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: NYT (5-9-07)
The selected pictures pass the test: a South Vietnamese brigadier general executing a Vietcong guerrilla in 1968; a 1973 image of President Salvador Allende of Chile, soon to be assassinated; the 1989 snapshot of a Chinese protestor blocking a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square; and a 1991 Gulf War photograph of a United States soldier in a helicopter, weeping near the body of his best friend.
The film offers vivid thumbnails of the stories behind the pictures. It notes, for example, that Eddie Adams, the Associated Press photographer whose execution image became an antiwar touchstone, supported intervention in Vietnam and regretted that his photograph made the killer — his friend Nguyen Ngoc Loan, then serving as the national police chief of South Vietnam...
SOURCE: NYT (5-9-07)
But the fact that Mr. Brown’s work has been translated into 17 languages and has sold five million copies around the world was not enough to convince HBO that a film version would draw a sizable mainstream audience. When the channel broadcasts its two-hour adaptation of the book, beginning Memorial Day weekend, at its center will be a new character: a man who was part Sioux, was educated at an Ivy League college and married a white woman.
“Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part-white, part-Indian character to carry a contemporary white audience through this project,” Daniel Giat, the writer who adapted the book for HBO Films, told a...
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-07)
These stark reminders of the hazards of newsgathering will be displayed at the new Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, scheduled to open on Oct. 15. Cranes still hover over its steel-and-glass structure, but workers have now installed the facade’s showstopper — a 50-ton, 74-foot-high marble engraved with the First Amendment — and are preparing the exhibitions.
Slowly, the Newseum — a bigger, more dramatic, higher-tech reinvention of of the former Newseum in Arlington, Va. — is taking shape. More than six years in the making and costing $435 million, it may be one of the world’s most expensive museums now under construction. It is certainly...
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-07)
They were Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith. Many details of their lives remain unknown, despite their often controversial branding as a fabulous multicultural couple. Most historians say it was unlikely that they were lovers, although legend has it that she saved him from death at the hands of her people. The two connected near the Jamestown colony of Virginia within a year of its founding in 1607.
Tonight the documentary “Pocahontas Revealed,” part of the “Nova” science series on PBS, uses science to examine more broadly the lives of both Native Americans and the 17th-century newcomers to their land.
The documentary, which relies heavily on dramatic re-enactment, turns to the archaeological site at Werowocomoco, a village about 17 miles north of Jamestown. Archaeologists declared about four years ago that this 45-acre site, on...
SOURCE: BBC (5-6-07)
Charity worker Marilyn Willis was sorting through contributions at Bangor's Oxfam shop when she found the copy of Le Ballet by Boris Kochno.
The book will now be sold in the charity's Valued in Wales auction in Cardiff in July.
Mrs Willis said: "It was a very special book - you could not miss it."
The copy of Le Ballet, which was compiled in the 1950s, is covered in red cloth and is still kept in the original acetate and cardboard cover.
The Picasso lithograph depicts a dancer and the book also features photographs of Nijinsky and set designs by Parisian artist Toulouse-Lautrec.
SOURCE: Reuters (5-8-07)
Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber while he was on his way to address an election meeting near the southern Indian city of Chennai.
The assassination was blamed on neighboring Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels. It was seen as revenge for Gandhi sending Indian soldiers to the island nation as peacekeepers but who eventually got embroiled in the bloody ethnic conflict there.
"It will be a celluloid investigation of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, tackling questions that were never asked," director Anubhav Sinha was quoted as saying by the Times of India newspaper.
SOURCE: Press Release -- PBS (5-1-07)
At the center of this dramatic reevaluation is the discovery of Werowocomoco, the site of Pocahontas’ village, 17 miles from Jamestown. Long sought by archaeologists, Werowocomoco is the very spot where, according to English colonist John Smith, a smitten Pocahontas saved him from execution by her father, the powerful Indian chief Powhatan. Ever since Werowocomoco was discovered four years ago, NOVA has had exclusive access to its excavation by archaeologists from the College of William and Mary. Last summer, the dig yielded thrilling traces of what is likely to be Powhatan’s long house, where John Smith had his fateful encounter with Powhatan and...
SOURCE: David Price at Britannica Blog (5-7-07)
It seemed as if it would have everything: a celebrated director, a boatload of stars (Colin Farrell as John Smith, Christopher Plummer as Christopher Newport, Christian Bale as John Rolfe), and, word had it, scrupulously recreated versions of the English settlement and the natives’ villages. Surely it would spark a nationwide craze for early colonial history. What more could a Jamestown historian ask for?
A lot, as it turned out. I left the premiere in Williamsburg that December feeling glum. At the reception afterward, held under a sprawling tent near...
SOURCE: PBS (5-1-07)
But his contributions as a statesman survive. As first Secretary of the Treasury during the tumultuous early years of the republic, Hamilton led the transformation of the young country into a commercial and industrial powerhouse. He was the one founder who had a vision, not of what America was, but of what it could become.
This two-hour American Experience tells the story of the underappreciated genius who laid the groundwork for the nation's modern economy - including the banking system, Wall Street, and an "opportunity society...
SOURCE: WaPo (5-3-07)
The basic facts of the Mountain Meadows Massacre are not in dispute. Mormons mobilized Paiute Indians, accompanied by Mormons disguised as Indians, to attack a peaceful wagon train. The settlers beat back the attack but were left short of food and ammunition. They disarmed at the request of the Mormons, who said they would lead the settlers to safety but instead turned on them, murdering every man, woman and child above age 8. All that is in doubt historically is whether this was ordered by Brigham Young, president of the Mormon Church and territorial governor of Utah. "September Dawn" says he was responsible;...
SOURCE: Press Release -- UCLA (5-1-07)
"From 12/7 to 9/11: Lessons on the Japanese American Internment," on view at UCLA's Charles E. Young Research Library through June 30 and organized in conjunction with the 65th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, traces the effects of the order‚s implementation and suggests troubling present-day parallels. The exhibit uses photographs, artwork and archival materials to tell personal stories that raise serious questions about loyalty, racism and goverment expediency and that plead for tolerance and understanding of other cultures, religions and points of view.
Within a year of the executive order, more...
SOURCE: LAT (5-2-07)
But running time wasn't the main issue. The thornier challenge was to come up with a cut of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" that satisfied audiences and Warner Bros., the studio making and distributing the film. At one point there were competing versions — one from writer-director Andrew Dominik and another from producer and star Pitt, according to a person familiar with the making of the movie. It's unclear which version of the film will be released.
Warner Bros. only recently announced a Sept. 21 release date for "Jesse James," about two years after it was filmed. (In the time since, Pitt has had daughter Shiloh Nouvel and...
SOURCE: Slate (3-2-07)
Some years later, Daniel Aaron offered a different view. "Writers for the most part have used him as a whipping boy rather than as an object for contemplation," he observed. Their "clever exercises in political denigration haven't weathered well because the topical allusions once so devastatingly apt are largely lost on today's readers, and because they weren't all that funny to begin with."
Both men are partly right. Aaron unfairly dismisses some gems, such as Philip...
SOURCE: Press Release -- Terry Goldman (5-2-07)
The special makes the argument that Star Wars’ intensely compelling stories—borrowed from diverse traditions, from Greek mythology and American westerns to the Bible and even Vaudeville—compel us to explore some of the biggest questions of our time. STAR WARS: THE LEGACY REVEALED explores that view through interviews with politicians, academics, journalists and critics, who all weigh in on the creations of George Lucas. The special shows how seldom a movie can make us laugh and think about our role in the universe—which may be why it has stood the test of time.
SOURCE: NYT (4-30-07)
“The Mormons” is the first joint production of “American Experience,” the history series, and “Frontline,” the public-affairs program. The history side, which dominates tonight, is the strongest.
The installment would be interesting enough if it merely related the fascinating story of the founding and evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religion more commonly known as Mormonism. But it also manages to mix in, through some well-chosen...
SOURCE: Observer (4-29-07)
The on-again, off-again project has been in the works for at least seven years, but now a script is being written - by British writer Rupert Walters - and a director is being negotiated. People involved in the movie say the director should be announced within two or three months and shooting should start by the end of next year at the latest. 'I am hoping to be shooting before then,' said Gabriele Bacher, a producer at Primary Pictures, who will make the film along with Foster's own company.
Foster is no stranger to controversial roles, including her award-winning portrayals of a rape victim in The Accused and a child prostitute in Taxi Driver. But few parts in modern Hollywood history will...