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 (10-19-07)
The show was a sensation. New Yorkers came, they saw, they plotzed, they came back in droves. As word spread, international visitors flew in to take a peek and ended up staying for days. I suspect that the current follow-up, “Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor,” will spur a rash of repeat behavior. The first-time novelty may have passed. The Baroque world may be different from the Renaissance world, at once more grandiose and more ordinary, more like our own. But this exhibition too is stupefying, a king-size display of a space-eating art, awesome in its exacting detail.
SOURCE: LiveScience (10-18-07)
The images are part of an exhibition, "Mona Lisa Secrets Revealed," which will feature new research by French engineer Pascal Cotte and debut in the United States at the Metreon in San Francisco. The Mona Lisa showcase is part of a larger exhibition called "Da Vinci: An Exhibition of Genius."
Cotte, founder of Lumiere Technology, scanned the painting with a 240-megapixel Multi-spectral Imaging Camera he invented, which uses 13 wavelengths from ultraviolet light to infrared. The resulting images peel away centuries of varnish and other alterations, shedding light on how the artist brought the painted figure to life and how she appeared to da Vinci and his contemporaries.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (10-18-07)
Mme Deneuve, who is 64 on Tuesday, emerges from the biography, which she tried to block, as a calculating and unhappy person, driven by money and an obsessive need for privacy and independence.
The actress, who has been described on numerous occasions as the most beautiful woman in the world, is usually presented in France as a warm and rather scatty person, beneath an icy, controlled exterior.
SOURCE: Slate (10-17-07)
[HNN Editor: To watch the slide show look for the link at the top left of your screen. Don't hit the "play" button. That brings up the advertisement.]
SOURCE: Gregory McNamee at Britannica Blog (10-18-07)
John Birks Gillespie, nicknamed Dizzy for his constant clowning, thought otherwise. In his early 20s, he considered Calloway a square for preferring Jonah Jones’s mellow, accessible swing to Dizzy’s dissonant bebop, a style that Calloway branded “Chinese music.” When Calloway made Jones his first trumpeter and cut back on Dizzy’s solos, Dizzy fought back in two ways. The first wasn’t particularly elevated: living up to his nickname, he played the cut-up onstage, mugging and shooting spitballs while Calloway was crooning love songs, making the audience laugh.
When an especially large spitball landed on a footlight, Calloway called Dizzy on it, and Dizzy pulled a knife and slashed Calloway. The cut wasn’t serious, but Dizzy was out of a job—even though, as it turns out...
SOURCE: Michael Kimmelman in the NYT (10-17-07)
Mr. Sarkozy guaranteed that the museum, a pet project of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, would make headlines when he conspicuously did not show up for its inauguration.
Nor did many other people when I stopped by the other day. I am told that thousands showed up the first few days, but only a small crowd milled around on the museum’s first Saturday afternoon. There’s no charge for admission. There’s no fancy gift shop or cafe, either,...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (10-17-07)
But that said, if you come here with some background — from, for example, Michael Burns’s brief documentary history, “France and the Dreyfus Affair,” or the more epic account by Jean-Denis Bredin, “The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus” — the 200-some objects fairly hum with importance and emotional weight. Unusual artifacts from the Dreyfus family collection also shed light on the strangeness and shock of Dreyfus’s personal experience.
SOURCE: NYT (10-16-07)
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (10-12-07)
So it was that at one stroke of the pen, the newly founded society laid the foundations of history as understood today, giving precedence to material evidence over the a priori theories, largely mythical, that had prevailed until then about the British past.
"Making History: Antiquaries In Britain, 1707-2007," the show on view at the Royal Academy until Dec. 2 to celebrate the foundation of the Society, displays some of these "things" and recounts the circumstances in which they were...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (10-10-07)
SOURCE: Vanity Fair (11-1-07)
SOURCE: NYT (10-12-07)
But that’s getting ahead of this story, which begins in 1585 when Queen Elizabeth hit 52, though the film seems to put her closer to 38, Ms. Blanchett’s actual age. The blurring of fact and fancy is, of course, routine with this kind of opulent big-screen production, in which the finer points of history largely take a back seat to personal melodrama and lavish details of production design and costumes. In this regard “The Golden Age” may set a standard for such an...
SOURCE: Slate (10-11-07)
SOURCE: MSNBC (10-11-07)
The Swedish academy’s announcement was stunning even by the standards of Nobel judges, who have been known for such surprises as Austria’s Elfriede Jelinek and Italy’s Dario Fo.
Lessing, 11 days short of her 88th birthday, is the oldest choice ever for a prize that usually goes to authors in their 50s and 60s. Although she is widely celebrated for “The Golden Notebook” and other works, she has received little attention in recent years and has been criticized as strident and eccentric....
A largely self-taught author who ended formal schooling at age 13, Lessing has drawn heavily from her time living in Africa, exploring the divide between whites and blacks, most notably in 1950’s “The Grass Is Singing,”...
SOURCE: NYT (10-10-07)
Preservationists feared that Mr. Gordeev, who made his money in the rough-and-tumble Russian real estate market, might bulldoze the house to make way for the kind of gaudy new development that has become emblematic of the new Russia.
Today, the Melnikov House not only survives but also seems destined to become a museum. And that is mostly, if not all, due to Mr. Gordeev, who has emerged as a white-knight protector of Soviet architecture....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (10-10-07)
The Barbican's new show, Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now, deals with precisely the difference between art and pornography that the debate over Goldin's image of two small girls has reignited.
Is Klare and Edda belly-dancing an example of child pornography, or does the fact of Goldin's reputation as a serious documentary photographer, and the respectability of the Baltic as a museum, elevate the picture to the category of art?
What is sublime to one person can be smut to another, and Seduced does nothing if not tease out the difference between stimulating the mind and arousing the senses. Covering 2,000 years of representations of sex, Seduced sets out to seduce....
SOURCE: Village Voice (10-9-07)
Godard had recently toured Ameri- can colleges with a print of La Chinoise— initially considered unreleasable—but he never got any closer to New York than SUNY Albany and, if reviews in the sec- tarian press are any indication, student radicals took La Chinoise as more snarky satire than glamorous model for action. (The Battle of Algiers was the real revolutionary film du jour.) Protests at Columbia had been gathering momentum since mid-March and, hardly a movie, it was the April 4 assassination of Martin Luther King that raised the stakes there, as everywhere else.
Still, like its drive-in and Broadway equivalents Wild in the Streets and Hair, which also appeared that April, La Chinoise was an integral part of the '68 juggernaut....
SOURCE: NYT (10-9-07)
This was no joke or acting stunt. It was what actually happened on a quiet Friday afternoon in Lund, a small university town in southern Sweden where “The History of Sex,” an exhibition of photographs by the New York artist Andres Serrano, had opened two weeks earlier.
Around 3:30, half an hour before closing, four vandals wearing black masks stormed into a space known as the Kulturen Gallery while shouting in Swedish, “We don’t support this,” plus an expletive. They pushed visitors aside, entered a darkened room where some of the photographs were displayed and began smashing the glass protecting the photographs and then hacking away at the prints.
SOURCE: NYT (10-9-07)
Among the topics broached in the 40-odd films, both short and feature-length, in this four-disc set are abortion, unionization, interracial marriage, the rights of women, immigration, workplace safety, homelessness, public education and predatory lending practices.
SOURCE: Christopher Orr in the New Republic (10-5-07)
The film opens in September 1881, seven months before its titular act. James (Brad Pitt) is 34 years old and living in Kansas City under the name Thomas Howard. The legendary James-Younger gang--which had for years preyed upon banks, stagecoaches, trains, and even a county fair--is no more, its members all caught or killed, save for James and his older brother Frank (Sam Shepard). For a final train robbery,...