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: http://www.smh.com.au (7-31-07)
With work by indigenous artists continuing to break auction records, it's interesting to hear what some of them had to say in 1988 in the late Michael Riley's Boomalli - Five Koori Artists. Marked by stunning visuals, Boomalli challenged the popular idea of "traditional" and "genuine" Aboriginal art and gave the artists involved - Bronwyn Bancroft, Fiona Foley, Tracey Moffatt, Arone Raymond Meeks and Jeffrey Samuels - a rare opportunity to discuss their work.
Jane Campion's After Hours is a dramatisation about a junior clerk who alleges she was sexually harassed by her boss. Campion has said she didn't enjoy making the film (made in 1984 for the government-funded Women's Film Unit, it does occasionally sag under the weight of its worthiness), but it's unmistakably Campion and one can't help thinking that the creepy...
SOURCE: Richard Corliss in Time (7-30-07)
But Bergman wasn't kidding. Most of his 60-some films, from his 1944 screenwriting debut with the schoolroom drama Torment through his swan song Saraband, released in the U.S. in 2005, were about the plague of the modern soul ˜ the demons and doubts, secrets and lies that men and woman evaded but were forced to confront, to their peril. This agonized Swede was a surgeon who operated on himself. He cut into his own fears, analyzed his failings, perhaps sought forgiveness through art. He may never have found...
SOURCE: Thomas Doherty at the website of the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) (7-31-07)
Belying the warm sentiments, the performance was oddly mechanical, but also familiar. The flat tonality, the affectless immobility, and the oracular manner of the bearded old man with the bald dome might have been a computer-generated talking head — were not computer animation more expressive and lifelike in the age of digital graphics. The thought calls up the obvious association: HAL 9000, an older computer model from 2001 (the movie, not the...
SOURCE: Time (7-28-07)
In 1976, French sci-fi buff Pierre Versin donated his collection of tens of thousands of science-fiction books to the Swiss spa town of Yverdon-les-Bains, just north of Lausanne, on the condition that it be made available for public viewing. The result was the launch of Europe's only public science-fiction museum. Since then, the House of Elsewhere has held two or three temporary exhibits a year that explore such staples of the genre as space travel, parallel worlds and alien life forms.
On exhibit until Sept. 23 are Swiss sci-fi artist Christian Lorenz Scheurer's images of imaginary civilizations. His work"helps us discover new realms," says the museum's curator, Patrick Gyger. ...
SOURCE: Guardian (7-31-07)
While the end of British rule was a crucial historical moment for four subcontinental nations, current celebrations focus largely on contemporary India. This is less a tribute to history than canny courtship of that nation as a lucrative trading partner. Celebrating the end of imperial rule also sits oddly next to calls to take pride in the British empire as integral to "Britishness". At a time when most Britons have only a vague understanding of empire and some...
SOURCE: NBC Nightly News (video) (7-29-07)
SOURCE: BBC (7-23-07)
Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.
1934: The Plot Against America
SOURCE: Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (7-26-07)
Greene, with a knack for speaking uncomfortable truths, was just the controversial boost Hughes' station needed. And Hughes was a steadying influence on randy, self-destructive Greene, at least until he tried to mold him into a Richard Pryor-style superstar.
The fact-based comedy-drama "Talk to Me" follows the men's relationship through mutual suspicion, aggravation, friendship, head-spinning success and crushing disappointment. Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor make a harmonious duet of the leads. "Talk to Me," co-written by Hughes' son Michael Genet, is mostly made up of...
SOURCE: Prague Post (7-25-07)
“The Czech Republic had its history stolen,” Bendinger says matter-of-factly. “We’re trying to give a country back its history.”
This week, the two Chicago-based men will begin filming for a TV documentary about the Czechoslovak Legions. The history of the Legions, small armies that fought with the allies during World War I and played a significant part in Czechoslovakia’s independence from Austria-Hungary, was suppressed and rewritten here under Nazism and communism.
“For 50 years, you got yourself in a lot of trouble talking about it,” Bendinger says.
Drawing upon the expertise and experience of advisers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the documentary is part of a long-term effort called the Czech Legion Project (www.czechlegion.com), aimed at reviving popular knowledge about...
SOURCE: NYT (7-27-07)
“No End in Sight,” Charles Ferguson’s exacting, enraging new film, may signal a shift in emphasis, a move away from the immediacy of cinéma vérité toward overt political argument and historical analysis. Not that these have been scarce over the past few years, as an ever- growing shelf of books can testify. Among Mr. Ferguson’s interview subjects are the authors of some of those books — notably Nir Rosen (“In the Belly of the Green Bird”), James Fallows (“Blind Into Baghdad”) and George Packer (“The Assassins’ Gate”) —...
SOURCE: NYT (7-27-07)
Directed by Anthony Giacchino, the film is specifically about a Camden, N.J., antiwar group’s 1971 plot to break into a draft-board office and destroy government records, and the long trial that ensued when the protesters were caught by the F.B.I. It is also about the tradition of left-wing Roman Catholic activism (the Camden 28 was composed mainly of working-class priests and young, devout laypeople) and the threat it posed to those conservative Americans who wished to conflate Christianity and unquestioning acceptance of government policy.
And it is about the F.B.I.’s push to infiltrate and undermine dissident groups — a process that trapped the Camden 28 and that, once exposed in court, led to the protesters’ freedom. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. called the legal proceeding “one of the great trials of the 20th century.”
SOURCE: Earth Times (7-24-07)
The film, directed by Risa Morimoto, a Japanese-American living in New York, takes a kinder view of kamikazes -- a Japanese word commonly translated as "divine wind" -- typically depicted as fanatics filled with hatred for the United States and ready to die for their god and emperor.
In "Wings of Defeat," the dwindling number of surviving pilots expressed sadness, regret and anger at their leaders, who told them they were fighting madmen who would kill them all.
SOURCE: NYT (7-23-07)
On weekends and during summer vacations the Louvre, for one, often resembles a crowded railroad station, with the Mona Lisa predictably a top destination.
Yet for the French government, there is a bit of a problem: At the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and other national museums, where admission costs anywhere from $9 to $12, some two-thirds of all visitors are foreign tourists, as are three-quarters of visitors between the ages of 18 and 25.
The new government of President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to alter this profile. With a view to persuading more French people to enjoy art, it is pondering whether to follow the British and Danish examples of allowing free access to the permanent collections of major museums.
During the recent...
SOURCE: NYT (7-23-07)
You quickly get the point at the start of the show, where Thomas Cole’s epic series of imaginary landscape paintings, “The Course of Empire,” is displayed directly across from the entrance. Painted from 1833 to 1836, the series has long been considered one of the most crucial works of 19th-century American art (almost rivaling Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s mammoth creation across the street, Central Park).
“Not only do I consider ‘The Course of Empire’ the work of the highest genius this country has ever produced, but I esteem it one of the noblest works of art that has ever been wrought,”...
SOURCE: Andrew Delbanco in the New Republic (7-23-07)
That was long ago. We are all theorists now, at least in the rudimentary sense of conceding that facts do not add up by sheer accumulation to truth...
SOURCE: http://www.signonsandiego.com (7-20-07)
In celebration of the centennial year of his birth, the Valley Center History Museum has a special exhibit for the former resident. The exhibit opens at 1 p.m. Saturday and will be on display through the end of the year. A special guest attending the opening will be Valley Center resident and John Wayne look-alike Stan Deskovick.
The movie star, who went by the name of Duke Morrison, moved to Valley Center in 1940.
“I've read three biographies on him,” said Bob Lerner, Valley Center Museum volunteer. “His real name was Marion Morrison, and the biographies always refer to him as Morrison. As a child he was nicknamed 'Duke' and locally he always went by Duke Morrison.”
Wayne built a house on Pauma Valley Drive east of Cole Grade Road and lived there until 1945.
SOURCE: BBC (7-20-07)
With an 87-year-old desperately clinging on to power, a horde of ambitious Valkyries waiting for him to give up his claim to authority, and a tumultuous battle for succession, Bayreuth has it all.
The annual festival of Richard Wagner's music has been run by his grandson Wolfgang for 56 years. It's curtain up next Wednesday on what could be Wolfgang's last festival and it's proving the hottest ticket in the operatic world.
Even if the next generation of Wagners are positioning themselves to take over from Wolfgang - the Wagners have always kept it in the family, since Bayreuth opened in 1876 - the old man isn't gone yet.
SOURCE: Reuters (7-19-07)
Its central figure is the great Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco de Goya, in many ways the world's first modern artist. Yet the film displays only passing interest in his art. Its focus instead is on Spain during the horrific period of the Inquisition and Napoleon's conquest, a subject that has its modern-day parallels, but the film never chooses to draw them. Indeed, the story these talented filmmakers tell is a sad, even pathetic tale about tawdry events and cowardly individuals.
The film opened in Europe in November to poor results. Foreign box office stands at $5.9 million, with $2.2 million coming from Spain. "Ghosts" makes its domestic debut Friday in select markets before an expansion August 3. While lavishly produced with...
SOURCE: NYT (7-20-07)
The tale begins with Spanish church elders condemning etchings by Goya that depict the torture of dissidents and heretics. “These images show us the true face of our country,” frets Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a quasiliberal monk who has asked Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) to paint his portrait, but also exhorts the Roman Catholic Church to fortify the Inquisition and purify the country.
Mr. Forman and his co-writer, Jean-Claude Carrière (once a frequent collaborator with Luis Buñuel),...
SOURCE: NYT (7-20-07)