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: WaPo (6-27-11)
The faded patchwork coat and pants once belonged to an accused counterrevolutionary named Liu Zhuanghuan, who spent a decade at a forced labor camp during China’s brutal Cultural Revolution.
His son was confined to the same camp but never allowed to see his father. One exception was made: He was allowed to identify his father’s body and collect his belongings after Zhuanghuan committed suicide in 1973.
Zhuanghuan’s tattered clothing — and the human suffering it represents — are now part of a collection of artifacts, photos, videos, books and government documents on display at the recently expanded Laogai Museum in Northwest Washington.
The Dupont Circle museum is intended to showcase human rights abuses in China, particularly the Communist regime’s use of prisons to punish dissenters. It was created by Harry Wu, 74, a human rights activist who spent 19 years in forced labor camps....
SOURCE: NYT (6-21-11)
FISHERS, Ind. — The drama unfolding here on the outskirts of Indianapolis involves a dashing, Kentucky-born guerrilla fighter, ruthless in plunder and genteel in manners. There’s a pioneer fur trader, too, a man who negotiated with the Lenape Indians to move them out of central Indiana and lost his Lenape Indian wife and children in the bargain. And let’s not forget the 20th-century philanthropist who envisioned a living museum that would reflect the history of his state; his gift of that museum to a nearby college that had other priorities led to 21st-century courtroom battles and, ultimately, to the museum’s recent independence. Now teams of “interpreters” and “facilitators” and costumed Indianians lure more than 220,000 visitors a year to this endearingly strange place.
Here at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, on 850 acres of prairie land that mainly belonged, in the 1820s, to one William Conner (that fur trader and...
SOURCE: NYT (6-12-11)
BRINGING vintage cars to the parks, estates and golf course fairways where they can flaunt their beauty and compete for honors in the summer’s many concours d’élégance events is a well-rehearsed process.
But as museums have assembled more exhibitions that showcase the artistry and historical significance of automobiles, the task of putting vehicles into public spaces — often in the center of a busy city — has become infinitely more complex. Cars, especially prewar classics, can be huge. And while museums are accustomed to dealing with large artworks, the vehicles present challenges on another scale entirely.
Placing 16 cars inside the Portland Art Museum for the “Allure of the Automobile” exhibition, which opens this weekend, has been the job of Donald Urquhart, director of collections management for the museum....
SOURCE: NYT (6-8-11)
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is a guest columnist for the NYT.
Last weekend, like seemingly half the country, I took my son to see “X-Men: First Class,” the latest, and best, big-screen incarnation of the popular comic book franchise....
In print, the X-Men are an elite team culled from a superpowered species of human. The mutants, as they are dubbed, are generally handled roughly by the rest of humanity and singled out for everything from enslavement to internment camps to genocide. As if to ram the allegory home, the X-Men, for much of their history, have hailed from across the spectrum of human existence. Over the decades, there have been gay X-Men, patrician X-Men, Jewish X-Men...
SOURCE: LA Times (6-3-11)
Never before seen on U.S. screens, the documentary "Nuremberg: Its Lesson For Today" compels us as much because of its complicated and fascinating history as for what it has to show, which is a lot.
Written and directed in 1948 by Stuart Schulberg and meticulously brought back to life by his daughter Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky, "Nuremberg" was commissioned by the U.S. War Department to answer a very specific need.
Once the November 1945 to October 1946 Nuremberg trial of top Nazi leaders, including Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer, was concluded, the Allies wanted a film that would both show what had happened in the courtroom and demonstrate why such an unprecedented trial for, among other things, "crimes against humanity" had been necessary.
SOURCE: National Review (6-2-11)
David Pryce-Jones writes a column for the National Review.
There is a journalist in London, quite a well-known figure and author of several books, who once began an article in a leading magazine with the sentence, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the destruction of Israel.” This is exactly what the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad likes to repeat whenever he gets the chance. At a literary occasion this week, I happened to run into this English journalist, and the very next day, by coincidence, I was invited to a press showing of La Rafle, or The Round Up, a French feature film dramatizing the German campaign to destroy the Jews in wartime France....
For a long time the French have been unable or unwilling to face their collaboration with the occupying Nazis. Marcel Ophuls’ pioneering film Le Chagrin et la Pitié was for years virtually boycotted. The films Au revoir les Enfants...
SOURCE: NYT (5-31-11)
MORE than 80 years before “Got Milk?” there was “Eat the Carp!”
The slogan was dreamed up by the United States Department of Fisheries in 1911 as part of an effort to push the uncomely fish into the American kitchen, just one of scores of ways the federal government has tried over the last two centuries to direct how Americans eat through promotional campaigns, nutritional admonitions, factory regulations and gardening tips.
Many of these are engagingly documented in a new exhibition, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens later this month at the National Archives here.
Through documents, food labels, film footage, photographs and other artifacts from the Revolutionary War to the 1980s, the show offers a fascinating and at...