Toronto International Film Festival 2017: Part 1
Trouble in paradise: A comment on the economics and politics of the Toronto International Film Festival
By David Walsh, 22 September 2017
This year’s event screened 255 feature films, a 14 percent decline from a year ago, when the festival presented 296 features, and the lowest number of full-length films in a decade.
By James Brewer, 21 September 2017
Scott D. Rosenbaum’s film documents the lives of three blues musicians whose talents graced the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
By Hiram Lee, 20 September 2017
Twenty-five years after its last episode aired, Twin Peaks, the surreal small-town mystery, has been brought back to life by David Lynch.
By David Walsh, 13 September 2017
The Last Tycoon is an American television series about Hollywood and the film industry in the 1930s. The first and last season of the series, which emanates from Amazon Studios, comprises nine episodes.
By Paul Bond, 11 September 2017
To his credit, Okri recognises the capitalist profit motive in the decisions that led to the Grenfell tragedy.
By Sybille Fuchs, 6 September 2017
Two works of art dealing with the fate of refugees and exiles have become the focus of fierce attacks on this year’s documenta 14 art exhibition in the city of Kassel.
By David Walsh, 31 August 2017
The Last Face, about relief workers in Africa, met with a savage critical response at the Cannes film festival. Meanwhile, the American film industry is deservedly suffering through one of its worst summers in decades.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 August 2017
Two current films, Ingrid Goes West, a cautionary tale about social media, and Wind River, a murder investigation near a Native American reservation, skirt around significant issues.
Interview with rapper El Nino about “Grenfell Tower’s Burning”: “We had to watch that, so why shouldn’t they have to listen to us?”
By Paul Bond, 28 August 2017
Following the World Socialist Web Site’s recent review of the artistic response to the Grenfell Tower fire from local artists, reviewer Paul Bond spoke to El Nino.
By Hiram Lee, 24 August 2017
The latest album by songwriter Randy Newman satirizes Vladimir Putin, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the conflict between science and religion.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 August 2017
The acclaimed science fiction drama imagines a futuristic amusement park populated by ultra-lifelike robots.
By Charles Bogle, 17 August 2017
This collection samples the work of 14 early women directors (1902-1943). International in scope, the anthology brings to light the important contributions that these directors made to the development of film as an art form.
By Alejandro López, 14 August 2017
The glorification of the military is a response to the growing inter-imperialist tensions and the drive to war, which have been intensified by the installation of an aggressively nationalist and protectionist administration in the US.
By David Walsh, 10 August 2017
Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black youth murdered in Mississippi in 1955, came under attack in March when it was shown as part of the Whitney Museum’s Biennial in New York City.
By Richard Phillips, 9 August 2017
Gurrumul’s music, like all honest creative work, transcended language and cultural barriers, making him the highest selling Aboriginal singer-songwriter in Australian history.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 August 2017
Set in the early 1990s, Amnesia is an exploration of German historical memory and the impact of the legacy of Nazism on sections of the middle class after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
By Kevin Martinez, 5 August 2017
In 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton is sent to retrieve a secret list hidden in a wristwatch that has the names of every active agent in the Soviet Union.
By Ben Trent, 4 August 2017
Bennington was best known for his vocal range, and his ability to combine anguish and pain in his singing.
By Margot Miller, 3 August 2017
Despite the shortcomings of Ceremony, there is a genuine and positive significance to the placement of a statue of Engels in Manchester, as well as the popular response.
By Carlos Delgado, 3 August 2017
The popular video game depicts a highly romanticized version of the First World War.
By David Walsh, 2 August 2017
Shepard had an undoubted influence on American culture over the past several decades. Having grown up in southern California, he first came to prominence as an Off-Off-Broadway playwright in New York with a series of one-act works in the mid-1960s.
By Paul Bond, 2 August 2017
The revival of the fortunes of traditional Cajun music owes much to Menard’s love of country music, and his warmly nasal voice.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2017
Bigelow’s film is a fictionalized account of an incident that occurred during the July 1967 rebellion in Detroit, the cold-blooded murder of three young black men by police at the Algiers Motel.
By Clare Hurley, 27 July 2017
The subject of Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary is journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, perhaps best known for her crusades against several large-scale infrastructure projects in New York City in the 1960s.
By David Walsh, 26 July 2017
British director Nolan’s new film is about the famed evacuation of large numbers of British and French troops from northern France in May-June 1940.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 July 2017
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s 4:44, released June 30 on his Roc Nation label and available through Carter’s streaming service Tidal, is the rapper and entrepreneur’s thirteenth studio album.
Including a conversation with film historian Tony Williams
By David Walsh, 21 July 2017
The American director of numerous horror and other films, including Night of the Living Dead, died July 16 in Toronto.
By Bryan Dyne, 20 July 2017
The 10-episode season depicts the life of one of the most renowned scientists in world history without paying much attention to the science he developed.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 July 2017
Lady Macbeth is an adaptation of the well-known novella by Russian writer Nikolai Leskov, transposed to northeast England. Mali Blues offers a glimpse of that country’s remarkable musical scene.
More than 100 works by the American artist
By Lee Parsons, 15 July 2017
The show, presenting O’Keeffe’s varied styles and subjects in drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture, spans her lengthy art career and demonstrates her versatility.
Netflix series on Elizabeth II
By David Walsh, 13 July 2017
The Crown is a biographical drama series, created and written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Damned United), about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season covers the years 1947 to 1955.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2017
Directed by Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids) and featuring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, the new film promotes a New Age-type opposition to a Trump-like figure.
The Carter Family, Mississippi John Hurt, Lydia Mendoza, Joseph Kekuku and more …
By Matthew Brennan, 11 July 2017
All three episodes—The Big Bang, Blood and Soil and Out Of The Many The One—contain important recollections and at times powerful archival footage.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 July 2017
Along the way, the film demonstrates once again how contemporary gender and racial politics tyrannizes over much of current cultural life.
By Ed Hightower, 1 July 2017
The prequel to AMC’s hit Breaking Bad has an identity crisis, and in Season Three resolves this by largely becoming another cop drama.
The “forces in power” are sensitive “to art and ideas”
By David Walsh, 29 June 2017
Hurwitz is one of the most honored documentary cinematographers in the US. His many credits include work on Harlan County, USA (1976), Wild Man Blues (1997), Dancemaker (1998), The Turandot Project (2000) and The Queen of Versailles (2012).
By David Walsh, 27 June 2017
Between 1957 and 1965 or so, American photographer Eugene Smith took some 40,000 photos and recorded nearly 4,000 hours of audio tape, many dedicated to jazz and jazz musicians, in a New York City loft.
“All these people worked all night, every night, crazily, obsessively”
By David Walsh, 27 June 2017
Sara Fishko is an executive producer and host at WNYC, a public radio station in New York. Her film sheds fascinating light on artistic life in the 1950s and 1960s.
Netflix drama strikes a nerve …
By David Walsh, 21 June 2017
Whitney Kassel, late of the Defense Department, Special Operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a former member of McChrystal’s “team,” has written a denunciation of War Machine in Foreign Policy magazine.
By Hiram Lee, 20 June 2017
The newest season of the Netflix drama House of Cards sees the corrupt administration of President Frank Underwood struggling to retain power while battling rival factions within the state.
By David Walsh, 17 June 2017
Roger Michell’s film, based on the 1951 novel by Daphne du Maurier set in the 19th century, follows a callow young man who falls for his sophisticated, perhaps calculating older “cousin.”
Theater professionals address the Flint water disaster
By Joanne Laurier, 15 June 2017
A version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (1882) was performed last week in the devastated city of Flint, Michigan, as a commentary on the city’s water crisis.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 June 2017
Several members of the cast of a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (1882), performed last week in Flint, Michigan, spoke to the WSWS.
By Sam Price and Tom Peters, 14 June 2017
Gill objected to the WSWS review of her book and claimed that she was an “anti-war person.”
By Fred Mazelis, 14 June 2017
Allusions to Donald Trump in the current production of Shakespeare’s play have been followed by a right-wing campaign of intimidation.
By David Walsh, 13 June 2017
The story involves an Amazonian princess/demigoddess who makes her way, in the company of an American Allied spy, from her island paradise to Europe toward the end of the First World War.
By Alan Gilman, 12 June 2017
Samantha Geimer, the victim of Roman Polanski’s 1977 sex offense, urged a Los Angles court Friday to end her and Polanski’s 40 years of torment by dismissing the director’s case.
Three intriguing new films that should not disappear unnoticed: Sami Blood, Past Life and Radio Dreams
By David Walsh, 10 June 2017
Most of the films in movie theaters in the US at the moment are poor, or worse. As a result, the public is increasingly turning away. But there are exceptions.
Roger Waters’ Is This the Life We Really Want?: An angry, depressed protest against war and nationalism
By Kevin Reed, 9 June 2017
In 12 tracks and 55 minutes, Waters paints a picture of a desperate world and he issues an angry protest—if also a disheartened outburst—against the things that make it so.
By Norisa Diaz, 5 June 2017
The New York-based band has been banished from the music industry following social media allegations of sexual assault, undermining the long-standing legal principle that the accused is presumed “innocent until proven guilty.”
By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 3 June 2017
Prasanna Vithanage’s documentary deals with the sexual assault of two village women by a magistrate and the subsequent cover-up.
By James Brewer, 3 June 2017
The Public Broadcasting Service presented an engaging and informative documentary on the science behind the Flint water crisis.
By David Walsh, 1 June 2017
The HBO film is an account of the downfall of Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff, whose multi-billion-dollar stock and securities fraud unraveled in December 2008.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2017
The film admirably revives a venerable tradition of anti-military and anti-war drama and comedy in the US.
Conversations with Joseph Goebbels’s secretary
By Bernd Reinhardt and Verena Nees, 27 May 2017
The Austrian-made documentary centres on Brunhilde Pomsel (1911-2017), who worked as a secretary in the office of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels from 1942 to 1945.
By Clare Hurley, 25 May 2017
The stated goal of the Biennial in New York City is to capture the zeitgeist—”spirit of the times”—through a selection of what is considered representative contemporary artwork.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 May 2017
The first season of the new Netflix 10-part series, Dear White People, an expansion of Justin Simien’s 2014 movie, concerns a group of black students at a fictional, predominantly white, Ivy League college.
The cases of Aaron Gach, Mem Fox, United Vibrations, Soviet Soviet and others
By Marko Leone and David Walsh, 23 May 2017
The various agencies responsible for immigration issues and border control have clearly been given the green light by the Trump administration to intimidate and generally terrorize anyone they can get their hands on.
By Adam Soroka, 22 May 2017
Cornell (born July 20, 1964 in Seattle, Washington) will be best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Seattle metal band Soundgarden. His vocals combined an R&B sensibility with a dynamic, multi-octave range.
By Marko Leone and Kevin Martinez, 20 May 2017
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has called for a 15 percent cut in the city’s budget for theaters, museums, playhouses and other cultural sites.
By Carlos Delgado, 20 May 2017
The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member who ascends to the presidency after a devastating attack on the US government.
By David Walsh, 19 May 2017
Poitras’ film about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the four lawyers contend, undermines the credibility of the organization at a critical moment and exposes the documentary’s subjects “to considerable legal jeopardy.”
The Return of History, Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the 21st Century
By Roger Jordan, 18 May 2017
Based on human rights propaganda and a dishonest presentation of the virtues of international law, author Jennifer Welsh argues that the West has to act more aggressively to defend democratic values against terrorism and a resurgent Russia.
By Matthew Brennan, 18 May 2017
The album is June’s first proper release since the 2013 album Pushing Against a Stone, which made her a nationally known artist in the US.
Production at Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company
By Nick Barrickman, 16 May 2017
The production is visually compelling and makes an attempt to place the Shakespeare classic within the context of modern political and social developments.
By Jean Shaoul, 15 May 2017
The Tate’s workforce earns on average £24,000, significantly less than the national median of £27,600, which means poverty wages in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
By Ed Hightower, 15 May 2017
The few elements that might have been the show’s saving grace vanish in this final season as Girls dives hard into the morass of identity politics and “personal responsibility.”
Citizens Band, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia …
By David Walsh, 13 May 2017
American filmmaker Jonathan Demme died April 26 in New York City from complications stemming from esophageal cancer and heart disease. He was 73.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 11 May 2017
The film broaches a dozen subjects and avoids treating any of them in depth, and often fails to take a clear position of any kind.
By Genevieve Leigh, 10 May 2017
The new Netflix series treats the background to the decision by Hannah Baker, a high school student in a more or less average American suburb, to kill herself…and its consequences.
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 4
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 6 May 2017
A highlight of the recent San Francisco film festival was the screening of Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov’s masterpiece, The Man with a Movie Camera (1929), at the historic Castro Theatre.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 May 2017
Sonia Kennebeck’s disturbing documentary, National Bird, can be viewed until May 16 on PBS’s “Independent Lens” web site.
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 3
By Joanne Laurier, 4 May 2017
Honest films about the character and impact of the brutal neo-colonial wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are extremely hard to come by.
By Vladimir Volkov, 3 May 2017
Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the best-known Soviet poet from the 1960s to the 1980s, died at 85 from cancer on April 1, 2017, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art considers mandatory admission charge for out-of-state visitors
By Fred Mazelis, 1 May 2017
In a city that is home to 79 billionaires, the resources exist many times over for free museum admission for all.
By Gary Alvernia, 28 April 2017
The radicalization of Mexican artists led to the creation of powerful and engaging works that expressed the faith of the artistic community in the revolution of the masses.
Lecture at San Diego State University
By David Walsh, 27 April 2017
This is an edited version of a talk given at San Diego State University on April 18 by WSWS arts editor David Walsh. Audio of the talk is included.
By David Walsh, 26 April 2017
The 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival screened some 180 films from 50 countries or so. This is the first of several articles.
By Fred Mazelis, 18 April 2017
One of the early films of major Taiwanese director Edward Yang was recently screened in the US for the first time.
By Emanuele Saccarelli, 12 April 2017
Pablo Larraín’s Neruda is a highly unconventional and dissatisfying biopic of the Chilean poet.
Public meeting April 18 in San Diego, California
11 April 2017
WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh will speak at San Diego State University on the retrograde trends that evaluate art based on concepts like “white privilege” and “cultural appropriation.”
San Diego Latino Film Festival—Part 2
By Kevin Martinez and Toby Reese, 6 April 2017
Films from Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic were shown at the festival, including a tense political drama, a dialogue-free drama and two documentaries.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 April 2017
The Zookeeper’s Wife recounts the true story of the rescue of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi invasion of Poland that began in 1939.
San Diego Latino Film Festival—Part 1
By Kevin Martinez and Toby Reese, 3 April 2017
The festival screened films from Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Venezuela, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Peru, Honduras, Brazil, the US and other countries.
By Kevin Martinez and Toby Reese, 3 April 2017
The WSWS conducted an interview with Mexican film director Jose Ramon Pedroza.
Once again on Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till: The New York Times intervenes to preserve identity politics
By David Walsh, 31 March 2017
The media establishment clearly senses that in the case of the Schutz painting in the Whitney Biennial, the identity politics zealots may have overstepped the bounds.
Lyrical and left-wing film
By Joanne Laurier, 29 March 2017
A viewing of Nicholas Ray’s iconic 1948 film They Live by Night is a refreshing antidote to the current trivia, social indifference and identity politics.
By Hiram Lee, 28 March 2017
With Get Out, Jordan Peele has said he wanted to make a film to “combat the lie that America had become post-racial.” The monster at the heart of this horror film is racism itself.
By David Walsh, 24 March 2017
The current campaign being waged against Open Casket, white artist Dana Schutz’s painting of murdered black youth Emmett Till, on racialist grounds is thoroughly reactionary.
Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin museums in Philadelphia closed by Trump administration hiring freeze
By Douglas Lyons, 23 March 2017
The Trump administration’s hiring freeze and threatened budget cuts prompted the National Park Service to close the historic attractions.
By Hiram Lee, 23 March 2017
It would be difficult to overstate Berry’s influence on American popular music in the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps more than any other artist in the genre, he defined the sound of rock ’n’ roll.
By Clara Weiss, 21 March 2017
American novelist John Steinbeck, together with famed Hungarian-born war photographer Robert Capa, visited the Soviet Union in 1947 on the very eve of the Cold War.
By Jason Melanovski, 18 March 2017
Russophobia and historical misrepresentation abound in George Mendeluk’s pseudo-historical drama.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 17 March 2017
British filmmaker Margy Kinmonth is out of her depth in her documentary about Russian avant-garde art.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 March 2017
A new documentary shows the impact of decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank on the Zionist state.
67th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
By Bernd Reinhardt, 9 March 2017
The dramatic social and political developments of the past several years were evidently not high on the German filmmakers’ agenda.
By Clara Weiss, 6 March 2017
In a profoundly moving, intimate and disturbing way, Joshua Oppenheimer’s film deals with the long-lasting and devastating impact of the mass murder of up to one million Communists and suspected Communists.
67th Berlin International Film Festival--Part 2
By Bernd Reinhardt, 4 March 2017
The debut film of Étienne Comar focuses on the year 1943, when the Nazis tried unsuccessfully to convince Django Reinhardt to undertake a tour of fascist Germany.
A contribution on art and identity politics
By Steven Brust, 3 March 2017
The comment by fantasy and science fiction writer Steven Brust is a response to the effort to restrict art and literature according to the dictates of racial and gender politics.
By David Walsh, 28 February 2017
The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, held Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, was an even more complex and peculiar affair than usual.