Arts and Culture
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 5 October 2020
We are reposting today an interview we conducted with Victoria Bynum in July 2016 at the time of the release of Free State of Jones, which is now available again on Netflix.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 October 2020
This important film from 2016 is now available again on Netflix. It is a rebuke to the racialist politics of the New York Times and the Democratic Party and to the 1619 Project in particular.
By Carlos Delgado, 3 October 2020
The show is a ridiculous, bloody spectacle of mayhem and murder, with a hefty dose of feminism for good measure.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 October 2020
Challenger: The Final Flight, a docuseries on Netflix, deals with the tragic explosion of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986, which killed seven crew members.
By Paul Bond, 1 October 2020
Singer and actress Juliette Gréco’s considerable achievements are bound up inextricably with the problems of postwar French intellectual and cultural life.
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part 3
By David Walsh, 30 September 2020
Leon Trotsky pointed out in a 1939 article, unpublished during his lifetime, that “in a certain sense” art was “richer than life, for it can both overstate and understate.”
Tenor Placido Domingo, defending his character and reputation, retracts “apologies” for alleged sexual harassment
By Fred Mazelis, 29 September 2020
Operatic tenor Placido Domingo told an interviewer for Spanish television last Saturday that his apologies last February for alleged sexual misconduct had been taken out of context, and that he was not guilty of abuse or mistreatment.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 September 2020
Management is demanding major concessions from its musicians, who have been furloughed without pay since March.
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part 2
Frances McDormand in Nomadland—the danger of making a virtue out of necessity—and David Byrne’s American Utopia (directed by Spike Lee)
By David Walsh, 25 September 2020
It is a serious mistake, a terrible irresponsibility, to treat life in this manner, to turn the social into the “natural” and inevitable.
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part one
Under the Open Sky from Japan, The Best Is Yet to Come from China
By David Walsh, 23 September 2020
This year’s event presented some 60 feature films, a sharp decline from the more than 330 screened in 2019, with the festival organizers forecasting a 50 percent decline in revenue throughout 2020.
By Erik Schreiber, 22 September 2020
A skilled and engaging rapper, Nas remains committed to a message reflecting his confusion, racialist politics and considerable business interests.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 September 2020
A suburban father’s life is upended when a stranger reveals a devastating secret.
By Paul Bond, 19 September 2020
Hibbert was widely respected and liked as a person, as well as admired for his work. That he was one of the most important international ambassadors for reggae owed much to his personal integrity.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 September 2020
In Kaufman’s latest film, a high school janitor, presumably in the moments before his final mental collapse and physical self-destruction, has his life—or, rather, for the most part, a fantasy version of his life—flash before his (and our) eyes.
By Paul Bond, 17 September 2020
Rigg was a fine classical actress who ended up successfully negotiating the transition back and forth between stage and television.
By David Walsh, 16 September 2020
Fitzgerald has a history in movies extending back to the late 1970s. He first produced two films with John Huston, Wise Blood (1979) and Under the Volcano (1984).
By Nick Barrickman, 14 September 2020
The US singer-songwriter’s musical film and visual album seeks to focus its lens on the African continent and its diaspora, with decidedly limited effects.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 September 2020
Stateless, now showing on Netflix, deals with the harsh Australian immigration detention program and the horrors inflicted on persecuted refugees fleeing colonial wars.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plan for racial and gender criteria: A right-wing attack on artistic freedom
By David Walsh, 11 September 2020
The actions reveal that the affluent layer in charge in Hollywood is either indifferent or hostile to the process by which art is created, and determined to pursue its selfish, grasping political and economic agenda.
By David Walsh, 11 September 2020
Directed by Italian filmmaker Pietro Marcello, the film is a valuable adaptation of London’s well-known 1909 novel, transposed to mid-20th century Italy.
Two novellas on the #MeToo issue: Mary Gaitskill’s This is Pleasure and James Lasdun’s Afternoon of a Faun
By Sandy English, 9 September 2020
Two recent works of fiction interestingly portray the #MeToo campaign in operation, but don’t criticize (or probe deeply) much of what needs to be criticized.
By Stephen Fuller and Helen Halyard, 4 September 2020
The city declared Monday Detroit Memorial Day and transformed the state park into a large-scale memorial for the 1,500 residents who have died from COVID-19 so far this year.
By Elliott Murtagh, 4 September 2020
Hip-hop stars Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z sing the praises of Black capitalism in their new single “Entrepreneur,” part of TIME magazine’s “New American Revolution” campaign.
By Jean Shaoul, 3 September 2020
The film documents the part played by MI6 in the 1953 Anglo-American coup that ousted Iran’s nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and ushered in 26 years of a murderous dictatorship under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
By David Walsh, 2 September 2020
Based on the 1980 novel by South Africa-born writer J.M. Coetzee, with also—importantly—a screenplay by Coetzee, the film is set on the remote outskirts of a fictional (or composite) “Empire” sometime apparently in the 19th century.
Immigration Nation reveals the suffering of migrants at the hands of the US detention and deportation machine
By Fred Mazelis, 1 September 2020
The Trump administration tried to stop or delay the release of this important documentary.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 August 2020
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the first person and only woman to win it twice. Her life and work are the subject matter of Iranian-born French filmmaker Marjane Satrapi’s feature.
By Paul Mitchell, 29 August 2020
Strikers warn that the pandemic is being used to enforce unprecedented job cuts and further privatise the arts and culture sector.
By John Andrews, 29 August 2020
Today, fans throughout the world are celebrating the centenary of the birth of Charlie Parker, an inventor of bebop and one of the greatest figures in the history of jazz.
By Matthew Brennan, 27 August 2020
The album was created in conjunction with a stage play about the 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 coal miners.
By Hiram Lee and Matthew Brennan, 27 August 2020
During the writing of the review of Ghosts of West Virginia, the recent album by veteran singer-musician Steve Earle, news reports indicated that his talented 38-year-old musician son Justin Townes Earle passed away on August 20.
By Paul Bond, 26 August 2020
A turning point for Bream was hearing recordings of Andrés Segovia (1893-1987), another great guitarist, whose transcriptions of Baroque compositions helped shape the modern repertoire.
By James Brewer, 25 August 2020
Decisions made in the script distorted the film’s narrative before the highly capable cast ever got in front of the camera.
By David Walsh, 22 August 2020
A French actress in her 70s, Fabienne Dangeville, receives a visit at her elegant Paris home from her daughter Lumir, son-in-law Hank and grand-daughter Charlotte, who live in New York.
By David Walsh, 21 August 2020
Released in theaters or available to stream today, Desert One is a documentary film about the US military’s effort in April 1980 to free American embassy staff captured during the 1979 Iranian revolution.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 August 2020
US filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s new film, First Cow, set in the 1820s in the Pacific Northwest, deals with the origins of North American business—and the value of and the need for solidarity.
By David Walsh, 17 August 2020
Essential conformism on important matters seems an apt summing up of Bill Condon’s film career to date. At any rate, The Good Liar will not do much to change one’s attitude.
By Paul Bond, 14 August 2020
A genuinely popular director of no small talent, he subordinated his critical instincts to a popularist slickness.
By Matthew Brennan, 13 August 2020
The new self-titled album distributes a considerable amount of opposition and anger across 11 songs. The results are uneven.
By Lee Parsons, 11 August 2020
In an indication of the studios’ disregard for the health and safety of workers, now showing up in film production contracts are waivers designed to give the employers legal immunity from suits over failure to provide protection against the virus.
Theater on your personal device
By Erik Schreiber, 7 August 2020
A powerful play based on interviews shows how New York City’s health care workers battled the pandemic as the health care system collapsed around them.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 August 2020
The Invisible Man feeds on the #MeToo mood, becoming the latest entry in what one critic calls “boom times for feminist revenge narratives.”
By David Walsh, 29 July 2020
Even those belonging to certain generations who do not know Jackson’s name will likely recall her disturbing 1948 short story, “The Lottery,” one of the most anthologized pieces of fiction in American history.
By David Walsh, 27 July 2020
Controversies have emerged at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the remarkable art museum, whose director has been accused of a conflict of interest and “a certain deafness on race.”
By Ed Hightower, 24 July 2020
Amid deepening social and political crisis Hamilton came to the Disney Plus streaming service this July 3 in time for viewing on the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence
By Fred Mazelis, 21 July 2020
Lotoro has devoted three decades to the research and discovery of music written and performed in defiance of Nazi barbarism.
By Will Morrow, 20 July 2020
While the structure of the building so far appears to have been saved, the greatest losses are the organ and stained-glass windows behind it, which were destroyed.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 July 2020
#Anne Frank Parallel Stories is a documentary streaming on Netflix that retraces the life of Anne Frank, as well as five living women who survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.
By Erik Schreiber, 14 July 2020
Despite its musical interest, the new album by rap duo Run the Jewels shows Killer Mike and El-P to be seriously disoriented, or worse, in the current upheavals.
By Clara Weiss, 11 July 2020
Netflix is currently streaming the mini-series documentary Lenox Hill, which focuses on four doctors at the hospital of the same name in New York’s Manhattan.
By David Walsh, 10 July 2020
Dickens was one of the greatest novelists of the 19th century and a world-historical literary and cultural figure. In the English language, he is perhaps second only to William Shakespeare in enduring significance and popularity.
By Paul Bond, 9 July 2020
The limited financial assistance provided is based on the Johnson government’s claim that the pandemic is on the wane and that theatre, dance and music venues will soon be able to get back to relying on revenue from the paying public.
By Clare Hurley, 7 July 2020
Kossoff’s death a year ago received such scant notice that one could be excused for not knowing that the artist was considered, by many familiar with his work, one of the great painters of the second half of the 20th century.
By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020
Canadian-born singer-songwriter Neil Young has released Homegrown, 45 years after it was recorded, an album of twelve songs that brings us back to his music of the early 1970s.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 July 2020
The French Netflix miniseries concerns the plight of a middle-aged, middle class man who seeks to redress his long-term unemployment through extreme measures.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 July 2020
The latest season is the final one in the series about the lives and difficult circumstances of a group of teenagers at fictional Liberty High School.
By Ed Hightower, 30 June 2020
The Kominsky Method on Netflix looks at aging through the experiences of a pair of long-time friends: Sandy Kominsky, a once well-known actor and current acting coach, and his agent Norman Newlander.
By Thomas Scripps, 27 June 2020
The BBC’s three-part The Salisbury Poisonings uses drama as state propaganda and is designed to reignite the Skripal affair that dominated UK politics in 2018.
By Paul Bond, 27 June 2020
It is difficult not to see his subsequent representation of a character’s inner life as being drawn from his family background.
Institution accused of “white supremacy and culture of systemic racism”
By David Walsh, 26 June 2020
The attack launched against Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Keith Christiansen for his remarks concerning the danger of valuable art works being destroyed in the course of upheavals is without any merit whatsoever.
By Verena Nees, 25 June 2020
On closer inspection, the German government’s aid package proves to be a sham and a step towards neutering and strangling a diverse cultural landscape.
Antigone from Canada recounts the struggle of an immigrant youth to defend her brother against state violence
By Laurent Lafrance, 24 June 2020
Unlike insipid mainstream Canadian cinema, Antigone deals honestly with critical issues such as the oppression of immigrants, police violence, a mounting youth revolt and, to some extent, social inequality.
The Strokes’ The New Abnormal and Hamilton Leithauser’s The Loves Of Your Life: Two decades on from the rise of “indie rock”
By Matthew Brennan, 23 June 2020
Two of the more notable bands to emerge from the early 2000s “indie rock” music scene, which was centered in New York City, have recently produced new albums.
“It’s bigger than black and white, it’s a problem with the whole way of life”
By Elliott Murtagh and J. L’Heureau, 22 June 2020
Atlanta rapper Lil Baby has released a new song about the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality.
By Louis Girard, 20 June 2020
Yielding to the anti-democratic #MeToo campaign, distributors in Quebec refused to buy the rights to Polanski’s remarkable film about the Dreyfus Affair.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 19 June 2020
Directed by John Frankenheimer and featuring Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Fredric March, the film envisions an attempt to overthrow constitutional rule in the US. Where do we stand 56 years later?
By Margot Miller, 17 June 2020
Vicious measures were introduced in the aftermath of the 2008 banking crash and subsequent bailout to try and divide the working class by scapegoating ethnic minorities and migrants for the austerity that followed.
By Kevin Reed, 16 June 2020
The Netflix series paints a picture of the life and times of the late billionaire hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender in the style of a true-crime documentary.
By Fred Mazelis, 15 June 2020
The New York Philharmonic and other orchestras are canceling performances for the rest of this year.
By Jason Quill and Richard Phillips, 13 June 2020
Justin Kurzel’s film is the 16th about the late 19th century Australian bushranger and anti-establishment outlaw.
By Shannon Jones, 11 June 2020
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural speech is considered, along with the Gettysburg Address, one of the most important in US history.
By Kevin Martinez, 8 June 2020
Although no doubt well-intentioned and containing realistic elements, the film, unfortunately, follows a rather predictable path.
By Erik Schreiber, 6 June 2020
The latest film from the Safdie brothers has much momentum, but little insight into its grasping protagonist or his tawdry world.
By David Walsh, 5 June 2020
The eight-part series focuses on an expatriate American musician-composer and his attempts to keep his nightspot open and confront some of the problems in his personal life.
Letting the cat out of the bag about American television police shows
By David Walsh, 4 June 2020
Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise, was obliged this week to fire a writer on an upcoming series after the latter posed with a weapon and threatened to kill “looters” in Los Angeles.
By Fred Mazelis, 3 June 2020
Esty Shapiro, a 19-year-old unhappily married woman in Brooklyn, leaves her Jewish ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, traveling to Berlin to find her mother and begin a new life.
The “experience of the pandemic has made me more aware that it comes down to capitalism”
Impact of COVID-19 and George Floyd killing on artistic life: An interview with a young artist-actor in Brooklyn, New York
By Clare Hurley, 2 June 2020
Artist and actor Bamoozie (his artist moniker) spoke with the WSWS about the impact of the pandemic on his economic situation, artistic work and political perspective, as well as his thoughts on the police murder of George Floyd.
By Tom Mackaman, 1 June 2020
Grant was motivated, in the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction that followed, by his belief in the democratic ideal of human equality proclaimed by the American Revolution.
By Matthew Brennan, 1 June 2020
Few musicians were involved in as many stages of development in jazz, or popular music generally, after World War II as Miles Davis (1926-1991).
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2020
The British television miniseries, The Accident, tells the story of a decayed former mining and steel town in Wales, in which a factory under construction collapses, resulting in a horrendous tragedy.
By Erik Schreiber, 29 May 2020
An often-touching documentary recounts how Cash’s first wife coped with unwanted media attention, her husband’s increasing emotional distance and racist threats.
By James McDonald, 28 May 2020
The Overstory is a novel about trees and our relationship with them, revealing through narrative, argument and richly informative detail just how dependent humans are upon arboreal nature.
“Lost our connection after the war”
By James Brewer, 25 May 2020
Robbie Robertson: “The story of the Band is beautiful. It was so beautiful it went up in flames.”
By Elliott Murtagh and J. L’Heureau, 23 May 2020
The 18-year-old pop star’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was the most popular album on the planet in 2019.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 May 2020
World on Fire, a seven-episode series, is set at the beginning of World War II and follows characters from five countries. Colored by anti-war and anti-fascist views, it takes place in France, Britain, Germany and Poland.
By David Walsh, 21 May 2020
Much of Lost Girls is taken up by Mari Gilbert’s painful, persistent struggle for some police or official action in regard to her daughter’s fate.
By Paul Bond, 19 May 2020
The cultural background of a disoriented avant-garde in the aftermath of World War II and the division of Germany helped shape the music of Schneider and his peers.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2020
Based on the 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere, an eight-episode Hulu miniseries, focuses on several families and individuals in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, who come into conflict.
By David Walsh, 16 May 2020
Disgracefully, A Rainy Day in New York has been suppressed in the US. The film was completed in 2018, but Amazon Studios refused to distribute it.
By Erik Schreiber, 15 May 2020
The new album, which resonates during our time of quarantine, reflects the singer’s personal growth, as well as the regressive influences of her Hollywood-celebrity environment.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 14 May 2020
A new staging of Beethoven’s Fidelio is a highlight in these times of lockdown and quarantine.
By Paul Bond, 13 May 2020
His long-time collaborator Fela Kuti once declared “without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.”
By Hiram Lee, 12 May 2020
Little Richard played a significant role in shaping rock ’n’ roll in the 1950s and left an indelible influence on the world of music and pop culture in the decades that followed.
By David Walsh, 9 May 2020
Tony Johnson (Gervais) is devastated by the death of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer. He finds it difficult to carry on with life and frequently contemplates suicide.
By Fred Mazelis, 8 May 2020
The Apple family in Rhinebeck, New York, tries to carry on, as the world faces disaster and social upheaval.
By David Walsh, 5 May 2020
The present crisis is devastating the lives of many artists, threatening to drive smaller galleries and related enterprises out of business and resulting in an even greater divide between haves and have-nots.
By Clare Hurley, 2 May 2020
Lange’s turn to documentary photography was spurred by the Great Depression as she sought to address economic inequality and social injustice through activism and the lens of her camera.
By Joanne Laurier, 1 May 2020
The crimes of the Nazis, the greatest ever committed against humanity, generated some of the noblest and most self-sacrificing actions in the struggle against their barbarism.
By Sybille Fuchs, 30 April 2020
The virtual exhibition is in many respects highly relevant in the present situation.
By Paul Bond, 30 April 2020
Huge global audience figures show a support for the keyworkers at the frontline that is not answered by any corresponding practical measures from the ruling class.