Arts and Culture
70th Berlin International Film Festival
An interview with Vanessa Lapa, director of Speer Goes to Hollywood: “We have to take the danger of rewriting history very seriously.”
By Verena Nees, 11 March 2020
The WSWS spoke to Vanessa Lapa, whose film documents the career of Hitler’s favorite architect, Albert Speer, and dispels the mythology that still surrounds him.
By David Walsh, 9 March 2020
Hachette announced Friday it would not publish filmmaker-comic Woody Allen’s memoir at the behest of journalist Ronan Farrow and in the face of protests by its own employees.
By Jean Shaoul, 7 March 2020
The film exposes the criminal role of the finance industry, aided and abetted by an army of lawyers, advisors and not least governments, in evicting people and jacking up rents after giving properties a superficial makeover.
By Joanne Laurier, 4 March 2020
The film treats the persecution of a security guard for the 1996 Olympics bombing. It condemns the role of the US government and the American media, which, as one character points out, are “two of the most powerful forces in the world today.”
By Sandy English, 3 March 2020
The novel American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, which describes the plight of refugees in Mexico, has come under attack primarily because its author is not Latina.
By Sam Dalton, 2 March 2020
In the face of protests at New York City’s inaction, the recovery of thousands of artifacts damaged by fire at a storage facility belonging to MOCA will now be sped up.
By Alex Lantier, 29 February 2020
The French Film Academy openly defied demands from the #MeToo movement and President Emmanuel Macron’s government not to give Polanski an award.
By David Walsh, 29 February 2020
The latest stage of the manufactured sexual misconduct controversy surrounding the 79-year-old singer is no more edifying than the earlier ones.
70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1
By Verena Nees, 28 February 2020
The 70th Berlinale offers an interesting program, including a significant number of films dealing with the current, tense social situation.
National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood—How the US military and CIA go about their propaganda operations
By Charles Bogle, 27 February 2020
The book, by Matthew Alford and Tom Secker, presents extensive evidence that US government departments and agencies use multiple means to manipulate content and even block production of Hollywood films.
By Eric London, 26 February 2020
Weinstein’s conviction has established the “breakthrough” principle that a criminal conviction can be secured without reliable and verifiable evidence. The working class and poor will suffer the consequences.
By Thomas Scripps, 26 February 2020
Greed offers a sharp and often funny critique of the impact on society of rule by a criminal financial oligarchy, and deserves a wide audience.
By Fred Mazelis, 25 February 2020
The producers and the colleagues of Amar Ramasar are standing by the latest target #MeToo hysteria.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 February 2020
Echo in the Canyon, a documentary, celebrates the music and performers who came out of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon neighborhood in the mid-1960s.
“One must not forget”: A musical tribute in Berlin to Jewish members of the Deutsche Oper orchestra persecuted by the Nazis
By Verena Nees, 21 February 2020
A moving concert paid tribute to four Jewish members of the Deutsche Oper orchestra who were forced into exile or murdered after Hitler came to power in 1933.
By Jean Shaoul, 20 February 2020
“We have a system that punished the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, not the perpetrators of torture”—Professor Nils Melzer
By Peter Schwarz, 19 February 2020
Some 130 prominent initial signatories, including nine former federal ministers, are demanding the “immediate release of Julian Assange, on medical grounds as well on the basis of the rule of law.”
By Tim Avery, 17 February 2020
A sequel to the 1986 comic book of the same name, Watchmen essentially depicts Tulsa, Oklahoma as the flashpoint for an inevitable race war.
By Clara Weiss, 17 February 2020
Many of the YIVO library’s 400,000 books, newspapers and documents have been rescued from Nazi barbarism, and are indispensable for the study of European Jewish history before the Second World War, the Holocaust and the pre-war revolutionary movement of the Eastern European working class.
By our reporters, 15 February 2020
The WSWS urges all our readers to watch this powerful documentary on SBS television, at 8.30 p.m. Sunday night, February 16.
By Joanne Laurier, 14 February 2020
The King is a Netflix historical drama broadly tracing the life of Henry V (1386–1422), with a certain anti-war coloring.
By Lily Zhao, 12 February 2020
The work won in the best documentary feature category at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. It was the first film produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions.
By David Walsh, 10 February 2020
Douglas, one of the leading film actors in the post-World War II era, is also credited with helping to end the anti-communist blacklist by hiring blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo on Spartacus (1960).
Interview with film historian Joseph McBride: For Kirk Douglas, life was “like a war—you have to fight all the time”
By David Walsh, 10 February 2020
The WSWS spoke last week to Joseph McBride, film historian and educator, and the author of more than 20 books, including a valuable biography of Kirk Douglas.
On the eve of the Academy Awards ceremony
New York Times’ Wesley Morris complains that eight of the films nominated for Best Picture “are about white people”
By David Walsh, 8 February 2020
Morris, the ideological product of decades of selfish identity politics, espouses a thoroughly racialist interpretation of history and culture. He seemingly cannot perceive anything else aside from race.
By David Walsh, 7 February 2020
In the course of three days of lurid testimony describing the warped, emotionally pathological and mutually destructive relationship between Weinstein and his accuser Jessica Mann, the trial degenerated into a degrading and horrifying spectacle.
Staff, students and freedom of expression at Nashville art school threatened in takeover by religious university
By Warren Duzak, 6 February 2020
Watkins College of Art, long known for its artistic freedom, is being absorbed by Belmont University, where art and the teaching of art are censored.
By Fred Mazelis, 5 February 2020
The son of Rudolf Serkin, he was a musician of intelligence, passion and integrity, a solo recitalist and chamber musician, who also performed with orchestras worldwide.
By Jean Shaoul, 4 February 2020
Advocate exposes the bankruptcy of the pursuit of justice for the Palestinians through the Israeli courts.
The Guarded Gate, by Daniel Okrent (Scribner, 2019)
By Fred Mazelis, 3 February 2020
A century after the imposition of racist immigration quotas in the US, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism are once again on the rise in the US and around the world.
By Kevin Martinez, 3 February 2020
The British documentary “Up” series has followed the lives of a group of Britons from age seven up to the present, when they are now all 63. The latest film provides insights into not only their lives, but the nature of the postwar period.
By Joanne Laurier, 1 February 2020
Steven Soderbergh’s latest film High Flying Bird concerns itself with a fictional National Basketball Association (NBA) lockout, but is essentially an accommodation to identity politics.
By Paul Bond, 31 January 2020
Alongside his role in the development of British comedy, Monty Python writer and director Terry Jones, who has died at 77, made significant contributions to Chaucerian scholarship and mediaeval history.
Why will no one in the American media do the same?
By David Walsh, 30 January 2020
Journalist Sarah Pines, in “Weinstein trial: Believe the one who shouts ‘Wolf!’ the loudest,” paints a highly unflattering portrait of the American media and the lynch-mob atmosphere.
“This ain’t a nice place to be: This ain’t Belmarsh, it’s Hellmarsh”
By Paul Bond, 30 January 2020
Despite going unmentioned, Assange’s deteriorating health and the concerns of independent medical professionals about his effective solitary confinement in the health care unit hung silently over the programme.
By Ed Hightower, 30 January 2020
A colorful and often humorous historical fantasy set in the early 1960s, Maisel represents a serious effort.
By Matthew Brennan, 29 January 2020
The event, hosted by the Recording Academy, is the most prominent such ceremony in the music business in the US. Grammys are handed out to musicians, singers, producers, engineers and songwriters.
By Tom Hall, 27 January 2020
The Expanse depicts interstellar conflict and political intrigue in the distant future, when humanity has colonized most of the Solar System.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 January 2020
The Politician centers on the Machiavellian operations of an ambitious California high school senior, determined to win the election for student body president as a stepping-stone, ultimately, to the White House.
By Tom Carter, 23 January 2020
Weinstein has every right to confront his accusers—and yes, attempt to discredit them.
By Matthew MacEgan, 23 January 2020
Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film is the Japanese entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
By Sybille Fuchs, 23 January 2020
The Berlin Staatsoper refused to comply with a call for an anti-democratic ban on Domingo performing raised by the “Pro Quote Bühne” group and Green Party politicians.
By Stefan Steinberg, 22 January 2020
The film is an adaptation of the book by Judith Kerr, the German-born British writer, published in 1971 and the first part of her Out of the Hitler Time trilogy.
By David Walsh, 20 January 2020
Greta Gerwig has directed the latest and a generally conscientious film adaptation of Alcott’s novel about four sisters and their parents during the Civil War era.
By James McDonald, 18 January 2020
A novel about a middle-aged writing instructor whose recently deceased friend and mentor has bequeathed her his enormous Great Dane.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 January 2020
1917, directed by British filmmaker Sam Mendes, recounts a fictionalized episode set during World War I. Failing to indict those responsible for the carnage or explore its context, the movie does not qualify as an anti-war film.
By our reporter, 16 January 2020
Garnett’s career spanned 50 years, but he is identified above all with one of the most significant and creative periods in the history of television drama in the UK.
Wozzeck at New York’s Metropolitan Opera: Alban Berg’s opera on the tragic fate of an impoverished soldier
By Fred Mazelis, 16 January 2020
Wozzeck’s depiction of the impact of war and inequality on the lives of the poor is timelier than ever.
By David Walsh, 15 January 2020
The nominations as a whole reflect the combination of strong commercial pressure, Hollywood liberal views and limited artistic tastes that generally dominate the Academy Awards.
Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011: A significant exhibition at Museum of Modern Art’s contemporary arts center
By Clare Hurley, 13 January 2020
A large-scale group exhibition focused on US violence in the Middle East is currently on display at MoMA PS1 in Queens, New York.
By Erik Schreiber, 11 January 2020
To present former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly as a truth-teller and role model, Bombshell minimizes Kelly’s right-wing views and largely ignores her employer’s role in promoting them.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 January 2020
The film is a fictionalized version of the events known as the Maywand District murders, the killing and mutilation of unarmed Afghan civilians carried out by American soldiers in 2010.
By David Walsh, 9 January 2020
Gervais ruffled some feathers in Hollywood and the media, most of which deserved to be ruffled, on Sunday night at the Golden Globes awards ceremony.
By Matthew MacEgan, 8 January 2020
Disney launched its new streaming service, Disney Plus, with the first live-action Star Wars television series, The Mandalorian, this past November.
An interview with film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum: “I’m trying to do something aesthetic through criticism”
By David Walsh, 6 January 2020
The WSWS recently spoke to Jonathan Rosenbaum, the longtime film critic for the Chicago Reader and author of numerous books on filmmaking.
By Joanne Laurier, 6 January 2020
The film is based on Bryan Stevenson’s bestselling 2014 memoir, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. It dramatizes Stevenson’s courageous efforts to reverse death penalty sentences in Alabama.
By Zac Corrigan, 4 January 2020
The central theme of the series, one of the most watched of the past decade, is the supposed dark side of technological development.
Including an interview from 1996
By David Walsh, 3 January 2020
Sleepy LaBeef, singer and musician, died the day after Christmas at his home in Arkansas. The musical world and all of us are poorer for the loss.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2019
The difficulties and obstacles confronting the sensitive and thoughtful artist in our day should not be underestimated or regarded unsympathetically.
By Hiram Lee and Matthew Brennan, 31 December 2019
It was an especially difficult and challenging year for popular music, dominated by the contradiction between the self-absorption and disorientation of the official musical world and growing signs of global popular opposition.
The great German artist on war, the working class and the murder of socialist Karl Liebknecht
By Rafael Azul, 28 December 2019
The Getty Center in Los Angeles is hosting an exhibition of intaglios, lithographs and woodcuts by Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), one of the most renowned graphic artists from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.
By Matthew MacEgan, 27 December 2019
December 2019 saw the end of the “Skywalker Saga” with the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise of films.
By Fred Mazelis, 24 December 2019
An important subject is treated with the generally mystical-religious outlook for which Terrence Malick has become known.
By David Walsh, 21 December 2019
Marriage Story, now streaming on Netflix after a brief theatrical release, is the account of a divorce between a theater director and an actress set in Los Angeles and New York.
20 December 2019
By David Walsh, 17 December 2019
Anna Karina, the Danish-born actress indelibly associated above all with the early films of French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, died Saturday at a Paris hospital from cancer.
By Joanne Laurier, 14 December 2019
In Queen & Slim, a racist white policeman is killed in the act of assaulting two young black people. Relying on certain aspects of reality, the film creates a largely mythological picture to justify a strand of rabid identity politics.
Twin Flower, about the refugee crisis, from Italy—and Midnight Family, about poverty and health care, from Mexico
By Joanne Laurier, 12 December 2019
Two adolescents—one an African refugee—find themselves in painful straits in Twin Flower. Midnight Family focuses on a family in Mexico eking out a meager existence by driving its own private ambulance.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 December 2019
Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters is a retelling of the nearly 20-year legal battle against the massive toxic chemical contamination of Parkersburg, West Virginia by the DuPont chemical company.
By Bernd Reinhardt and Peter Schwarz, 9 December 2019
The tirades levelled against Handke resemble the rantings by criminals intent on covering up their own tracks.
9 December 2019
By Clara Weiss, 6 December 2019
The music of Polish-Jewish composer Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996), who spent much of his life in the Soviet Union, has been recently rediscovered. It counts among the most significant bodies of work produced in the 20th century.
By David Walsh, 5 December 2019
In an interview with the Spanish online publication El Confidencial, opera legend Domingo explained that these “have been the most difficult months of my life.”
By David Walsh, 4 December 2019
Ly’s work, with its strengths and weaknesses, is an honest effort to confront the wretched reality prevailing in the working-class suburbs (banlieues) surrounding Paris.
By Kevin Martinez and David Walsh, 3 December 2019
Scorsese’s new film The Irishman sets out to dramatize the life of Frank Sheeran, a member of a Pennsylvania crime family and a Teamsters union official. On his deathbed, Sheeran “confessed” to having killed Jimmy Hoffa.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 November 2019
Ford v Ferrari recounts Ford Motor Company’s bid to unseat Ferrari as the reigning champion of Le Mans in the 1960s. The Professor and the Madman tells the fascinating story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary .
By Alex Lantier, 23 November 2019
The #MeToo campaign is aligning itself with the French state, slandering anyone who views or admires this magnificent retelling of the Dreyfus Affair as a rape apologist.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 November 2019
An eerie, haunting film, Mati Diop’s Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story deals fantastically with Senegalese youth lost at sea as they undertake lengthy, dangerous trips to Europe for economic reasons—and those they leave behind.
By Verena Nees, 21 November 2019
The German television drama The Unwanted: The Odyssey of the St. Louis recounts the story of the ship with more than 900 Jewish refugees on board fleeing Nazi Germany, prevented from landing by the Cuban, American and Canadian governments.
By Alex Lantier, 19 November 2019
Director Roman Polanski’s J’accuse recounts the 12-year struggle to clear Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish officer unjustly convicted of spying for Germany in 1894.
The Lighthouse: A gothic horror film
By Joanne Laurier, 16 November 2019
Parasite is a dark comedy from South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho that concerns itself with income inequality and its implications. The Lighthouse is a pointless horror film set in the late 1800s in New England.
By David Walsh, 15 November 2019
In 23-year-old Paul Marques Duarte’s short film, a teacher helps “smuggle” an undocumented immigrant from France to England on board a ferry.
“Vietnam was the first and last war with no censorship”
By Richard Phillips, 14 November 2019
The “21” exhibition is just a small sample of the diverse and humane character of Page’s work.
14 November 2019
Edward Norton’s neo-film noir, Motherless Brooklyn
By Joanne Laurier, 8 November 2019
Jojo Rabbit is a would-be satirical comedy about Nazi Germany. Set in 1957, Motherless Brooklyn follows a gumshoe protagonist with Tourette syndrome on the trail of crimes that lead directly to New York’s City Hall.
By David Walsh, 6 November 2019
The new film treats the crisis of a famous Spanish filmmaker, Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), who has ceased being able to create. Salvador suffers from a variety of physical and psychic maladies.
And Harriet: A film biography of abolitionist Harriet Tubman
By Joanne Laurier, 4 November 2019
Judy Garland was one of the most beloved entertainers in the US and internationally in the 20th century. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life deserves a more profound treatment.
By Sybille Fuchs, 2 November 2019
The question arises: what was so special about this school, which existed for just 14 years (1919-1933) and was forced to change its location three times in Germany due to the hostile reaction of conservative and nationalist forces?
By David Walsh, 30 October 2019
In the Netflix Original series, Paul Rudd plays a middle-aged marketing copywriter “stuck” in his life. Unexpectedly, he finds himself co-existing with a clone, a “better” version of himself.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 October 2019
The current production marks the first time that Gershwin’s masterpiece has appeared at the Met in almost 30 years.
By David Walsh, 24 October 2019
The lives and times of these two extremely complex artists inevitably raise a host of issues.
By Peter Schwarz, 18 October 2019
Extreme Security brings together a wealth of material about violent neo-Nazi groups and right-wing extremist networks in the police, the legal system, the Bundeswehr and the secret service.
By Fred Mazelis, 16 October 2019
Otello and Falstaff, from the last years of the 19th century, continue to amaze contemporary audiences.
By Kevin Reed, 11 October 2019
Filmed at a live performance in Amsterdam in June 2018, the concert features Waters’ reinterpretation of the catalog of Pink Floyd and his solo career in light of present social and political crises around the world.
By Carlos Delgado, 9 October 2019
The film attempts to treat a number of critical social issues, but falls short of making much sense of them.
By Sandy English, 5 October 2019
The film about the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings oversimplifies the impact of World War I on the author.
By Fred Mazelis, 4 October 2019
The world-famous tenor, baritone and conductor is facing the equivalent of a blacklist in the US.
By Verena Nees, 4 October 2019
A number of plays by the Austrian-Hungarian dramatist and novelist Ödön von Horváth took a clear stand against the rise of the Nazis and assume new relevance today.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 6
By David Walsh, 2 October 2019
Les Misérables takes place today in the impoverished Paris suburb that was also a setting in Victor Hugo’s famed novel. Made in Bangladesh proposes that unions are the answer to the exploitation of millions of textile workers.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019
An interview with Ladj Ly, director of Les Misérables: “Victor Hugo described the social misery perfectly”
By David Walsh, 2 October 2019
The WSWS spoke to French-Malian film director Ladj Ly in Toronto during the film festival.