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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: BBC (9-13-07)
Two University of Glamorgan professors found the one-act play among archives in the British Library during research for a book they were writing.
The Better Half, was last performed in 1922 by the London-based Grand Guignol company, but never published.
The play is described as "a comedy of manners" which focuses on a husband and wife and her best friend.
Professor Mike Wilson, who found the play, explained: "The husband and wife are in an unhappy relationship and he is about to embark on an affair, but he is an honourable man and refuses to consummate it.
SOURCE: NYT (9-12-07)
At powwows — there are dozens every year — thousands of Germans with an American Indian fetish drink firewater, wear turquoise jewelry and run around Baden-Württemberg or Schleswig-Holstein dressed as Comanches and Apaches. There are clubs, magazines, trading cards, school curriculums, stupendously popular German-made Wild West films and outdoor theaters, including one high in the sandstone cliffs above the tiny medieval fortress town of Rathen, in Saxony, where cowboys fight Indians on horseback. A fake Wild West village, Eldorado, recently shot up on the...
SOURCE: AFP (9-12-07)
The British Museum is hosting "The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army" until April 6 and advance ticket sales are already breaking box office records, according to The Times newspaper.
About a dozen warriors are set to go on show. Around 100,000 tickets have already been sold and the exhibition could outstrip the Treasures of Tutankhamun display in 1972, seen by 1.7 million people.
The terracotta warriors will be shown alongside more than 100 other objects, forming the most important exhibition relating to China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC), ever seen outside his homeland.
SOURCE: Historian John Dower in the AHA's Perspectives (9-1-07)
For Japanese, the final year of World War II in Asia was a blur of wholesale death overseas and on the home front as well, with U.S. air raids eventually targeting 65 cities. The nation's leaders had started two wars they could not end—first in China in 1937, and then against the United States and European colonial powers ensconced in Asia in December 1941. From the emperor on down, they were caught in the coils of their disastrous wars of choice: trapped by rhetoric, paralyzed by a blood...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (9-11-07)
The new exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, for example, is not a commemoration. “Here Is New York: Remembering 9/11,” which opens today, is exclusively about memory, which doesn’t diminish its power. In two galleries 1,500 inkjet-printed photos taken six years ago during those apocalyptic days are mounted with simple stationery clips. They are reminders of hidden pressure points and buried sensations.
These images will jump-start the memories of any New Yorker who smelled the white dust, saw the drifting burned scraps of paper, who ran through the streets or watched in shock, who lost loved ones or still bears searing physical or mental scars....
SOURCE: NYT (9-11-07)
The propriety of giving Elia Kazan — one who “named names” — an honorary Oscar in 1999 remains a contentious subject. And only five years ago Stanley Kramer’s widow bitterly battled the makers of a television documentary that depicted her late husband using the blacklist to deny his former partner Carl Foreman a producer’s credit on “High Noon.”
But on Monday night in Toronto, one of the era’s acknowledged heroes, the jailed and blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, was expected to deliver some posthumous words that might finally put to rest the hunt for good guys and bad.
The admonition occurs in the first few minutes of “Trumbo,” a documentary directed by Peter Askin and written by Trumbo’s son, Christopher Trumbo. The film is making its debut as...
SOURCE: Gary Leupp in Counterpunch (9-11-07)
I have in my CD collection a recording of a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème staged in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia on April 29, 1961. The mono album which I acquired secondhand preserves for history a mixed, generally unremarkable presentation of the opera. But it also preserves the voice of Luciano Pavarotti at the age of 25, making his debut as Rodolfo. Once an aspiring professional soccer player, he had worked...
SOURCE: NYT (9-9-07)
But 35 miles south at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Va., visitors in a virtual boot camp tested their mettle against drill instructors and their marksmanship on an M-16 laser-rifle range.
Up the Potomac at Mount Vernon, crowds spilled onto a four-acre replica of George Washington’s working farm, while inside the Revolutionary War Theater the rumble of cannons and the cold prick of snow falling overhead lent verisimilitude to the re-enactment of his troops crossing the Delaware River.
And at the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, visitors with $16 advance tickets snaked out the door as they waited their turn to practice fantasy espionage, complete with assumed identities, pen cameras, shoe phones and the...
SOURCE: A.O.Scott in the NYT (9-7-07)
In a version of history held by many Germans, the SS and other specialized organizations conceived and carried out policies of extermination against civilians, while the Wehrmacht rank and file went about the usual business of fighting the enemy. It was thus possible, after the war, to commemorate the service of fathers and grandfathers, and even to treat them with a measure of sentimental reverence, without condoning the atrocities of the Third Reich.
An exhibit that opened in Munich in 1997 explicitly challenged this view of history, and the controversy it provoked is the subject of Mr. Verhoeven’s film. Though his sympathies are clearly with the historians and curators who presented the German public with...
SOURCE: Reuters (9-7-07)
Stone has been visiting central Vietnam since Wednesday and went to the site of the killing of 500 civilians, mostly women and children, on March 16, 1968, the worst recorded U.S. war crime committed in Vietnam.
Two dailies, Thanh Nien (Young People) and Tuoi Tre (Youth), quoted the director as referring to the U.S. war in Iraq when he talked to survivors of My Lai on Thursday. Americans serving in Iraq have been accused of torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and of the November 2005 killing of civilians in Haditha.
"Iraq is a terrible nightmare but we have to be reminded of what happened in My Lai, otherwise we would repeat our mistake," Stone told Thanh Nien in My Lai, a hamlet in Son My village in central Quang Ngai province.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-7-07)
Completed in 1642, The Night Watch was commissioned by local militiamen who wished to be immortalised on canvas. Rembrandt was then one of Europe's most celebrated artists.
According to Greenaway's film, the artist discovered that the militia captain had been murdered and his colleagues made his death look like a training ground accident.
The Night Watch contains this hidden message and also mocks the militiamen, insinuating that one is gay and another is a womaniser, Greenaway believes.
In the movie’s eloquent opener Mr. Guzmán speaks in voice-over while he rifles through a battered wallet. This, he explains, is almost all that remains of Allende. In the scenes that follow, the documentarian restlessly circles back to Allende, envisioning him as a structuring absence that hovers over the country like a ghost, shaping even its troubling silence about...
Hour by hour, working through the night in his studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to forge elegant black steel mounts for these and other tortured artifacts from Sept. 11, 2001, the sculptor Richard Webber started “communing with them,” he recalled. In their presence, “you could almost hear what happened that day.”
Ultimately, he fashioned seemingly delicate mounts that supported these impossibly heavy objects of disaster for a forthcoming exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, “Here Is New York: Remembering 9/11.” It will be the city’s first major trade center retrospective, and opens next Tuesday, the sixth anniversary, and continues through Jan. 1.
The show includes more than 1,500 photographs documenting the tragedy and its aftermath, as well as 10 carefully chosen artifacts touched by history that exemplify the...
Read under the table by a generation of pubescent Israelis, often the children of survivors, the Stalags were named for the World War II prisoner-of-war camps in which they were set. The books told perverse tales of captured American or British pilots being abused by sadistic female SS officers outfitted with whips and boots. The plot usually ended with the male protagonists taking revenge, by raping and killing their tormentors.
After decades in dusty back rooms and closets, the Stalags, a peculiar Hebrew concoction of Nazism, sex and violence, are re-emerging in the public eye. And with them comes a rekindled debate on the cultural representation...
SOURCE: Anne Applebaum in Slate (9-3-07)
Famously, there were mountains of flowers everywhere, not only in front of Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace but in front of the various gyms and restaurants Diana was so often photographed entering and leaving. Something like hysteria reigned in newsrooms too. An editor of my acquaintance told me...
SOURCE: NYT (9-4-07)
“In the Shadow of the Moon,” a documentary that premieres this week in New York and Los Angeles, tells the story of the Apollo program and the race to reach the moon, as President John F. Kennedy declared in 1962, “before this decade is out.” And so, on July 20, 1969, we did.
Note the “we.” It is from one of the most powerful, lump-in-the-throat moments of this exceptional film. Michael Collins, who orbited the moon during the Apollo 11 mission while Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. took their lunar module down to the surface, said that after the flight, on the around-the-world tour that NASA sent them on, “Wherever we went, people, instead of saying, ‘Well, you Americans did it!’ — everywhere, they said, ‘We did it! We, humankind, we, the human race, we, people, did it!’ ”...
SOURCE: Discovery Channel News (9-4-07)
The discovery occurred when one of the Renaissance master's artworks was bombarded with a narrow beam of high-energy ions.
Presented at Ecaart 2007, an international conference running in Florence, Italy, until September 7, the study decodes for the first time Leonardo's painting technique.
Researchers at the Nuclear Techniques Laboratory for Cultural Heritage in Florence used a nuclear accelerator device that launches particles at high speed to determine the composition of the oil-on-wood painting Madonna of the Yarnwinder, completed in 1501.
"This non-destructive technology not only made it possible to identify pigments in the various paint layers, but also allowed us to decipher how Leonardo created his works. It was as if we were watching him while he painted," Cecilia Frosinini, an art historian at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure...
SOURCE: PRWeb (9-4-07)
"Mary Hays McCauley, who is usually considered the real Molly Pitcher, is identified with the Battle of Monmouth, fought in June 1778," says De Pauw."But there is no contemporary evidence to confirm that. Her obituary notices do not mention any military service beyond support for her soldier husband, and the pension she received from the Pennsylvania legislature mentions 'services rendered during the Revolution,' but doesn't specify what those were. There is,...
SOURCE: NYT (9-2-07)
Finally, in late October, the fax machine began disgorging pages. Mr. Danielpour scooped them up, drove to the palatial Hotel Adlon Kempinski, ordered lunch, began reading and soon found himself in tears. As he told the story the other day in Manhattan, where “Margaret Garner” was in rehearsal for its local premiere, at the New York City Opera on Sept. 11, a waiter noticed that Mr. Danielpour had stopped eating. “Excuse me, sir,” the waiter said, “is anything wrong with your risotto?”
In her time Margaret Garner was a cause célèbre. In 1867, within a...