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: Artdaily.org (8-4-09)
Henry Wyndham, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be offering for sale this remarkable group of paintings and prints from the collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough. The collection reveals both a personal and public journey through much of the best British Art of the 20th century...
SOURCE: Media Research Center (8-1-09)
So how unusual is it for a new President to be featured seven times on Time's cover, as Barack Obama has been (with First Lady Michelle Obama snagging her own solo appearance)? A look back at Time's covers finds Bill Clinton matched Obama's celebrity in 1993 — seven covers for himself, one for Hillary. But the last three Republican Presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush — were given relatively short shrift.
Indeed, looking at the covers from when those three Republicans won the presidency through early August of their first year in office, Reagan and the two Bushes combined were only featured seven times — and it would have been only six if Reagan hadn't been shot by an attempted assassin (April 13, 1981 cover story)...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (8-3-09)
The other cartoon is Walt Disney's animation, Fantasia (1940). In the prehistoric sequence that accompanies a drastically edited version of The Rite of Spring, there's an evolutionary episode. It starts with a ballet of undersea primal blobs. One of the blobs takes shape, and embarks on a journey, left to right and upwards, during which it mutates into more complex life forms – tadpole,...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (8-3-09)
It is doubtful that King George V was really a great fan, but a concert that he apparently enjoyed in 1919 has led to the palace's inclusion in a list of significant British jazz locations.
The palace is listed among a dozen more widely recognised sites such as Ronnie Scott's club in Soho and the London Hippodrome for enthusiasts to vote on this week in the run-up to next weekend's Brecon jazz festival.
The most popular will be given a (Kind of) Blue plaque in homage to the plaques that adorn the former homes of famous London residents, but more especially to this year's 50th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis's seminal Kind of Blue album.
The palace – as opposed to the Hammersmith Palais, which also makes the list – gets its recognition for...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (8-2-09)
It dramatises the lives of thousands of girls aged 13 to 19 who went to China’s remote far west in the 1950s to follow soldiers sent to colonise the turbulent Muslim region.
In real life it was a trip to purgatory. As shooting for the film unfolds in Beijing under the watchful gaze of party censors, an astonishing story of mass deception, forced marriages and suicides has come to light.
Elderly women have come forward to tell how they were lured to China’s new frontier by false promises of training and education - only to find themselves locked in barracks and coerced into marrying soldiers.
Chinese journalists have also discovered that Chairman Mao Tse-tung approved the dispatch of 900 prostitutes from the brothels of Shanghai to undergo “thought reform” at the hands of the...
SOURCE: Times (UK) (8-3-09)
That is the challenge that the film director Kevin Macdonald has set himself in his latest film, The Eagle of the Ninth, to be shot in Hungary and Scotland later this year. After award-winning films such as Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland and, more recently, State of Play with Russell Crowe, Macdonald is exploring the story of the Roman Ninth Legion, which mounted an expedition north in 117 AD, and which, allegedly, never returned.
Whether the event — based on a 1950s’ novel by Rosemary Sutcliffe — is true or not (most historians have debunked it), the Pictish or Celtic tribes that inhabited the lands north of the wall were not only real, they were a formidable warrior race.
“The tribes that the Romans met...
SOURCE: History Today (7-31-09)
The UNESCO Memory of the World International Register is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance, similar to a World Heritage Site list for documents and archives. It was created in 1997 and forms an integral part of the Memory of the World Programme, which was established in 1992 to promote the preservation and dissemination of valuable archive and library collections worldwide. Inscriptions to the International Register are made every two years....
SOURCE: NYT (8-2-09)
Except that it didn't. The Britons weren't just producing high-toned, literary films intended for export, though it's easy to get that impression from reading most of the standard film histories. Britain was also home to a rich tradition of genre filmmaking — thrillers, musicals, comedies and crime films — much of which remains unknown to American audiences.
Brit Noir, a four week, 44-film series that begins Friday at Film Forum in Manhattan, offers a tantalizing peek at a vast, still largely unexplored body of work: the crime films and thrillers that began to appear in the years just before World War II and came into their own between the end of the war and the late 1950s. The full schedule is at filmforum.org....
SOURCE: BBC (8-1-09)
The relics include statues, art work, manuscripts and personal belongings of a famous 19th Century Buddhist master.
The leader of the search team, Michael Eisenriegler, described it as an "adventure of a lifetime".
A total of 64 crates of treasures were buried in the desert by a monk named Tudev, in an attempt to save them from the ransacking of the Mongolian and Soviet armies.
SOURCE: AP (8-2-09)
The works — an extensive concerto movement and a fragmentary prelude — are part of "Nannerl's Music Book," a well-known manuscript that contains the Austrian master's earliest compositions, the International Mozarteum Foundation revealed while presenting the pieces in Mozart's native Salzburg.
SOURCE: Observer (8-2-09)
But a play that literally traces the route of Belfast's so-called "terror tours" can fulfil that boast. Two Roads West is set in a most unusual theatrical setting - the inside of a Belfast black taxi cab. For just over an hour an audience of up to five people travel around in a theatre-on-wheels as the taxi criss-crosses the Falls and Shankill Roads and tells the story of one woman's journey home after 40 years in exile outside Northern Ireland.
During the journey the audience sit cramped beside "Rosie", a grandmother-to-be who left the city before it was torn apart by the Troubles, and how on her own "terror tour" she is given a second chance to see the lover she left behind back in the 1960s.
The mobile play is the work of former IRA hunger-striker-turned-writer Laurence...
SOURCE: NYT (7-30-09)
Yet the intrepid shipbuilders of the Netherlands launched vessels by the tens of thousands during the 1600s, and the Dutch ruled the known — to Europeans — aquatic universe until the British caught up and surpassed them by the end of the century.
And Dutch artists were masters of the painted seascape, which came into its own around the middle of the 16th century. This well-produced show presents 72 paintings by about three dozen of the genre’s most esteemed practitioners. It was organized by the National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich, England, where it appeared under the title “Turmoil and Tranquillity: The Sea Through the Eyes of Dutch and Flemish...
SOURCE: NYT (7-31-09)
There are nearly 20,000 of these mystery objects, on the walls and in storage, including paintings, sculpture, lacquerware, pottery, ancient statues and traditional crafts.
“We are making efforts to have a comprehensive review of items on display and in our warehouse,” said the director, Truong Quoc Binh. “After we evaluate the whole exhibit, we will try to label them all to show if they are original or not.”
Mr. Binh has been addressing questions about authenticity a lot lately. Curators and artists have been aware of the issue for years, but it became a matter of public discussion only in April, when it was raised at a conference on copyright in Danang.
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (7-31-09)
Germany has a lot to celebrate this year: 60 years since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 90 years since the founding of the Bauhaus architecture movement in Weimar, to name but a few of the anniversaries.
But while the Bauhaus birthday is commemorated with champagne and special exhibits, few are aware that great architects like former Bauhaus student Selman Selmanagic were responsible for developing architectonic modernity in post-war East Germany. Much of their work was destroyed shortly after German reunification.
Until the mid-1960s, the architecture of the GDR received recognition on the international stage. The buildings provided insights into the lives of the people in East Germany at the time - silent witnesses...