2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 1
Contemporary life, and those who make films about it (in Iran, the US, Russia, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan …)
By David Walsh, 18 April 2018
The San Francisco International Film Festival, founded in 1957 and one of the longest-running such events in the Americas, this year screened some 180 films from 45 countries.
Director of The Loves of a Blonde, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus
By David Walsh, 16 April 2018
Forman was originally identified with the so-called Czech New Wave, a group of directors whose lively and honest films came to international prominence in the mid-1960s.
By Nick Barrickman, 13 April 2018
Brendon Whitney (“Alias”) was a founding member of the experimental hip hop/electronic music label Anticon.
At the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
By Margot Miller, 12 April 2018
The Enlightenment ideas in Shelley’s novel speak forcefully to a modern audience, who can empathise with something created as an articulate rational being and reduced by society to a “monster.”
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 9 April 2018
The result is surprisingly optimistic and confident, not what one might have expected from Fassbinder, known for his emotionally dark, harsh and even cynical films.
By Elle Chapman and David Walsh, 7 April 2018
Takahata, one of Japan’s most influential animation filmmakers and co-founder of the famed Studio Ghibli, died from lung cancer in a Tokyo hospital April 5. We repost a review of his Grave of the Fireflies (1988).
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 8
By Bernd Reinhardt, 6 April 2018
Two feature films, part of the Berlin International Film Festival retrospective section, reflect a militant mood among workers in the late 1920s, in particular their striving for a common struggle and international solidarity.
By David Walsh, 4 April 2018
The first two episodes of the new season, broadcast on ABC back to back on March 27, were watched by more than 20 million people. The network has announced plans for an 11th season.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 7
By Bernd Reinhardt, 3 April 2018
The major retrospective at this year’s Berlinale, “Weimar Cinema Revisited,” presented films—along with their directors in many cases—that have been forgotten for decades.
By Sybille Fuchs, 2 April 2018
Babylon Berlin’s action takes place in the German capital, then the third largest municipality in the world, at the end of the so-called Golden Years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).
By Joanne Laurier, 30 March 2018
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Vertigo, endures as one of the most troubling American films of the postwar period.
By David Walsh, 28 March 2018
Set in London in the 1950s, Anderson’s film concerns the relationship between a celebrated fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), and a young woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps).
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5
By Verena Nees, 26 March 2018
Karim Aïnouz’s impressive documentary about the mass housing of refugees at the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport was awarded the Amnesty International Film Prize.
Shedding light on the conditions of “millions of women in the shadows of mainstream America”
By Norisa Diaz, 24 March 2018
The 28-year-old Swedish director, Niclas Gillis, represents a new generation of artists and filmmakers responding to inequality and social misery.
By Norisa Diaz, 24 March 2018
Gillis and supporting lead actress Lambright spoke to the WSWS about the vast inequality in the most economically developed nation in the world.
By Nick Barrickman, 23 March 2018
Far from rejecting Black Panther’s “pro-black” message, white racists have endorsed its depiction of a feudal African monarchy whose rulers have sealed the borders.
By Matthew Brennan, 23 March 2018
The new album from 27-year-old country singer Courtney Marie Andrews is a sensitive look at the lives of ordinary people struggling to stay afloat.
By Ed Hightower, 23 March 2018
The latest album by Imagine Dragons is part of a self-pitying and overwrought trend in pop music.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4
By Stefan Steinberg, 22 March 2018
A handful of movies at the 2018 Berlinale dealt powerfully and insightfully with the European Union’s criminal policy toward refugees.
Former Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine files suit against “McCarthyite” sexual harassment charges and firing
By David Walsh, 21 March 2018
The lawsuit accuses the Met of organizing a “kangaroo court” instead of an impartial investigation and using “McCarthyite tactics,” including refusing to reveal the names of any of the famed conductor’s accusers.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
By Stefan Steinberg, 20 March 2018
The events surrounding Kurt Waldheim’s campaign and subsequent election in 1985-86 played a major role in uncovering the real role played by the Austrian ruling elite in the Second World War.
20 March 2018
By Hiram Lee, 19 March 2018
Italian director Guadagnino’s film is beautifully photographed, and the performances are generally very good. Why, then, does the whole thing feel so flat?
By Joanne Laurier, 17 March 2018
Woody Allen’s newest film, Wonder Wheel, set in the 1950s, involves four characters whose unhappy lives become entwined in Coney Island—New York’s iconic amusement park.
17 March 2018
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2
By Stefan Steinberg, 16 March 2018
Three films at this year’s festival shed a piercing light on social relations in the United States.
“A Weinsteinian sex pest”?
By Paul Bond, 15 March 2018
The ahistorical middle-class moralizing of the sexual misconduct campaign has perhaps reached a new low with an attack on the great Scots poet Robert Burns (1759-1796).
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1
By Stefan Steinberg and Verena Nees, 14 March 2018
The 68th Berlin Film Festival, whose 2018 edition ended February 25, is the world’s largest film festival open to the public.
By George Morley, 13 March 2018
Warwick Thornton’s second feature is a visually striking and powerful historical drama, which confronts audiences with some ugly truths about Australia’s colonial past.
By Carlos Delgado, 12 March 2018
The film depicts the life and times of Tonya Harding, the former Olympic figure skater who became the center of a media firestorm after the assault on rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
By David Walsh, 9 March 2018
Ianucci’s new film about the demise of the gravedigger of the Russian Revolution is not so much maliciously anticommunist as it is, above all, historically clueless.
By Sandy English, 8 March 2018
Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the most significant and popular English-language writers of speculative fiction, associated with feminism and utopianism, died January 28 at the age of 88.
At the University of Michigan
By Barry Grey, 7 March 2018
Given the generally deplorable state of culture and intellectual life in contemporary America, it was perhaps inevitable that this remarkable event would be tarnished by the purveyors of racialist conceptions of art.
By David Walsh, 6 March 2018
The 90th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night, as one media commentator observed, “passed off without a hitch.” How unfortunate.
By Fred Mazelis, 5 March 2018
The movie, directed by Yale Strom, seeks to turn Debs’ revolutionary message into its opposite.
The Oscar speech we’d like to hear Sunday night: “Members of the Academy, what hypocrites and conformists so many of you are!”
By David Walsh, 3 March 2018
The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, ostensibly honoring the best films and performances of 2017, will be held Sunday evening at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 2 March 2018
The German jazz guitarist Coco Schumann remained active musically until near the end of his life. He ranks as a jazz musician with one of the longest musical biographies ever.
By Fred Mazelis, 1 March 2018
Filmmaker Raoul Peck discusses his portrait of the young Marx and Engels.
“This is a great loss for both the community of San Diego and Tijuana”
By Norisa Diaz, 1 March 2018
The popular station was eventually forced off the air yesterday after struggling financially for over a decade.
Arts editor David Walsh speaks on the centenary of the October Revolution
By David Walsh, 28 February 2018
This talk was given in Chicago and in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, Michigan, in late 2017 and early 2018 to mark the centenary of the October Revolution.
By Stefan Steinberg, 26 February 2018
Nazif Mujić, according to first accounts, has died in extreme poverty in the impoverished hamlet of Svatovac in Bosnia.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Emma Franz’s film is a fascinating overview of Frisell’s creative work and his constant search for new musical challenges.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Filmmaker and musician Emma Franz speaks about her latest documentary and the political and artistic conceptions that informed her approach.
By Katerina Selin, 20 February 2018
The reactionary #MeToo campaign is playing a central role at the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival.
Failed by the State co-writer and presenter Ish: “I wasn’t trying to push agendas, I was just trying to tell the truth about Grenfell.”
By Robert Stevens, 16 February 2018
The World Socialist Web Site interviewed Ish about the making of Failed by the State, a documentary on the Grenfell fire, and the attack launched against it by the Daily Beast and right-wing newspapers in Britain.
John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) taken down for a week
By Dennis Moore, 13 February 2018
The removal of Hylas and the Nymphs was never about a “conversation,” as gallery official claimed, it was an open act of censorship. Hundreds of visitors left notes expressing concern. The gallery’s website registered 1,000 comments.
By Zac Corrigan, 12 February 2018
After allegations of sexual misconduct against Louis C.K. became public, the distributor pulled the film, one week before its scheduled opening in November.
A conversation with film historian Max Alvarez: How the #MeToo campaign echoes the McCarthyite witch hunt of the 1940s and 1950s
“The climate is chillingly similar in terms of the massive capitulation and conformity”
By David Walsh, 8 February 2018
It is “Scoundrel Time” again in Hollywood, complete with denunciations, anonymous informants, humiliating “confessions,” trial by media and the banning of prominent performers.
By Jay James, 5 February 2018
The 11 albums Beck released prior to Colors blended a dizzying array of genres, resulting in a series of psychedelic funk, soul, folk, hip-hop and and rock-infused anthems that have consistently topped the charts.
Is it “all about the money” or all about race?
By David Walsh, 2 February 2018
Jeff Daniels’ drama is currently being performed at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, some 60 miles west of Detroit. The play will run until March 10.
Marshall and #MeToo: A 77-year-old civil rights fight exposes the reactionary character of the sexual misconduct witch-hunt
By Fred Mazelis, 1 February 2018
The 1941 case, in which a black man was acquitted of rape charges, poses awkward questions for those who dismiss due process in their campaign against sexual harassment, both real and alleged.
By Paul Mitchell, 30 January 2018
The season begins with the Suez crisis in 1956 and ends in 1963 with the Soviet spy scare centred on War Minister John Profumo.
By Hiram Lee, 29 January 2018
Veteran Hollywood actress Dorothy Malone, who appeared in the Douglas Sirk classic Written on the Wind, has died at the age of 93.
By Joanne Laurier, 26 January 2018
The classic film, based on the 1927 novel by German author B. Traven, is the tale of two down-and-out Americans in Mexico who join with an older prospector to dig for gold.
By David Walsh, 26 January 2018
The author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was the left-wing writer known as B. Traven. Considerable mystery surrounds Traven, some of it sustained by the writer himself during his lifetime.
By Hiram Lee, 24 January 2018
Guillermo del Toro’s film The Shape of Water led with thirteen nominations. Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama Dunkirk received eight nominations, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received seven.
By Nick Barrickman, 19 January 2018
O’Riordan was pronounced dead on January 15 in her London hotel room.
By Kevin Martinez, 18 January 2018
Morbid and banal, the story concerns a mother battling local authorities to find the killer of her daughter. Unsurprisingly, it has won considerable acclaim from the arts establishment, including the recent Golden Globes.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 January 2018
The new film recounts the internal struggle at the Washington Post over whether or not to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
By Alex González, 12 January 2018
The current show in Mexico City focuses on Rivera’s two visits to the USSR in 1927-28 and in 1955-56. It contains many remarkable items.
The policies and atmosphere of the second Gilded Age
By Fred Mazelis, 11 January 2018
The new policy embodies what one critic called “the continual degrading and privatizing of public space.”
By Fred Mazelis, 10 January 2018
Mann championed the collaborative musical form of the string quartet, and helped train generations of famed musicians.
By Trévon Austin and David Walsh, 9 January 2018
This year’s Golden Globes award ceremony, organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was a spectacle of self-absorption and self-pity.
By Paul Mitchell, 8 January 2018
One could hardly think of a more ignominious outcome for the products of post-Soviet protest art than to end up in the opulent surroundings of the Saatchi Gallery in London’s West End.
Daphne Merkin’s “Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings”
By David Walsh, 6 January 2018
In a column Friday, critic and novelist Daphne Merkin acknowledges there is considerable hostility to the current sexual misconduct witch-hunt even within its target demographic.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 January 2018
Probably the most important thing about Ridley Scott’s new film, an account of the 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, is the decision to erase Spacey’s performance. The Shape of Water is a charming “fairy tale,” with anti-authoritarian overtones.
Short films considered for Academy Award nominations: Emmett Till, a Jack London story and an isolated child
By Joanne Laurier, 3 January 2018
Ten films have been voted onto the Academy Award short list in the “Best Short Film (Live Action)” category.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 30 December 2017
It is impossible to discuss the best films of the year without considering some big social and cultural issues.
By Hiram Lee, Matthew Brennan and Nick Barrickman, 30 December 2017
With a few exceptions, the top of the Billboard charts in 2017 was home to one conformist and forgettable album after another, or worse.
Remarkable collection of early Soviet films on DVD: The New Man—Awakening and Everyday Life in Revolutionary Russia
By Bernd Reinhardt, 29 December 2017
A notable collection of early Soviet films has been released on DVD in Germany to coincide with the centenary of the October Revolution.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 December 2017
Payne’s latest work is a science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 December 2017
The two films are sometimes charming, occasionally amusing and generally benign. But something is missing.
By Clara Weiss, 20 December 2017
Lipatti left a legacy of outstanding recordings of the major works of classical music, and is justly considered one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
By Matthew MacEgan, 19 December 2017
The third Star Wars film released by Disney does little to break with the prescribed formula. Bombast and some surprises fail to carry good talent to meaningful places.
The Falsification of David King’s work—Red Star Over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-55 at the Tate Modern in London
By Paul Mitchell, 19 December 2017
The latest British exhibition on the Russian Revolution is another reprehensible attempt to distort its history, including by excising Leon Trotsky.
Dover Quartet recital offers unusual program, including works by “forgotten composers” Viktor Ullmann and Szymon Laks
By Fred Mazelis, 18 December 2017
The youthful quartet played chamber music in New York November 18, composed in the darkest days of the Holocaust, bearing witness against fascist barbarism.
Cancellation of exhibition about Jewish art collector in Germany raises issue of Nazi-confiscated art
By Sibylle Fuchs, 13 December 2017
Düsseldorf art gallery owner Max Stern’s art collection was auctioned under pressure from the Hitler regime in the 1930s and has remained largely unseen ever since.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 December 2017
Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the film is a biographical fantasy that brings a reinvention of A Christmas Carol (1843), with Dickens as a central character, to the screen.
German Historical Museum exhibition presents the October Revolution as an event of world-historical significance
By Verena Nees, 6 December 2017
“1917. Revolution. Russia and Europe” in Berlin is certainly worth a visit. The exhibition runs until April 15, 2018.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 December 2017
Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a legal drama with an anti-establishment slant.
Radical Russia: Art, Culture and Revolution
By Paul Mitchell, 30 November 2017
The curators have carefully selected objects to reflect the different fields of avant-garde art—providing a serious historical narrative about its development before and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
“The Bolshevik Revolution liberated art and artists”
By Paul Mitchell, 30 November 2017
Curator Peter Waldron spoke to the WSWS about the Radical Russia: Art, Culture and Revolution exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich and the Royal Fabergé exhibition running in parallel.
Russian television’s Trotsky serial: A degraded spectacle of historical falsification and anti-Semitism
By Fred Williams and David North, 25 November 2017
The eight-part serial is an exhibition of the political, intellectual and cultural depravity of all those involved in its production.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 November 2017
In seeking to bolster illusions in the Democratic Party and the myth of an unsullied American democracy, both of these films obscure more than they reveal.
“And what if you track down these men and kill them? ... Even Nazis can’t kill that fast”
By Joanne Laurier, 22 November 2017
Michael Curtiz’s 1942 beloved melodrama, Casablanca, celebrating its 75th anniversary, was recently shown in select cinemas nationwide in the US.
By Sandy English, 21 November 2017
Earlier this month, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci was auctioned off at Christie’s in New York for $450 million, the highest price ever paid for a work of art.
By Ben Trent, 18 November 2017
With the new album, the band is attempting to navigate their way through an increasingly fraught political and social atmosphere and to encourage an alternative.
By Nick Barrickman, 18 November 2017
Lil Peep, who died November 15 of a drug overdose while on tour, had come to be seen as the foremost representative of the genre-bending musical style known as “emo rap.”
1917: The Real October—An animated documentary by Katrin Rothe
By Sybille Fuchs, 17 November 2017
The two-time Grimme Award-winner Kathrin Rothe portrays the events of February to October 1917 in Russia from the viewpoint of a number of artists.
By Eric London, 15 November 2017
The film is an aesthetic and political milestone and Ai’s imagery is unforgettable because it is real. But in its political orientation, Human Flow lags far behind.
The Last Hour (La Hora Final) and Peru’s ongoing glorification of its military and intelligence forces
By Armando Cruz, 13 November 2017
A superficial and cliché-ridden work, the film’s most fatal weakness is its complete lack of seriousness in dealing with the historical and social forces that gave rise to Shining Path.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2017
Jason Hall’s directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service, is a drama about three soldiers returning from the Iraq War and their difficulties adjusting to civilian life.
By David Walsh, 7 November 2017
A would-be “black comedy,” directed and co-written by George Clooney, Suburbicon is set in 1959 in a bland suburban community.
By Hiram Lee, 4 November 2017
Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino died October 24 at the age of 89. The gifted pianist was second only to Elvis Presley in popularity during the early days of the genre.
By David Walsh, 3 November 2017
Skeleton Crew takes place in the breakroom of a Detroit stamping plant threatened with closure “somewhere around year 2008.”
By Joanne Laurier, 2 November 2017
The Florida Project focuses imaginatively and sympathetically on the “hidden homeless” who eke out a bare-bones existence in the shadow of Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
By David Walsh, 1 November 2017
The American actor is one of the most gifted and significant performers of his generation. Now his career, at least for the moment, lies in ruins.
Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test at the Art Institute of Chicago—an introductory comment
Russian Revolutionary art exhibition opened October 29
By Jeff Lusanne and David Walsh, 31 October 2017
Soviet Art Put to the Test offers notable presentation and recreations of creative work in the 1920s-1930s, yet fails to explain the context that is essential to understanding the work.
By Paul Bond, 30 October 2017
The auction in London met up with the feeling of solidarity that many people have with those devastated by the fire.
By Ed Hightower, 30 October 2017
The full-length debut of Electronic Dance Music duo The Chainsmokers, which features an appearance by Coldplay, is a mostly shallow party record.