Arts and Culture
By Clare Hurley, 7 July 2020
Kossoff’s death a year ago received such scant notice that one could be excused for not knowing that the artist was considered, by many familiar with his work, one of the great painters of the second half of the 20th century.
By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020
Canadian-born singer-songwriter Neil Young has released Homegrown, 45 years after it was recorded, an album of twelve songs that brings us back to his music of the early 1970s.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 July 2020
The French Netflix miniseries concerns the plight of a middle-aged, middle class man who seeks to redress his long-term unemployment through extreme measures.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 July 2020
The latest season is the final one in the series about the lives and difficult circumstances of a group of teenagers at fictional Liberty High School.
By Ed Hightower, 30 June 2020
The Kominsky Method on Netflix looks at aging through the experiences of a pair of long-time friends: Sandy Kominsky, a once well-known actor and current acting coach, and his agent Norman Newlander.
By Thomas Scripps, 27 June 2020
The BBC’s three-part The Salisbury Poisonings uses drama as state propaganda and is designed to reignite the Skripal affair that dominated UK politics in 2018.
By Paul Bond, 27 June 2020
It is difficult not to see his subsequent representation of a character’s inner life as being drawn from his family background.
Institution accused of “white supremacy and culture of systemic racism”
By David Walsh, 26 June 2020
The attack launched against Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Keith Christiansen for his remarks concerning the danger of valuable art works being destroyed in the course of upheavals is without any merit whatsoever.
By Verena Nees, 25 June 2020
On closer inspection, the German government’s aid package proves to be a sham and a step towards neutering and strangling a diverse cultural landscape.
Antigone from Canada recounts the struggle of an immigrant youth to defend her brother against state violence
By Laurent Lafrance, 24 June 2020
Unlike insipid mainstream Canadian cinema, Antigone deals honestly with critical issues such as the oppression of immigrants, police violence, a mounting youth revolt and, to some extent, social inequality.
The Strokes’ The New Abnormal and Hamilton Leithauser’s The Loves Of Your Life: Two decades on from the rise of “indie rock”
By Matthew Brennan, 23 June 2020
Two of the more notable bands to emerge from the early 2000s “indie rock” music scene, which was centered in New York City, have recently produced new albums.
“It’s bigger than black and white, it’s a problem with the whole way of life”
By Elliott Murtagh and J. L’Heureau, 22 June 2020
Atlanta rapper Lil Baby has released a new song about the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality.
By Louis Girard, 20 June 2020
Yielding to the anti-democratic #MeToo campaign, distributors in Quebec refused to buy the rights to Polanski’s remarkable film about the Dreyfus Affair.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 19 June 2020
Directed by John Frankenheimer and featuring Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Fredric March, the film envisions an attempt to overthrow constitutional rule in the US. Where do we stand 56 years later?
By Margot Miller, 17 June 2020
Vicious measures were introduced in the aftermath of the 2008 banking crash and subsequent bailout to try and divide the working class by scapegoating ethnic minorities and migrants for the austerity that followed.
By Kevin Reed, 16 June 2020
The Netflix series paints a picture of the life and times of the late billionaire hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender in the style of a true-crime documentary.
By Fred Mazelis, 15 June 2020
The New York Philharmonic and other orchestras are canceling performances for the rest of this year.
By Jason Quill and Richard Phillips, 13 June 2020
Justin Kurzel’s film is the 16th about the late 19th century Australian bushranger and anti-establishment outlaw.
By Shannon Jones, 11 June 2020
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural speech is considered, along with the Gettysburg Address, one of the most important in US history.
By Kevin Martinez, 8 June 2020
Although no doubt well-intentioned and containing realistic elements, the film, unfortunately, follows a rather predictable path.
By Erik Schreiber, 6 June 2020
The latest film from the Safdie brothers has much momentum, but little insight into its grasping protagonist or his tawdry world.
By David Walsh, 5 June 2020
The eight-part series focuses on an expatriate American musician-composer and his attempts to keep his nightspot open and confront some of the problems in his personal life.
Letting the cat out of the bag about American television police shows
By David Walsh, 4 June 2020
Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise, was obliged this week to fire a writer on an upcoming series after the latter posed with a weapon and threatened to kill “looters” in Los Angeles.
By Fred Mazelis, 3 June 2020
Esty Shapiro, a 19-year-old unhappily married woman in Brooklyn, leaves her Jewish ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, traveling to Berlin to find her mother and begin a new life.
The “experience of the pandemic has made me more aware that it comes down to capitalism”
Impact of COVID-19 and George Floyd killing on artistic life: An interview with a young artist-actor in Brooklyn, New York
By Clare Hurley, 2 June 2020
Artist and actor Bamoozie (his artist moniker) spoke with the WSWS about the impact of the pandemic on his economic situation, artistic work and political perspective, as well as his thoughts on the police murder of George Floyd.
By Tom Mackaman, 1 June 2020
Grant was motivated, in the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction that followed, by his belief in the democratic ideal of human equality proclaimed by the American Revolution.
By Matthew Brennan, 1 June 2020
Few musicians were involved in as many stages of development in jazz, or popular music generally, after World War II as Miles Davis (1926-1991).
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2020
The British television miniseries, The Accident, tells the story of a decayed former mining and steel town in Wales, in which a factory under construction collapses, resulting in a horrendous tragedy.
By Erik Schreiber, 29 May 2020
An often-touching documentary recounts how Cash’s first wife coped with unwanted media attention, her husband’s increasing emotional distance and racist threats.
By James McDonald, 28 May 2020
The Overstory is a novel about trees and our relationship with them, revealing through narrative, argument and richly informative detail just how dependent humans are upon arboreal nature.
“Lost our connection after the war”
By James Brewer, 25 May 2020
Robbie Robertson: “The story of the Band is beautiful. It was so beautiful it went up in flames.”
By Elliott Murtagh and J. L’Heureau, 23 May 2020
The 18-year-old pop star’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was the most popular album on the planet in 2019.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 May 2020
World on Fire, a seven-episode series, is set at the beginning of World War II and follows characters from five countries. Colored by anti-war and anti-fascist views, it takes place in France, Britain, Germany and Poland.
By David Walsh, 21 May 2020
Much of Lost Girls is taken up by Mari Gilbert’s painful, persistent struggle for some police or official action in regard to her daughter’s fate.
By Paul Bond, 19 May 2020
The cultural background of a disoriented avant-garde in the aftermath of World War II and the division of Germany helped shape the music of Schneider and his peers.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2020
Based on the 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere, an eight-episode Hulu miniseries, focuses on several families and individuals in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, who come into conflict.
By David Walsh, 16 May 2020
Disgracefully, A Rainy Day in New York has been suppressed in the US. The film was completed in 2018, but Amazon Studios refused to distribute it.
By Erik Schreiber, 15 May 2020
The new album, which resonates during our time of quarantine, reflects the singer’s personal growth, as well as the regressive influences of her Hollywood-celebrity environment.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 14 May 2020
A new staging of Beethoven’s Fidelio is a highlight in these times of lockdown and quarantine.
By Paul Bond, 13 May 2020
His long-time collaborator Fela Kuti once declared “without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.”
By Hiram Lee, 12 May 2020
Little Richard played a significant role in shaping rock ’n’ roll in the 1950s and left an indelible influence on the world of music and pop culture in the decades that followed.
By David Walsh, 9 May 2020
Tony Johnson (Gervais) is devastated by the death of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer. He finds it difficult to carry on with life and frequently contemplates suicide.
By Fred Mazelis, 8 May 2020
The Apple family in Rhinebeck, New York, tries to carry on, as the world faces disaster and social upheaval.
By David Walsh, 5 May 2020
The present crisis is devastating the lives of many artists, threatening to drive smaller galleries and related enterprises out of business and resulting in an even greater divide between haves and have-nots.
By Clare Hurley, 2 May 2020
Lange’s turn to documentary photography was spurred by the Great Depression as she sought to address economic inequality and social injustice through activism and the lens of her camera.
By Joanne Laurier, 1 May 2020
The crimes of the Nazis, the greatest ever committed against humanity, generated some of the noblest and most self-sacrificing actions in the struggle against their barbarism.
By Sybille Fuchs, 30 April 2020
The virtual exhibition is in many respects highly relevant in the present situation.
By Paul Bond, 30 April 2020
Huge global audience figures show a support for the keyworkers at the frontline that is not answered by any corresponding practical measures from the ruling class.
By Ed Hightower and Kathleen Martin, 28 April 2020
Tiger King centers on the feud between Joe Exotic—a flamboyant zoo owner in rural Oklahoma—and the animal rights activist who aims to shut down the cub petting industry in the US, Carole Baskin.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 April 2020
The production of and interest in the nine-part documentary are part of the growing opposition in the US both to the death penalty and to mass incarceration.
By Shuvu Batta, 25 April 2020
Despite the hostile and concerted campaign in the media, Louis C.K. returns to the public eye with his new comedy special.
By David Walsh, 23 April 2020
The sixth and final part of HBO’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 novel aired April 20. The series imagines an alternate history in which right-winger Charles Lindbergh wins the 1940 US presidential election.
By John Andrews, 20 April 2020
COVID-19 has claimed the life of Lee Konitz, one of the foremost improvisers of post-war jazz.
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