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: AP (2-27-13)
The unnerving clicks of dosimeters are constant as people wearing white protective gear quickly visit the radiated no-go zones of decayed farms and empty storefronts. Evacuees huddle on blankets on gymnasium floors, waiting futilely for word of compensation and relocation.
Such scenes fill the flurry of independent films inspired by Japan's March 2011 catastrophe that tell stories of regular people who became overnight victims - stories the creators feel are being ignored by mainstream media and often silenced by the authorities.
Nearly two years after the quake and tsunami disaster, the films are an attempt by the creative minds of Japan's movie industry not only to confront the horrors of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, but also to empower and serve as a legacy for the victims by telling their stories for international audiences.
SOURCE: AP (2-27-13)
The world's largest museum complex is bracing for a $40 million cut in funding due to the budget stalemate in Congress, but the Smithsonian Institution vows to keep the doors open at its museums and National Zoo.
Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas says the attractions will maintain normal visiting hours.
Instead, the Smithsonian is preparing to absorb the funding cut in other ways. Maintenance and new construction will be delayed. Hiring will be frozen. Use of outside contractors will be reduced, as well as training, research and travel...
SOURCE: AP (2-22-13)
For decades, Nelson Mandela's name has been synonymous with political reform and the struggle against South African apartheid.
Now with the launch of House of Mandela Wines, his daughter and granddaughter hope to add fine wine to the list of associations.
It's a sign of just how far both the wine industry and the country have come since 1994, when apartheid was dismantled and Mandela was elected the nation's first black president...
SOURCE: AP (2-21-13)
Robert Caro has won yet another literary prize, this one worth $50,000.
The New-York Historical Society announced Thursday that Caro had won its American History Book Prize for the fourth volume of his Lyndon Johnson series, "The Passage of Power."...
SOURCE: BBC News (2-15-13)
He's best known as a great tyrant. King Herod is said to have killed his wife and sons as well as all the baby boys of Bethlehem.
But the first major exhibition on the Biblical ruler at the Israel Museum sets out to prove that he also had positive qualities that make him more deserving of the title "Herod the Great".
"We tried to show that he was not only the cruel person described by [the Jewish historian] Josephus and the New Testament but he was also a ruler who managed to keep this country in peace for 33 years," says curator Silvia Rosenburg.
"It was probably very difficult being a local ruler caught between the Roman Empire and the different exigencies of Judaism, but he did it very well. In his time there was prosperity and work for everyone."
A main reason why there was mass employment was...
SOURCE: NYT (2-4-13)
One of the curiosities of the current Academy Award season is that Australia was competing in the best foreign-language film category with a German-language film. Cate Shortland’s “Lore,” a drama about the waning days of World War II, did not pick up a nomination, but it has created a stir everywhere it’s been shown, winning audience awards at festivals on its way to opening in New York on Friday.
“Lore,” based on one of the novellas in Rachel Seiffert’s three-part “The Dark Room,” is the story of five young brothers and sisters forced to make their way alone across 500 miles of war-scarred territory to their grandmother’s house after their parents, staunch Nazis, are arrested by Allied troops. During that journey, the title character, a 15-year-old girl, and her siblings meet a young concentration camp survivor, also in flight, who both protects and exploits them....
SOURCE: AP (2-5-13)
The art world loves hype. Works are touted as the biggest, the rarest, the most expensive.
Even in an age of superlatives, the British Museum has something special - the oldest known figurative art in the world.
The artworks on display in the new exhibition "Ice Age Art" are so old that many are carved from the tusks of woolly mammoths.
But it's not just their age that may surprise visitors. It's their artistry.
These are artworks, not just prehistoric artifacts. Some of the sophisticated carvings, sculptures and drawings of people and animals look like something Pablo Picasso or Henry Moore might have created...