Arts and Culture
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.
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.
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.
Part 2: Shelley’s politics and his Peterloo poems
By Paul Bond, 1 October 2019
Shelley’s commitment to revolutionary change was “more than the vague striving after freedom in the abstract,” as Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling wrote in 1888.
Part 1: The aftermath of the massacre and the responses
By Paul Bond, 30 September 2019
The massacre elicited an immediate and furious response from the working class and sections of middle-class radicals, and an astonishing outpouring of work from the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 September 2019
Featuring Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones, Ad Astra is a space odyssey in which an astronaut son searches for his long-lost astronaut father.
By Barry Grey, 26 September 2019
The real problem of the opera, the irredeemable original sin of Porgy and Bess that every reviewer is duty-bound to point out, is the fact that its creators were white.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 4
Also Just Mercy, Harriet, Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You…
By Joanne Laurier, 24 September 2019
The Report is a dramatization of the events surrounding the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into and writing of a report on pervasive CIA torture under the Bush administration.
“Go on strike ‘til you get it right!”
By Kathleen Martin, 21 September 2019
The former autoworker spoke to the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter about life in the auto plants and why he supports the striking workers.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 3
The personal and social tragedy of “dark periods”: Ibrahim: A Fate to Define, South Terminal, My English Cousin, 1982
By David Walsh, 20 September 2019
Lina Al Abed’s film, Ibrahim: A Fate to Define, grapples with complex issues arising from the history of the Palestinian struggle. South Terminal treats Algeria in the “dark years” of the 1990s.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 2
By Joanne Laurier, 18 September 2019
In different ways, filmmakers are trying to come to terms with certain harsh realities. Love Child, Hearts and Bones and Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story are sincere efforts.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019
An interview with director Eva Mulvad: “You can…come a bit closer to having a more rounded understanding of the world”
By Joanne Laurier, 18 September 2019
The WSWS spoke in Toronto to Eva Mulvad, Danish filmmaker and director of Love Child, about an Iranian refugee family in Turkey and its problems.
By Tim Avery, 13 September 2019
The intensely relevant film is based on the true story of Katharine Gun, who leaked a memo exposing the criminality of the preparations for war against Iraq and was charged by the British government under the Official Secrets Act.
Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 1
By David Walsh, 11 September 2019
It already seems possible to assert that the most interesting and serious films at this year’s event concern immigrants and refugees and conditions in the Middle East and North Africa.
An interview with Hind Meddeb, director of Paris Stalingrad: “It’s not a film about refugees, it’s a film about human beings”
By David Walsh, 11 September 2019
The documentary focuses on the plight of asylum seekers on the streets of the French capital
By Sandy English, 7 September 2019
Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison wrote several significant novels, but as a public figure turned to the selfish racialist politics of the upper middle class.
By Oscar Grenfell, 5 September 2019
The media silence is an act of political censorship, carried out in order to assist the US and British governments persecute WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
A 21st-century “Hunger Games”
By Carl Bronski, 4 September 2019
In all, five of the nine runners-up of Season 6 of Alone were medically evacuated. Others voluntarily withdrew due to the effects of starvation, psychological breakdown or the loss of shelter.
Twenty years of the Young Euro Classic festival: Beethoven caught between rebellion and EU propaganda
By Verena Nees, 2 September 2019
The 20th edition of the Young Euro Classic festival ended August 6 in Berlin with a record attendance of 27,000 visitors. At the center of the programmes were the nine symphonies and other works by Ludwig van Beethoven.
By David Walsh, 30 August 2019
Bernadette Fox is at odds with her conventional, upper-middle-class environment. She doesn’t care to leave her house much, although the roof leaks badly in various places. She has an antagonistic relationship with a neighbor.
By Benjamin Mateus, 28 August 2019
The film is based on the story of Francesc Boix, a left-wing Catalan militant held during World War II at the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp complex in Austria.
By Clare Hurley, 26 August 2019
It would seem that artists have not responded profoundly, either directly or indirectly, to the social and political crisis that has increasingly gripped the US, particularly since the 2016 Trump election.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 August 2019
In the third season of Justin Simien’s series, events culminate in a #MeToo-style attack on a popular professor.
By Richard Phillips, 23 August 2019
Virtuoso jazz guitarist Bill Frisell discussed some of the conceptions underpinning his musical approach and his forthcoming album during the Australian leg of his recent Asian tour.
Also, Rosie and Angels Are Made of Light
By Joanne Laurier, 21 August 2019
Brian Banks is based on the true story of a black high school football star in Long Beach, California falsely accused of rape at the age of 16. Rosie deals with homelessness in Dublin and Angels Are Made of Light the war in Afghanistan.
German film prize goes to Margarethe von Trotta, director of Rosa Luxemburg (1986) and Rosenstrasse (2003)
By Bernd Reinhardt, 19 August 2019
Margarethe von Trotta (Rosa Luxemburg, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt) is one of the most important German filmmakers of the postwar period.
By David Walsh, 17 August 2019
On August 13, the Associated Press posted an article by Jocelyn Gecker alleging that Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo had sexually harassed a number of women over a period of several decades.
An interview with historian Brenda Wineapple, author of books on Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson
“Writing is a solitary and private act … I’m going to say what I think is true”
By David Walsh, 13 August 2019
Brenda Wineapple has written a number of intriguing books, including White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson; Hawthorne: A Life; and The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation.
By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2019
Pennebaker pioneered the use of handheld cameras and editorial comment to achieve an immediacy and closeness not previously achieved in documentary film-making.
By Carlos Delgado, 9 August 2019
Ari Aster’s newest film is a carnival of grotesqueries surrounding a limp relationship drama.
By Toby Reese, 7 August 2019
The George Washington High School was opened for two hours for a viewing of the 13-panel mural by left-wing Depression Era muralist Victor Arnautoff depicting the “Life of Washington.”
By Hiram Lee, 7 August 2019
This latest work stands out as an unusually open and humane collection of songs in a genre that has been lacking in those elements far too much in recent years.
By Clara Weiss, 5 August 2019
Under conditions of an international resurgence of fascist forces, the series, which had an enormous impact in West Germany in 1979, has lost none of its relevance.
16 Shots: Documenting the Chicago Democratic Party’s cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald
By Michael Walters and Kristina Betinis, 3 August 2019
Through powerful interviews with family members, witnesses, attorneys, city officials and activists, the timeline of the murder and cover-up is reconstructed.
More on the removal of actress Lillian Gish’s name at Bowling Green State University
A conversation with actor Malcolm McDowell: “Once you erode freedoms like this, and artistic thought, where are we as a civilized society?”
By David Walsh, 1 August 2019
The WSWS spoke to veteran actor Malcolm McDowell about the decision by Bowling Green State University to remove actress Lillian Gish’s name from its film theater because of her role in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915).
By Joanne Laurier, 31 July 2019
Tarantino’s latest film reimagines 1969 Los Angeles and the disintegration of the traditional studio system.
The 2008 music vault fire
By Kevin Reed, 30 July 2019
The social and legal fallout from the June 2008 music vault fire in Hollywood, which destroyed an invaluable popular music archive at Universal Studios and which Universal Music Group (UMG) covered up for years, is ongoing.
By Fred Mazelis, 29 July 2019
Whitman made a unique contribution both as a poet and public figure. He has much to say in the 21st century.
By Matthew MacEgan, 27 July 2019
Stranger Things, created by the Duffer Brothers, continues with its tribute to the 1980s, science fiction and horror themes.
By Sybille Fuchs, 26 July 2019
The exhibition at the Brücke Museum represents a welcome change in favour of art appreciation based on a critical examination of contemporary history.
By Sybille Fuchs and Stefan Steinberg, 24 July 2019
Two art exhibitions currently running in Berlin raise important questions about the relationship of certain modern artists to the Nazi regime.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 July 2019
Two recent British-made films delve into the field of popular music. Works about such a subject can be a means of getting at social life from an unusual and unorthodox point of view.
“The university and its teachers have a responsibility toward history”
An interview with veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier about actress Lillian Gish and director D. W. Griffith
Bowling Green State University recently removed the famed actress’s name from its film theater
By David Walsh, 20 July 2019
French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (Round Midnight, Coup de Torchon, Life and Nothing But, It All Starts Today, In the Electric Mist) is one of the most admirable figures in cinema over the past 45 years.
By Kayla Costa, 15 July 2019
The dismissal of the case would be a blow to the witch-hunt as a whole, which has ruined or threatened dozens of artists’ careers, creating an atmosphere of censorship and intimidation.
By Hiram Lee, 13 July 2019
Together with the composer Antônio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto pioneered a “new wave” in Brazilian popular music during the mid-to-late 1950s that had a worldwide impact.
A conversation with Mike Kaplan, the producer of The Whales of August (1987), Lillian Gish’s final film
The famed actress “was filled with curiosity, creativity and imagination”
By David Walsh, 6 July 2019
Kaplan helped organize the petition urging Bowling Green State University to restore the names of famed actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish to its film theater.
Marching Song, play co-written by Orson Welles about abolitionist John Brown, to be published after 85 years
By David Walsh, 2 July 2019
Todd Tarbox has edited the play and Rowman & Littlefield will publish it in August. This is a significant cultural event. Marching Song is an important historical drama.
By Kate Randall, 1 July 2019
The Netflix series dramatizes the case of five black and Latino young men who were wrongfully convicted in the 1989 Central Park Jogger rape case.
By Matthew Brennan, 29 June 2019
His early recordings spanned a remarkable musical range, from funk-driven pop songs and New Orleans jazz and blues to at least a half-dozen other musical styles and influences.
By Ed Hightower, 27 June 2019
Barry follows a discharged Marine-turned-assassin as he attempts to shed the moral baggage of his military service, with tragi-comic results.
Artists, writers, film scholars protest Bowling Green State University decision to remove Lillian Gish’s name
By David Walsh, 25 June 2019
More than 50 filmmakers, actors, writers, academics and film scholars have signed a petition urging Bowling Green State University in Ohio to restore the names of famed actresses Lillian and Dorothy Gish to its film theater.
24 June 2019
The San Francisco Board of Education is considering either destroying or covering over a series of 13 frescoes on the life of George Washington at a local high school. The WSWS spoke to professor emeritus of history Robert Cherny about the issue.
By Harvey Simpkins, 22 June 2019
If the lockout continues until September and the summer session is not reinstated, the musicians will lose more than $2.5 million in wages and benefits.
By Frank Anderson and George Marlowe, 20 June 2019
The documentary film about Rockford, Illinois follows the lives of three young working-class men, trapped by harsh social circumstances, who love to skateboard.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 June 2019
The Dead Don't Die is the latest movie by American independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. It’s both a quasi-comic horror film and at the same time clearly a comment on what Jarmusch perceives to be the state of the nation.
Miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster
By Andrea Peters, 15 June 2019
Director Johan Renck and scriptwriter Craig Mazin capture the reality of the explosion that tore open the facility’s nuclear reactor core and spewed radioactive material over large swathes of the western USSR and Europe.
“Unfortunately, none of this happened”: Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto (Summer), a take on the pre- perestroika period in the USSR
By Clara Weiss, 14 June 2019
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.
Famed film actress Lillian Gish’s name removed from Bowling Green State University theater: The issues raised
By David Walsh, 12 June 2019
The Ohio university’s cowardly decision is a capitulation to the worst sort of ahistorical moralizing and the current obsession with race and gender politics within the affluent middle class.