Arts and Culture
By Ed Hightower, 27 August 2018
Australian comic Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, Nanette, has become a huge success. Great claims, unsupported by the reality of the hour-long program, have been made for it.
One of the greatest musical figures of the 20th century
By Fred Mazelis, 25 August 2018
There was no one else who combined Bernstein’s genius as a composer, conductor, educator and pianist.
One of the greatest musical figures of the 20th century
By Fred Mazelis, 24 August 2018
There was no one else who combined Bernstein’s genius as a composer, conductor, educator and pianist.
By Dietmar Henning, 23 August 2018
On Tuesday, the musicians group’ “Lebenslaute” concluded a two-day protest against the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), as the German secret service is called.
By Carlos Delgado, 22 August 2018
Cohen conducts “prank” interviews intended to ridicule and humiliate his subjects. Some of them are more deserving than others.
By Joanne Laurier, 21 August 2018
Robin Williams (1951–2014) was an exceptional comic whose ability to create personalities and move among them seemed at times almost supernatural. He contained within himself an apparently infinite number of human types.
By Matthew MacEgan, 20 August 2018
This 2017 Japanese anime series tells the story a group of teenaged pilots who rebel against authoritarianism and seek to create a world in which humans can live happily.
By Hiram Lee, 18 August 2018
Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin died August 16 at the age of 76. She was a major figure, one of the great performers of the second half of the twentieth century.
By David Walsh, 16 August 2018
Lee’s new film takes as its point of departure the infiltration in the late 1970s of the racist Ku Klux Klan by a black police officer, Ron Stallworth, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
By Hiram Lee, 15 August 2018
On his new album Acoustic Classics, country singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell revisits a selection of his songs in new stripped-down all acoustic recordings.
By Hiram Lee, 7 August 2018
Vanished Gardens, a new collaboration between jazz musician Charles Lloyd and country singer Lucinda Williams, is a seamless and enjoyable blend of multiple genres of music.
By Joanne Laurier, 6 August 2018
Alexandra Dean’s documentary focuses on 1940s Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr’s recently uncovered career as an inventor of technology that paved the way for secure Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth.
Separated: Children at the Border highlights the horrific human costs of the bipartisan war on immigrants
By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 3 August 2018
The latest PBS Frontline documentary shows the effect of family separations and traces the roots of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
By Hiram Lee, 2 August 2018
Fifty years after the debut of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on US public television, a new documentary explores its history and influence.
An exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery
By Paul Mitchell and Margot Miller, 31 July 2018
Until the end of this year, the Manchester Art Gallery exhibition Painting Light and Hope is showing 36 paintings of forgotten Victorian artist Annie Louisa Swynnerton (1844-1933), a native of the city.
Based on a horrific 1988 murder in Rome
By Emanuele Saccarelli, 30 July 2018
Dogman is a serious attempt to deal with a difficult, and in this climate not especially promising subject.
By Paul Bond, 27 July 2018
The video accompanying Lowkey’s song, “Ghosts of Grenfell 2,” ends with powerful shots of survivors and local residents holding banners demanding answers from the political elite and companies responsible for manufacturing and overseeing the fitting of Grenfell Tower’s flammable cladding.
By Matthew MacEgan, 27 July 2018
The album is intended to be the musical component of a larger multimedia project entitled Reasons to Be Cheerful, which is an attempt at spreading “positivity” in the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency.
By Matthew Brennan, 25 July 2018
The film is a dark comedy written and directed by Boots Riley, artist, political activist and rapper from Oakland, California. He is best-known as a longtime member of the music group The Coup.
By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 24 July 2018
Our basic objective was to examine Peries’s general contribution to Sri Lankan cinema and how he came to be known as its father.
By David Walsh, 23 July 2018
Ramin Bahrani, the Iranian-American filmmaker, has directed a new version of Ray Bradbury’s well-known novel, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953.
By David Walsh, 18 July 2018
There is nothing positive or progressive about Johansson’s announcement that she is withdrawing from Rub & Tug, a film project about a transgender massage parlor owner with underworld connections.
By Trévon Austin, 16 July 2018
The Department of Justice has reopened its investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American from Chicago who was murdered while visiting relatives in Mississippi.
By Ed Hightower, 16 July 2018
The familiar problem of having run out of something to say pervades the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
By Joanne Laurier, 13 July 2018
The HBO television series, Succession, is a sharply drawn portrait of a family that runs a global media conglomerate.
Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, calls invitation to join movie Academy “insufferable hypocrisy”
By David Walsh, 11 July 2018
In her open letter, Seigner angrily writes, “This proposal is one insult too many. I cannot remain silent any longer. You offend me while claiming to want to protect women!”
By Josh Varlin, 10 July 2018
Soto was best known for his work with the seminal hardcore punk band Adolescents.
By David Walsh, 7 July 2018
A slightly bored British intelligence officer takes on a new, more “exciting” assignment, pursuing a female assassin.
By Clara Weiss, 6 July 2018
The documentary amounts to an appeal to the Kremlin, Washington and the liberal intelligentsia, to make peace and negotiate an orderly transition from the Putin presidency.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 July 2018
A new film biography of Mary Shelley, directed by Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour, coincides with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus.
By Nick Barrickman, 4 July 2018
The second season picks up where the first season left off: focused on the petty and self-centered exploits of a group of African American students at a fictional upscale university.
“The world should not be closing itself in—my father’s struggle was against all walls.”
By Kevin Mitchell, 2 July 2018
The WSWS spoke recently with the director of In Exile: A Family Film, a film about the Spanish Civil War and its consequences.
By David Walsh, 30 June 2018
Michael Mayer has directed a new film version of Russian writer Anton Chekhov’s play, The Seagull, written in 1895 and first produced in 1896.
By Hiram Lee, 27 June 2018
The new album from music industry power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z is primarily a repugnant celebration of their own wealth and acquisitiveness.
By Sandy English, 26 June 2018
Following a controversy that erupted in May, MIT recently completed an investigation into the conduct of Díaz, who teaches at the university, and cleared him of any sexual misconduct.
By Kevin Mitchell, 23 June 2018
An unusual documentary was recently released that traces the journey of the filmmaker’s grandparents and parents to Mexico in 1939 as refugees from the Spanish Civil War.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 June 2018
This documentary exposé of the US prison and criminal justice system includes a host of celebrities commenting on the phenomenon of mass incarceration.
“Unfortunately, none of this happened”: Kirill Serebrennikov’s Summer (Leto), a take on the pre-perestroika period in the USSR
By Clara Weiss, 21 June 2018
Serebrennikov’s new film treats two of Russia’s most famous rock groups, Kino and Zoopark, in the early 1980s, while managing to avoid all the major questions of the time.
By Carlos Delgado, 20 June 2018
The film stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, a professional criminal who concocts a plan to steal a $150 million diamond necklace during New York City’s Met Gala.
By David Walsh, 18 June 2018
In the wake of writer Philip Roth’s death May 22, numerous commentaries have appeared accusing him of misunderstanding or being hostile to women and related failings.
16 June 2018
A welcome development:
By Richard Phillips, 14 June 2018
Rush, the target of unsubstantiated allegations by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, will play Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
By Joanne Laurier, 13 June 2018
2001: A Space Odyssey attempts to encompass four million years of human evolution, from prehuman man-apes in Africa, through to 21st-century space travelers.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 June 2018
The series depicts the swamp of financial speculation, capitalist politics and degraded culture out of which Trump emerged to claim the presidency.
By Matthew MacEgan, 4 June 2018
The fourth Star Wars film released by Disney serves as a shallow adventure story with some reference to world politics, but very little that will be challenging to viewers.
By Zac Corrigan, 1 June 2018
Within 24 hours, “This is America” had been viewed 12.9 million times and the song debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart. It has now been viewed more than 200 million times.
By Hiram Lee, 28 May 2018
Pulitzer’s choice to recognize the rapper cannot be viewed as anything but a nod to identity politics and the Democratic Party.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 May 2018
The timeliness of this work hardly needs restating amid the social and political crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.
By David Walsh, 24 May 2018
Among Roth’s best known works are Goodbye, Columbus (1959), Letting Go (1962), Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), Zuckerman Unbound (1981), Sabbath’s Theater (1995), American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000).
By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 23 May 2018
Peries’s best films, like the great dramas directed by India’s Satyajit Ray and Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, have left their mark on Asian and world cinema.
By Ed Hightower, 22 May 2018
A breath of fresh air, Corporate, directs its fire against the multinational corporation with considerable honesty and success.
By Stefan Steinberg, 21 May 2018
An examination of recent movies by prominent women filmmakers reveals that they share the problems of their male counterparts.
By Zac Corrigan, 19 May 2018
Spotify inaugurated its “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy by censoring the two singers based on allegations of “sexual violence.” Competitors Apple Music and Pandora Radio followed suit.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2018
The story of a struggling Hollywood screenwriter and his deadly encounter with a delusional silent film star.
Revisiting Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen & The Production Code Administration (2007)
By Charles Bogle, 17 May 2018
The bulk of Thomas Doherty’s work covers the period from 1934 to 1954, when his subject was the enforcer of the Production Code.
By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 15 May 2018
Rahul Jain’s austere but effective documentary focuses on one of the hundreds of textile plants in Gujarat state on India’s west coast.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 May 2018
US foreign policy officials concluded that “jazz could give America an edge in the Cold War,” with mostly African-American musicians, “serv[ing] as Cold War cultural ambassadors.”
By David Walsh and Eric London, 12 May 2018
On the basis of a May 7 feature article in the New Yorker magazine, “Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse,” the twice-elected Schneiderman resigned as of the following day.
By Nick Barrickman, 12 May 2018
West’s disoriented statements and actions are in keeping with a persona that has been cultivated and praised in the press, including by the “left,” for over a decade and a half.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 May 2018
It soon comes to light that certain townspeople had a hand in the deportation of Jews from the Hungarian village to concentration camps and benefited in the confiscation of their property.
By Stefan Sternberg, 9 May 2018
The fate of refugees is the subject of Transit, the latest film by prominent German director Christian Petzold, which featured at the 2018 Berlinale and is now on public release in Germany.
By Tom Peters, 8 May 2018
The Changeover, highly praised in New Zealand, is a formulaic supernatural teen romance imbued with definite class prejudices.
The hypocritical, cowardly expulsion of Roman Polanski from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1977 victim Samantha Geimer: It’s “an ugly and cruel action”
By David Walsh, 7 May 2018
The decision by the Academy, the industry body that hands out the Oscars, to expel filmmaker Roman Polanski is the latest atrocity attributable to the sexual witch hunt launched last October.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 May 2018
It’s not clear that good movies resemble one another, but recent history certainly suggests there are many different ways in which films can be weak.
Artists on the Tate Modern’s David King exhibition, Red Star over Russia: “In essence the exhibition was anti-Trotsky”
By our reporters, 3 May 2018
The Tate Modern in London held an exhibition, Red Star Over Russia: A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-55, from November 8, 2017 to February 18, 2018. The show used items from the David King collection, but adopted a hostile stance toward the October Revolution.
2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 5
By David Walsh, 2 May 2018
The impact of years of stagnation and official reaction still sharply influences artistic work.
“I Want to Be Rich and I’m Not Sorry”
By David Walsh, 30 April 2018
Los Angeles novelist Jessica Knoll spells out her credo in her NYT article: “Success, for me, is synonymous with making money …”
2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 4
Documentary about singer M.I.A. (“Use your art to say something!”) and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed (small-town preacher struggles with life and death)
By Toby Reese, 30 April 2018
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., a feature-length documentary about rapper-songwriter, “M.I.A.” is a breath of fresh air. First Reformed is a dismal, confused film about a middle-aged former military chaplain turned preacher.
2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 3
I Am Not a Witch, The Workshop, The Distant Barking of Dogs, Garry Winogrand and Louise Lecavalier
By Joanne Laurier, 27 April 2018
I Am Not a Witch in particular is an elegantly crafted tale that comments on the exploitation of Zambia’s poor by an elite that shamelessly promotes superstition and backwardness.
Interview with conductor William Barkhymer: “I think the world is just thankful we had Gershwin to compose Porgy and Bess”
By Barry Grey, 25 April 2018
“For me, Porgy and Bess is about a community, the people, how they interact with each other, how they hold together in good times and bad times.”
By Richard Phillips, 24 April 2018
Stanley Tucci’s film, set in 1964, two years before Alberto Giacometti’s death, is about the artist’s portrait of James Lord, a young American writer.
An interview with Marc George Gershwin and Michael Strunsky, nephews of George and Ira Gershwin
By Barry Grey, 23 April 2018
“What stands out is the genius of the music.”
By Patrick Martin, 21 April 2018
The subject matter is the death in July 1969 of Mary Jo Kopechne, who was riding late at night in a car driven by Senator Edward Kennedy that went off an open wooden bridge and plunged into the water.
2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2
How are striking miners (Bisbee ’17), a great painter (Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti), Native Americans (The Rider) and others treated by the filmmakers?
By Joanne Laurier, 20 April 2018
A further look at the recent San Francisco film festival and its variety of films. Interesting, complex subjects may still receive inadequate or uneven treatment.
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.