By David Walsh, 27 November 2015
This elegantly composed documentary attempts to interweave the complex saga of the director’s own family with the larger history of Iraq over the past half-century or more.
By David Walsh, 26 November 2015
The new film treats the climax of the struggle in Panem between the rebels, morally led by Katniss Everdeen, and the forces of the Capitol, presided over by the tyrannical President Coriolanus Snow.
By Nick Barrickman, 20 November 2015
Look What This World Did To Us (April 2015, Mello Music Group) is the third full-length studio album from Detroit-area rapper/producer Red Pill (born Chris Orrick, 1987).
By Dorota Niemitz, 19 November 2015
Piotr Chrzan’s directorial debut deals with the subject of the organized search for the Jews, or the Judenjagd, in Nazi-Occupied Poland.
By Hiram Lee, 12 November 2015
On tour at the time of his death, Toussaint suffered a heart attack following a performance at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2015
Based on a documentary, the new David Gordon Green movie, Our Brand is Crisis, is a comedy-drama about the activities of American political operatives in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election.
By Fred Mazelis, 7 November 2015
The opera was written in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and expressed the composer’s devotion to the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican in London
By George Marlowe, 5 November 2015
The weight of our time is felt, even if unevenly, in the overall mood of the recent production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch.
By Joe Mount, 5 November 2015
Lustgarten’s play attempts to convey the lives and plight of ordinary people and avoids the self-absorption of many artists.
By Fred Mazelis, 4 November 2015
The film at least partly reveals the role of the media as a virtual propaganda arm of the military and the CIA.
By Kevin Reed, 2 November 2015
Based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, the film presents its title character as a clairvoyant and brilliant business leader with significant character flaws.
… and two poor, new films (Beasts of No Nation, Rock the Kasbah)
By Joanne Laurier, 30 October 2015
Several movie theaters in the US are currently screening F.W. Murnau’s classic silent film, Nosferatu (1922). We also look briefly at Rock the Kasbah and Beasts of No Nation.
Hegel: “In their paintings we can study and get to know men and human nature”
By David Walsh, 29 October 2015
The exhibition is not huge, but its 75 paintings from 40 institutions in the US, Canada and Europe, a third of which have not been seen in the US before, were thoughtfully chosen.
By David Walsh, 20 October 2015
In the late 1970s, after two decades in a remote “rehabilitation camp,” a Chinese political prisoner returns to his long-suffering wife, who does not recognize him.
“Artists have the capacity to expose the reality of war”
By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 13 October 2015
Vithanage discusses With You, Without You and the political difficulties facing contemporary Sri Lankan filmmakers.
By Kevin Martinez, 10 October 2015
Despite exhibiting a healthy cynicism toward the authorities, the film fails to give a satisfying picture of Boston’s underworld, or the city’s social relations, in the 1970s and 1980s.
By David Walsh, 7 October 2015
One member of a manned mission to Mars is presumed dead and left behind on the desolate planet.
By Robert Fowler, 5 October 2015
Some of the more authentic moments in the film come in the form of George Hammond’s difficulties with government bureaucracies and homeless shelter officials.
Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part Three
I Saw the Light (Hank Williams) and Janis: Little Girl Blue (Janis Joplin)—Popular music and its discontents
By David Walsh, 3 October 2015
Country music performer Hank Williams (1923-1953) and rock and roll singer Janis Joplin (1943-1970) were both significant figures in the history of American popular culture.
By David Walsh, 30 September 2015
The nearly three-hour work follows two dozen characters over the course of several days in the city of Nashville, Tennessee, the official capital of country music.
Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part one
By David Walsh, 26 September 2015
The 40th Toronto International Film Festival screened some 285 feature films and 110 shorts from 71 countries.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 September 2015
Iranian-American writer-director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, 2005; Chop Shop, 2007; Goodbye Solo, 2008) has created a compelling work that puts flesh and blood on the foreclosure epidemic.
Change the World or Go Home by Alejandro Almanza Pereda
By Jeff Lusanne, 14 September 2015
The American public’s access to Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s murals has never been easy, as their social and political content has provoked opposition in powerful circles. Now, an artist joins the effort, with little to offer in return.
Exhibition in London
By Paul Mitchell, 12 September 2015
The show is an opportunity to see the compassionate and humorous photographs of working class life by someone whose work rarely reached a wider audience during her own lifetime.
By Christine Schofelt, 10 September 2015
A young student in New York City, an aspiring writer, meets her energetic, difficult stepsister-to-be.
By Hiram Lee, 9 September 2015
The latest album from the neo-soul singer is an interesting but uneven effort.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 5 September 2015
Tourneur’s film, adapted from Build My Gallows High, a novel by American writer Daniel Mainwaring published in 1946, has one of the most suggestive titles in cinema history.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 September 2015
Set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss), is grossly disfigured and traumatized.
By Verena Nees, 31 August 2015
The annual Young Euro Classic youth orchestra festival recently concluded with a memorable performance in the Berlin Concert Hall.
By Christine Schofelt, 29 August 2015
Spielman is not given to the current fetish for “Ruins Photography.” There is no romanticism in these pages.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 August 2015
Jonathan Demme’s film deals with a woman who left her husband and children decades ago, and now returns for a family crisis.
By Kelly Taylor, 26 August 2015
Coming through the main gates into Dismaland, the spectator is confronted with a vision of a world that is terribly sick.
By Nick Barrickman, 25 August 2015
Straight Outta Compton is a hip hop biopic focusing on the rise to prominence of the influential hip hop group N.W.A. in the late 1980s.
By Laurent Lafrance, 22 August 2015
The fifth feature film by Quebecois director Xavier Dolan, only 25 years of age, won numerous awards in 2014 and 2015.
By Nick Barrickman, 21 August 2015
While avoiding many of the more overt expressions of self-absorption, many of the Oddisee’s attempts to reflect reality remain purely on an individual and superficial plane.
By David Walsh, 14 August 2015
Allen’s latest film focuses on controversial philosophy professor Abe Lucas who arrives at fictional, liberal arts Braylin College in Newport, Rhode Island to teach a summer course.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2015
Asif Kapadia’s documentary is a straightforward and compelling account of the performer’s life starting at the age of fourteen.
By Sandy English, 3 August 2015
Harper Lee’s early draft of a novel, Go Set a Watchman, has sold over a million copies in the United States since its release two weeks ago.
By David Walsh, 1 August 2015
In Apatow’s Trainwreck, Amy Schumer, the stand-up comic and writer, is the psychological mess of the title.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2015
Turner Classic Movies, the US cable and satellite television network, presented Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) at selected theaters on July 19 and 20.
By Hiram Lee, 23 July 2015
An exhibition at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau pays tribute to German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder on the seventieth anniversary of his birth.
By Zac Corrigan, 20 July 2015
Fairey was arrested less than two months after completing a mural in Detroit, commissioned by billionaire Dan Gilbert.
By Christine Schofelt and David Walsh, 17 July 2015
Making a direct appeal to debt-ridden youth and branding itself as “anti-corporate,” Mr. Robot raises many issues. But how does it deal with them?
By Seraphine Collins, 16 July 2015
Acclaimed American photographer Mary Ellen Mark recently died, leaving behind an extensive and thought-provoking body of work.
By David Walsh, 13 July 2015
The two films, Manglehorn, directed by David Gordon Green, and The Cobbler, directed by Tom McCarthy, both fall into the independent drama, or comedy-drama category.
By Ed Hightower, 11 July 2015
In the third season of the series about a fictional woman’s correctional facility, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, privatization comes to Litchfield prison.
By David Walsh, 8 July 2015
A number of the independent filmmakers of the 1990s and early 2000s have found their way, like Alan Taylor, to one or another blockbuster franchise.
By Christine Schofelt, 6 July 2015
American Odyssey, cancelled after the first season, exhibited some good intentions, but ultimately familiar confusion.
By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2015
Created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, the series follows the ups and downs of six young men who live together in a Silicon Valley “business startup incubator.”
By Joanne Laurier, 3 July 2015
The Wolfpack is a documentary about seven children who were locked away for many years in an apartment in a public housing project in Manhattan.
By Fred Mazelis, 2 July 2015
H. Lawrence Freeman (1869-1954) was active as a composer, conductor and teacher, but his work was rarely performed during his lifetime.
By Richard Phillips, 29 June 2015
Indian director Satyajit Ray’s cinematic masterwork, The Apu Trilogy has been meticulously restored by Janus Films and is currently screening in North American cinemas.
By Sandy English, 25 June 2015
The new collection makes certain telling observations about the experiences of American Marines and others who invaded and occupied Iraq.
By David Walsh, 24 June 2015
The film was made during a run of Taymor’s version of Shakespeare’s play at the Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn in 2013-14.
By Christine Schofelt, 23 June 2015
Though largely formulaic, the film is not without its charms and touches on some interesting questions—albeit lightly.
By Antoine Lerougetel, 20 June 2015
Fifty-one-year-old Thierry, who has lost his job in a factory closure, urgently tries to find work since his unemployment benefit will soon run out.
By Christine Schofelt, 17 June 2015
Riddled with generational stereotypes, While We’re Young pleads the case against intellectual honesty in favor of “personal fulfillment.”
By David Walsh, 13 June 2015
The University of Michigan’s library is the home of the largest assortment of Orson Welles archival papers and documents in the world.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 June 2015
Set in rural England in the 1870s, Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of a free-spirited young woman who attracts three suitors of diverse social and psychological make-up.
By Fred Mazelis, 8 June 2015
The latest show juxtaposes the famous 1941 paintings with photography, writing, music and other work of this period.
By Clare Hurley, 6 June 2015
Wiley copies European Old Masters paintings, substituting African Americans in contemporary garb in the poses of aristocrats and other wealthy figures of power and privilege.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 5 June 2015
May 6 marked 100 years since the birth of Orson Welles, one of the most remarkable figures in American film and theater in the twentieth century. This is the second part of two.
By Zac Corrigan, 3 June 2015
The garish work adorns the north face of the One Campus Martius office building, headquarters of Quicken Loans, the financial company chaired by billionaire Dan Gilbert.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 June 2015
Despite the album’s billing as socially conscious “political rap” by certain critics, the focus of To Pimp ... is largely on the rapper himself and his personal experiences in the music world.
By Christine Schofelt, 30 May 2015
Any attempt at building a thoughtful story has been abandoned in favor of a special effects bonanza, leaving one to ask: Where is this heading?
By Dorota Niemitz, 20 May 2015
Ex Machina is an elegant and thought-provoking science fiction thriller that considers the future of humanity in relation to the rapid developments in computer science technology.
By David Walsh, 19 May 2015
The news that the DIA had been considering earlier this year selling an 1886 still life by Vincent van Gogh produced headlines and generated concern last week.
By J. Cooper, 18 May 2015
Artwork, particularly 20th century and contemporary art, now functions as another commodity for the financial aristocracy to invest and speculate in.
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty
By David Walsh, 15 May 2015
We now know, thanks to Seymour Hersh and his article in the London Review of Books, that, along with everything else, the Bigelow-Boal film was a pack of lies from beginning to end.
By Robert Fowler, 14 May 2015
Written around 1630, the play, set in Parma, Italy, has an incestuous relationship at its center.
And a roundtable interview with writer-director Andrew Niccol and actor Ethan Hawke
By David Walsh, 13 May 2015
New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Niccol has taken on the subject of drone warfare in Good Kill, featuring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, Zoë Kravitz and January Jones.
By Lee Parsons, 8 May 2015
Rapacious art speculators in the 1980s took a particular interest in Basquiat, who was well suited and, sadly, willing to play the part of the latest darling of the art world elite.
By David Walsh, 6 May 2015
Salgado is perhaps best known for his photos of people in impoverished regions and his pictures taken amid various social disasters, especially in Ethiopia and Rwanda.
By David Walsh, 29 April 2015
The film is a fictional rendering of the successful legal efforts, undertaken by Maria Altmann, to regain possession of several Gustav Klimt paintings stolen or coerced from her family.
By Sybille Fuchs, Wolfgang Weber and Peter Schwarz, 25 April 2015
Günter Grass, who died at the age of 87 on April 13, was one of Germany’s most outstanding storytellers and a man who remained true to his political principles throughout his life.
“Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit,” at the Detroit Institute of Arts
By Tim Rivers and David Walsh, 21 April 2015
Along with much fascinating material, the current exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts on the 11 months the famed Mexican artists spent in the city has some very troubling and wrongheaded aspects.
By Peter Schwarz, 14 April 2015
Grass was one of the most important German writers of the 20th century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
By Isaac Finn, 14 April 2015
Josef Švejk is a Czech soldier who makes himself appear a fool to get around his superiors and fights a peculiar and hilarious war of attrition against the difficult circumstances he finds himself in.
By David Walsh, 11 April 2015
Michael Almereyda, who previously directed a version of Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke, has turned to one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, with intelligent results.
By David Walsh, 7 April 2015
Rolling Stone magazine commissioned Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, and two colleagues, to investigate the writing and publication of “A Rape on Campus.”
FICUNAM 2015: Part 5
6 April 2015
WSWS arts editor David Walsh participated in a panel at the FICUNAM film festival on “Politics and Film Criticism,” hosted by film critic Roger Koza and including Cristina Nord, from Die Tageszeitung in Germany.
By Fred Mazelis, 3 April 2015
The Grey Art Gallery show presents the work of dozens of American artists who were radicalized in the period of the Depression, revolutionary struggle, the rise of fascism and the looming threat of world war.
By Sibylle Fuchs and Verena Nees, 31 March 2015
“VKhUTEMAS: A Russian Laboratory of Modernity—Architectural Designs 1920-1930,” at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, December 5, 2014 to April 6, 2015.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 4
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 28 March 2015
One of the genuine contributions of the recent FICUNAM film festival in Mexico City was its presentation of the works of veteran film director Ali Khamraev.
28 March 2015
Filmmaker Ali Khamraev explains the difficulties surrounding the making of his remarkable film I Remember You in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 3
By David Walsh, 25 March 2015
The recent FICUNAM festival in Mexico City screened a number of films which, while not belonging to a single school by any means, provide the opportunity for something of a generalized overview.
By Sybille Fuchs, 23 March 2015
The greed and ignorance of the super-rich and the operations of unprincipled entrepreneurs are threatening public access to many art works.
By Christine Schofelt, 21 March 2015
Neill Blomkamp’s latest release presents an oddly sweet, if rather violent, tale, but something is missing.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 2
By David Walsh, 20 March 2015
There are filmmakers who devote themselves seriously and conscientiously to representing life, not life in the abstract, not “life as a river,” but concrete life, the life of social classes and relationships.
The horrors of war depicted
By Margot Miller, 6 March 2015
The gallery assembled both contemporary and historical art, adding to its already substantial collection of WWI art exhibits.
65th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5
By Bernd Reinhardt, 3 March 2015
One film makes only a partial examination of Hitler’s middle class opponents, while the other makes a more significant look at the opposition from below.
By Andre Damon, 2 March 2015
In its third season, the Netflix program that began as the American Macbeth has turned into a conformist celebration of the political establishment.
By Dorota Niemitz, 2 March 2015
What may be the British director’s final feature is a historical drama based on the life of James Gralton, deported in 1933 from Ireland for his communist activities by the nationalists he supported.
65th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4
By Hiram Lee, 27 February 2015
New films from veteran German director Wim Wenders and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi were screened at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
65th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
By Stefan Steinberg, 25 February 2015
Raoul Peck’s film focuses on a middle class couple whose home in Port-au-Prince has been ruined by the 2011 earthquake. Tudor Giurgiu’s feature looks at all-pervasive corruption in Romania.
By David Walsh, 24 February 2015
Social and political realities found expression on Sunday in a manner that accords with the film world’s peculiarities and contradictions.
Still Alice and Kingsman: The Secret Service—A woman battles disease and a street kid helps save the world …
By Joanne Laurier, 23 February 2015
In Still Alice, a middle class professor and her family struggle with Alzheimer’s, and in the comic book-based Kingsman: The Secret Service, a working class youth is recruited by an elite spy agency.
By David Walsh, 21 February 2015
If recent ceremonies are anything to go by, Sunday’s event will be thoroughly scripted and lacking in spontaneity.
65th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2
By Hiram Lee, 21 February 2015
A newly restored version of Marcel Ophüls’ 1976 documentary Memory of Justice was given a special screening at this year’s Berlinale.