By Sandy English, 17 March 2016
Franzen’s highly praised fifth novel is a largely––and carelessly––misanthropic, right-wing work that fails to create complex or plausible characters.
By Hiram Lee, 15 March 2016
Legendary music producer George Martin, who supervised almost all of the Beatles’ recordings, died on March 8.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4:
By Bernd Reinhardt, 14 March 2016
A new adaptation of the immortal Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, about Nazi persecution, and a film about Palestinian refugees in contemporary Germany.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 March 2016
Spanish filmmaker Fernando León de Aranoa’s movie A Perfect Day deals with international humanitarian aid workers in the Balkans near the end of the war in the mid-1990s.
By Alan Gilman and David Walsh, 10 March 2016
Stephen Hopkins’ film centers on critical events in the life of African-American track and field legend Jesse Owens.
By Charles Bogle, 8 March 2016
The FX series examines the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in June 1994, for which former football star O. J. Simpson was charged.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3:
By Bernd Reinhardt, 7 March 2016
Vincent Pérez’s film is a new adaptation of Hans Fallada’s novel Every Man Dies Alone (published posthumously in 1947).
By Joanne Laurier, 5 March 2016
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a semi-comic treatment of the tragic Afghan conflict; A War from Denmark is ostensibly a more serious effort. Desierto takes up the war against Mexican immigrants.
By Fred Mazelis, 1 March 2016
The Oscar awards ceremony Sunday night included some welcome notes and surprises, and generally, despite the disorienting campaign waged under the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, revealed a more humane side of Hollywood.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2:
By Verena Nees and Bernd Reinhardt, 27 February 2016
This is the second in a series of articles on the recent Berlin international film festival, the Berlinale, held February 11-20, 2016.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1:
By Stefan Steinberg, 22 February 2016
The main prize of the festival went to Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi, dealing with the fate of refugees attempting to enter Europe.
By Robert Fowler, 19 February 2016
The playwright raises some important issues and then proceeds to skirt them, leaving the audience with little more than a banal liberalism.
By Adam Mclean, 16 February 2016
Students at the Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles tackle the deadliest industrial disaster in US history in an honest and compelling work.
By David Walsh, 13 February 2016
Veteran independent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart is opening in theaters in the US this week.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2016
Tolstoy’s titanic novel has received a new adaptation by the BBC and is now airing in numerous countries.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 February 2016
Hail Caesar!, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a comedy about Hollywood set in the early 1950s.
At the Jewish Museum in New York City
By C.W. Rogers, 6 February 2016
The exhibition examines some of the remarkable photography, magazines, film posters and innovative films produced in the years that followed the October Revolution of 1917.
By David Walsh, 5 February 2016
In Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, a childless, middle class couple living in a provincial English town, are on the eve of their 45th wedding anniversary.
Flint pre-screening of the documentary MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic
By Tim Rivers, 4 February 2016
Following a preview screening of the film MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic, which documents the epidemic spread of lead across America, a panel of parents was joined by the director of the film and a state expert for lead risk assessment.
By Andras Gyorgy, 3 February 2016
Louis Zukofsky (1904–78), largely unknown today except in academic circles, was a remarkable American poet. In the late 1920s and 1930s, a supporter of the Communist Party, he wrote complex, modernist works.
By David Walsh, 30 January 2016
It is no exaggeration to point out that, in ideological terms, Cara Buckley in the New York Times and others, in their obsession with race, are spouting a conception of society and art identified historically with the extreme right.
By Kevin Martinez, 30 January 2016
Hollywood’s latest propaganda piece tells the story of the 2012 attack on a US base in Libya from a right-wing perspective, with predictable results.
By Joanne Laurier, 29 January 2016
The documentary brings together opponents of the CIA drone program and includes interviews with two former US Air Force drone pilots.
By Dorota Niemitz, 28 January 2016
The debut film of Hungarian director László Nemes depicts the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the prisoner uprising of October 1944.
By Lee Parsons, 26 January 2016
Given the current upsurge of interest in representational imagery, the exhibition of the late work of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is of particular interest.
Charlie Kaufman’s often charming, moving Anomalisa (and Michael Moore’s feeble Where to Invade Next)
By Joanne Laurier, 23 January 2016
Anomalisa is an adult animated film created with stop-motion puppetry centering around an angst-ridden, self-help author. Where to Invade Next is a non-comment on Washington’s never-ending wars.
By Jeff Lusanne, 22 January 2016
An album fusing Western jazz traditions and traditional Arab music preserves an endangered Iraqi art form and creates a new sound.
By David Walsh, 21 January 2016
Director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith, both African-American, have indicated they will shun this year’s award ceremony on February 28.
By David Walsh, 20 January 2016
The essay by David Walsh we are posting today considers whether or not an artistic vanguard exists today—and, if not, what such a vanguard would consist of and what questions it would have to confront.
By Zac Corrigan, 20 January 2016
30 Americans is a collection of artwork created under the influence of racialist and gender politics, and it provides an opportunity to assess the aesthetic contribution of this outlook.
By Richard Phillips, 19 January 2016
The 72-minute film provides a general outline of neo-realist cinema, but it is a seriously limited one.
By Clare Hurley, 18 January 2016
MoMA has given Picasso’s sculpture blockbuster treatment, including more than 140 pieces. The handful of sculptures that are a discovery tend to get lost in the crowd.
By Joanne Laurier, 16 January 2016
The Revenant is a sensationalized account of the life of American fur trapper Hugh Glass, who famously survived a mauling by a bear. Youth is a banal meditation on aging.
By David Walsh, 15 January 2016
The Academy Award nominations revealed the usual muddle-headedness, liberal good intentions and severe limitations of the social grouping that decides these things.
By Alan Gilman, 14 January 2016
Despite its limitations, Concussion serves to bring before a mass audience the grave risks inherent in playing America’s most popular sport.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 January 2016
The two films address significant subjects that could potentially shed light on society and its moral and psychological condition.
By Alex Lantier, 7 January 2016
As a conductor who worked and recorded extensively with leading orchestras and opera companies, Boulez elicited powerful, precise, unpretentious and always tasteful performances, though they sometimes had a touch of coldness.
By Hiram Lee, 7 January 2016
Tarantino’s latest is a deeply unpleasant work, another in a long line of the director’s blood-soaked revenge fantasies.
By Charles Bogle, 6 January 2016
The box set contains five pre-Code movies: Ladies of Leisure (1930), Rain Or Shine (1930), The Miracle Woman (1931), Forbidden (1932) and The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933).
The failure of David O. Russell’s Joy, or, what any “sensible” person should know about modern society
By David Walsh, 5 January 2016
Russell’s film is loosely inspired by the life story of millionaire inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who created a self-wringing mop and other products.
By Fred Mazelis, 4 January 2016
Alban Berg found ways to express drama and emotional power within the atonal framework pioneered by his teacher Arnold Schoenberg.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015
Adam McKay’s new film The Big Short is a hard-hitting comedy-drama about the 2008 financial meltdown.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015
The most interesting films we saw in 2015, both those that played in a movie theater in the US and those not yet distributed.
30 December 2015
World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite recordings of 2015.
By Mark Witkowski and Fred Mazelis, 29 December 2015
If nothing else, Wiseman’s new documentary is a reminder of the fact that, even in this wealthiest city in the world, the working class makes up the vast majority of the population.
David King on the famed German photomontage artist
By Jeff Lusanne, 28 December 2015
Laughter is a Devastating Weapon presents 50 full-page images of John Heartfield’s work, revealing the power, impact and problems of the brilliant German artist’s satirical photomontages.
An interview with performer, educator and archivist of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein
By Barry Grey, 23 December 2015
“I feel that this body of work is timeless, because it has a level of craft, inspiration and quality that transcends the era in which it was created.”
By Matthew MacEgan and David Walsh, 22 December 2015
The new Star Wars offering serves as the first part of a “sequel” trilogy that tells the story of the next generation by reusing many of the same ideas and visuals.
“Bloody instructions ... return to plague the instructor”
By George Marlowe and David Walsh, 19 December 2015
A new version of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard emphasizes the bloody, barbaric times.
Canada’s role in Afghanistan
By Lee Parsons, 18 December 2015
Paul Gross’s film follows the construction of a tactically important road being built in the heart of Taliban territory by Canadian forces in southern Afghanistan.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 December 2015
Legend is a British crime drama about the Kray twins, London’s most notorious gangsters in the 1960s; Room concerns a mother and her five-year-old son held prisoner in a shed for seven years.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 December 2015
The satirical film, based on the novel of the same title by Timur Vermes, has been seen by over two million people, making it one of the most watched in Germany this year.
By Kevin Martinez, 15 December 2015
The documentary is a disturbing look at TASER International, the company that has cornered the market for police electro-shock weapons.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 December 2015
Brooklyn focuses on a young Irish girl who emigrates to America in the early 1950s and struggles with homesickness and adjusting to an alien environment.
By Tom Peters, 9 December 2015
Dawe’s novel has been attacked in the media and by fundamentalist Christians because of its realistic depiction of New Zealand society, from the point of view of a working-class Maori teenager.
By Lee Parsons, 7 December 2015
Roy’s film chronicles the struggle of autoworkers at the assembly plant operated by Maruti Suzuki India, in Manesar, northern India.
“Everybody loves this music around the world”
By Joanne Laurier, 5 December 2015
The WSWS recently spoke with Denny Tedesco, son of legendary guitarist Tommy Tedesco and director of The Wrecking Crew, a documentary about the 1960s’ musical scene in Los Angeles.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 December 2015
Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is a taut, quasi-political thriller that chronicles the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposure of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston area.
By Hiram Lee, 2 December 2015
The new film from Mexican-born director Patricia Riggen tells the story of the 2010 mine disaster in Chile, in which 33 miners were trapped underground for more than two months.
By Fred Mazelis, 30 November 2015
Jay Roach’s film about the anti-communist Hollywood witch-hunt, though politically limited and marred by the conventions of the biopic genre, deserves to be widely seen.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 November 2015
British filmmaker Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette is a fictionalized account of the women’s voting rights movement in Britain in the pre-World War I period.
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.