 days to shoot. The story starts in 1876, after the Sioux annihilated Gen. George Custer's troops in the...
SOURCE: The Guardian (student newspaper, UC San Diego) (5-24-07)
At least, they will after viewing Disney's upcoming "The Princess and the Frog," the unwittingly controversial introduction of Disney's first black princess. Alas, nobody warned Mickey about portraying pre-Civil Rights Act blacks in today's Don Imus world. Now the company has a political nightmare on its hands, and in its continuing efforts to mollify the race police, Disney has rewritten American history against the interests of our nation's children.
In the past, Disney has smartly stuck to the safe territory of retelling European fairy tales, exploring the secret lives of animals and personifying objects. These stories easily avoided controversy. Mickey and Minnie were mice but never multiplied like mice; Aladdin and Co. were all the same race; and the beast didn't eat the beauty.
The backdrop for Disney's newest fable, though, is much different. The...