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: NYT (2-29-08)
According to this oddly plotted and frantically paced pastiche — written by Peter Morgan, directed by Justin Chadwick — the girls were more or less the Paris and Nicky Hilton of the Tudor court. In the film’s version of the Boleyn family saga, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory of the same title, they were pimped out by their scheming, ambitious father, Sir...
SOURCE: A.O.Scott in the NYT (2-29-08)
SOURCE: Wired.com (2-25-08)
David Hajdu retells the tale in his new book, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. By the late '40s, kids were buying 100 million comic books every month with titles like Pay-Off: True Crime Cases, It Rhymes With Lust, and The Crypt of Terror. "For the first time, a whole generation felt like, Here's something created by other young...
SOURCE: Guardian (2-26-08)
The meeting, during which the US and Soviet leaders discussed limiting the use of ballistic missiles, ended in failure at the 11th hour. But it was widely credited for bringing about a treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear forces in 1987.
"These are fascinating historical characters, larger-than-life figures, but I want to show who they were and why they did what they did," Scott told The Hollywood Reporter. "Their actions helped shape history, paving the way for the end of the Cold War." The script for the as-yet-untitled project is still in the works, but Scott says filming could be completed by the end of the year, with a view to releasing the movie in early 2009.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-27-08)
The Spanish artist was buried in the grounds of a château that he bought on a whim in 1958 in the village of Vauvenargues in the south of France.
Small groups of visitors will be allowed to view his final resting place, where he has lain since his death aged 91. The raised burial mound is topped with his 1933 sculpture, Femme au vase.
SOURCE: http://www.comingsoon.net (2-27-08)
It's somewhat of a departure from his previous groundbreaking docs The Kid Stays in the Picture, a biography of producer Bob Evans, and the Oscar nominated On the Ropes, not only because he didn't make it with regular collaborator Nanete Burstein, but also because it's clearly a film made in response to the political climate in the country. It mixes archival footage with animated recreations to recount the story of the protests and marches surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which led to riots and arrests when the police got violent. Much of the film deals with the court case against the organizers of the rally, including Abbie Hoffman, Alan Ginsberg and Bobby Seale, who are voiced and performed by actors Hank Azaria, Jeffrey Wright, Mark Ruffalo and the late...
SOURCE: Robert McHenry at Britannica Blog (2-27-08)
The motion picture The Day After (not to be confused with the Gorean fantasy The Day After Tomorrow) aired the other day on one of the cable channels and, as usual, I watched most of it. I’m not an especial fan of nuclear warfare fiction, though I do think that A Canticle for Liebowitz is one of the great science-fiction novels and Dr. Strangelove (shown right) is one of the great movie satires. But I always watch The Day After when I run across it, for three reasons.
First, as I find...
SOURCE: BBC (2-25-08)
The famous writer's footwear will go under the hammer at Edinburgh's Shapes auctioneers on 1 March.
The slippers were gifted to Scott in 1830 after visitors to his Abbotsford home in the Borders were dismayed at the state of the ones he was wearing.
Consultant Dr Duncan Thomson said they had been "knocked around a bit" but remained in "pretty good condition".
SOURCE: BBC (2-22-08)
The producers call it an educational and sensitive portrayal of Anne's two years in hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
But her only living relative says showbusiness is profiting from the Holocaust.
Anne's cousin Buddy Elias, now 82, has called her a "fun-loving girl with a tremendous imagination".
Watching Anne Frank: A Song to Life, I soon found myself wondering whether the teenage heroine's sense of fun would extend to this much-hyped and occasionally kitsch new show.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-23-08)
The fresco was long presumed lost forever behind the new paintings. But Maurizio Seracini, an Italian expert in high-technology art analysis, will soon deploy the cutting-edge science of a neutron generator and gamma ray detector in an attempt to prove that the mural is actually preserved beneath a wall built just in front of it during the remodelling.
SOURCE: Eliane Karp-Toledo in the NYT (2-23-08)
SURE, it seemed like a great idea when, last September, President Alan García of Peru reached a preliminary agreement with Yale about the disposition of more than 350 artifacts taken from Machu Picchu. Everyone hoped the settlement might be a break for cultural understanding in the cloudy skies of international cooperation. News reports suggested that Yale would return more than 350 museum-quality artifacts, plus several thousand fragments thought to be of interest mainly to researchers — all of which were taken from the mountaintop Inca archaeological complex nearly a century ago — and that legal title to all the artifacts, even those to be left at Yale for research, would be held by Peru.
But having finally obtained a copy of the agreement, I can see that Yale continues to deny Peru the right to its cultural patrimony, something Peru has demanded since 1920.
SOURCE: Allan Gerson in the NYT (2-23-08)
Art lovers may be delighted to see artworks long held in secret by Russia, but the sad truth is that the British government and the Royal Academy are now complicit in the theft of private property. If other countries follow Britain’s lead and pass “immunity from seizure” legislation in the hopes of playing host to “From Russia” or similar shows, the results will be far more pernicious than anyone can imagine.
There is, after all, far more at stake than the...
SOURCE: AFP (2-22-08)
His lawyer Rachel Atkins told judge David Eady the "deeply distressing" libellous allegation by World Entertainment News Network Limited (WENN) had caused her client "acute embarrassment".
The claim arose after London-based WENN, which provides entertainment news and photographs around the world, published an article on December 23 last year entitled "Smith: Hitler Was A Good Person", the court was told.
Atkins said the article "wholly misrepresents" an interview her client gave to a Scottish newspaper and in fact he considered Hitler to be a "vile and heinous man".
"The allegation that he could think otherwise is deeply distressing to the claimant and has caused him acute...
SOURCE: NYT (2-24-08)
Mr. Mailer, under oath as a witness in a federal conspiracy trial, recalled a 1967 conversation with Jerry Rubin, the Yippie leader and provocateur, about a “youth festival” that groups opposed to the Vietnam War were planning as a convention counterpoint.
“I was overtaken with the audacity of the idea,” Mr. Mailer testified, “and I said, ‘It’s a beautiful and frightening idea.’ ”
The protests, the brutal reaction of the police, and the conspiracy trial of eight leaders of the antiwar movement that followed are the subjects of a new documentary, “Chicago 10.” Mr. Mailer, who died in November, was an animated witness at the trial, according to contemporary news accounts. And he is animated in “Chicago 10” too, in a second sense — as a cartoon.
SOURCE: NYT (2-24-08)
That, at least, is how Kazakhstan’s new burgeoning film industry presents him in “Mongol,” one of five films vying tonight for the Oscar for best foreign-language film.
Call it, if you will, the Revenge of the Borats. Flush with oil profits, led by a prideful autocrat, this emerging petro-state is experiencing a cinematic boomlet led by KazakhFilm, the state-run movie company. “Mongol,” which was financed privately and directed by a Russian, is the country’s first Oscar nominee, a visually lush work that depicts the early years of the Asian steppes’ most famous ancient leader with graphic battle scenes to make Sam Peckinpah blush.
For many Kazakhs, the nomination is more than a milestone in the development of their film industry. It is evidence that this sparsely...
SOURCE: Peter Biskind in Vanity Fair (3-1-08)
Even though three years had passed since the panicky evacuation of U.S. personnel and some South Vietnamese friends from the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon, the two pictures, which seemed to come down on opposite sides of the conflict, brought the war home with a vengeance, reopening old wounds and inflaming passions long thought spent....
SOURCE: Ernest Freeberg in the LAT (2-19-08)
Moviemakers have not been kind to novelist Upton Sinclair, and "There Will Be Blood" is no exception.
In the early 20th century, Sinclair was one of the first serious writers to be fascinated by the movies -- as a source of income and as a way to spread his socialist ideas to a wide audience. Imagine his surprise when he watched one of the first movie adaptations of one of his novels, "The Moneychangers," in 1920. The filmmaker had turned a muckraking expose of Wall Street into a melodrama about opium dens in San Francisco. Sinclair may have been the first American novelist to protest that "it is the amiable custom of the film producers ... to take...
SOURCE: NYT (2-20-08)
Running parallel to the show of French-held art is a companion exhibition: looted art, with no known owners, held in custody by the Israel Museum itself.
The two exhibitions are haunting, and they also contain some notable art, including works by Cézanne, Manet, Degas, Chagall, Delacroix, Egon Schiele, Monet, Alfred Sisley, Max Liebermann, Pieter de Hooch and others.
Some of the French-held art was ordered taken by Hitler himself, for the Third Reich. Some pieces were looted; others were forced sales. After the war some works were immediately returned; de Hooch’s 1658...
SOURCE: NYT (2-20-08)
Mr. Hoffman, who lives in New York, plans to visit Washington for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ presentation of August Wilson’s 20th Century, a full month of staged readings of Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicling the lives of African-Americans in the last century, a play for each decade.
“The stories are so specific, you can’t help but get emotionally involved within the first 5 to 10 minutes of an August Wilson play,” said Mr. Hoffman, who plans to attend all 10. “When I go, I feel a real immediacy with the characters and the events and the ideas that get put forward.”
The staging of all the plays at once — it runs March 4 through April 6 — is a first, organizers said. Michael Kaiser, the president of the Kennedy Center, said that even before Wilson died of liver cancer in 2005, there had been a discussion about presenting the plays as a whole. “These are 10 spectacular...
SOURCE: http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum (2-19-08)
The looting of the Iraq Museum was widely publicized in the international press. However, it is less well known that ongoing looting of archaeological sites poses an even greater threat to the cultural heritage of Iraq. The exhibit “Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past” and the April 12 symposium (see below) examine the ongoing destruction and looting of Iraq’s cultural heritage.
Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia, is the cradle of civilization, the region that spawned the seminal inventions of writing, the calendar, the wheel, and even the concept of cities. The history of the world quite literally begins in Mesopotamia, making the loss of its cultural...