Arts and Culture
By Lee Parsons, 18 April 2020
Set late in the 24th century, Star Trek: Picard concluded its 10-episode season in March to generally favourable reviews, if a mixed reception from the faithful.
By David Walsh, 17 April 2020
Michael Curtiz was one of the most prolific, talented directors in history, with some 180 films to his credit—a third of them made in his native Hungary and other European countries by the time he emigrated to the US in 1926.
By Joanne Laurier, 16 April 2020
The three-part documentary focuses on five major American directors—John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, George Stevens and Frank Capra—who enlisted with the US War Department to create propaganda films between 1941 and 1945.
By Erik Schreiber, 14 April 2020
The newest movie from acclaimed Portuguese director Pedro Costa offers visual beauty, pessimism and little insight or hope.
By Hiram Lee and Matthew Brennan, 13 April 2020
In his art and his very personality, Prine pursued an existence entirely opposed to the sort led by those whose criminal negligence made possible his death from COVID-19.
By Nick Barrickman, 11 April 2020
The World Socialist Web Site spoke last week to the Chicago-based director and discussed issues related to his recent film.
By David Walsh, 11 April 2020
Oboist Liang Wang and trumpeter Matthew Muckey disputed their 2018 firings. An arbitrator heard the case and found that the musicians had been terminated without just cause.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 April 2020
Colewell follows Karen Allen as Nora, a postal clerk in a fictitious rural Pennsylvania town. The one-person post office is the center of her existence and has been for numerous decades.
“A devastating blow financially and emotionally”
By Elliott Murtagh, 9 April 2020
The deepening crisis has left musicians and DJs across the United States, most of whom are part of the gig economy, reeling.
By Hiram Lee, 6 April 2020
Among the more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the nearly 70,000 lives lost, may be counted those of numerous well-known musicians and performers.
By Nick Barrickman, 4 April 2020
Mark Harris’s television film tells the story of a middle-class black community “disrupted” when low-income people are forced to move in.
By David Walsh, 3 April 2020
The book, treating Allen’s life growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s and ‘40s, as well as his film career and more recent personal troubles, has become the target of abuse in the Washington Post, New York Times and elsewhere.
An ominous warning ignored by governments
By Toby Reese, 1 April 2020
As the US became an epicenter of the current pandemic last week, the series jumped into the top ten most-viewed on Netflix.
By Matthew Brennan, 31 March 2020
The songwriting and musicality on both, at its best, is unusually direct, serious and invigorating. The two performers attempt to grapple with changes in social life—and social moods—and manage to give them intriguing musical expression.
70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5
Strike or Die and several shorts: Filipiñana, Union County, Huntsville Station: A renewed interest in workers’ lives
By Verena Nees, 30 March 2020
This year’s Berlinale showed films featuring workers and their families as central characters who, despite oppressive living conditions, exhibit self-confidence, pride and a degree of rebellious spirit.
By David Walsh, 28 March 2020
The bipartisan corporate “rescue” package passed by the US Congress this week provides only $232.5 million for cultural organizations, one-sixteenth of the $4 billion for which the American Alliance of Museums had lobbied.
…and The Last Thing He Wanted
By Joanne Laurier, 27 March 2020
Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson, is an amusing whodunit with some social implications. Dee Rees’s The Last Thing He Wanted is too elliptical for its own good.
Pop star Britney Spears social media posts go viral after telling public to “re-distribute wealth” and “strike”
By Nick Barrickman, 26 March 2020
The Instagram post has been shared millions of times in a widespread reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts by the ruling elite to dump the crisis on the back of the working class.
By David Walsh, 25 March 2020
The series imagines an alternate history in which aviation hero and Hitler admirer Charles Lindbergh becomes the Republican Party’s candidate for president in 1940 and wins the general election against incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt.
John Eliot Gardiner leads all nine Beethoven symphonies at Carnegie Hall, and speaks about their significance
The great composer’s music has “to do with social equality, revolution and counterrevolution”
By Fred Mazelis, 23 March 2020
An opportunity, just before the coronavirus forced the closing of concert halls, to hear the works of the master played on period instruments.
By Penny Smith, 23 March 2020
The entertainment industry across the US and Canada has effectively shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of already precariously employed workers suddenly without an income.
By James McDonald, 21 March 2020
Editor Anthony Doerr and series editor Heidi Pitlor have assembled in these twenty stories a book well worth reading and with more than one piece that contributes admirably to contemporary American literature.
By Fred Mazelis, 21 March 2020
Hundreds of employees will be joining tens of millions of others as the coronavirus pandemic leads to skyrocketing unemployment.
By Joanne Laurier, 20 March 2020
Emma. has an added punctuation mark, according to de Wilde, “because it’s a period piece.” This facetious comment, unhappily, threatens to sum up the entire project.
Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue: Documentary about war crimes and historical revisionism in Japan
By Isabel Roy, 20 March 2020
Miki Dezaki interviews revisionists from far-right circles in Japan, politicians and historians who have studied “comfort women,” as well as activists working for the recognition of the victimised women.
By Paul Bond, 19 March 2020
For more than six decades, the Swedish-born von Sydow, who has died at 90, was a standard bearer for serious, thoughtful acting in a remarkable range of work.
70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
Curveball—Germany’s role in the Iraq war—and the horrors of the concentration camp in Persian Lessons
By Stefan Steinberg, 18 March 2020
Johannes Naber’s film is a political satire rooted firmly in evidence researched by the director and his team. Vadim Perelman’s work follows a man who has to invent an entire language to survive.
By Matthew Brennan, 16 March 2020
Tyner was the last living member of the famed “classic” John Coltrane quartet, which included bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones.
13 March 2020
The WSWS has received a letter from writer and director Andrew Birkin in response to its review, posted on March 11, of Speer Goes to Hollywood .
By Joe Lorenz, 13 March 2020
The concert, “Spirituals: From Ship to Shore,” was organized and led by Dr. John Wesley Wright, an award-winning tenor and professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, as part of a week of study into the history of the musical genre.
70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2
By Verena Nees, 11 March 2020
The title of Vanessa Lapa’s documentary, Speer Goes to Hollywood, and its tagline, “The Unbelievable Second Career of the Good Nazi,” are enough to stop one in one’s tracks.
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.