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Film

Creative Disruption in 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

Portrait of a Lady on Fire yearns to burn tyrannical gendered tradition to ash and remake it into something collaborative and egalitarian.

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Weng Pixin's 'Sweet Time' Elevates the Art in Comics Art

Weng Pixin is an artist who happens to be working in the comics form.

Books

Jaki Shelton Green Blends Poetry and Protest on Timely 'The River Speaks of Thirst'

Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green's The River Speaks of Thirst is at once a political statement, cultural commentary, and an aesthetic milestone, a skillful commingling of galvanic activism and evocative poetry.

Books

Looking for the Next Best Version of America? Abrams Wrote the Book on How to Achieve It

"Try this at home": With her latest work, Our Time Is Now, Plotter-in-Chief Stacey Abrams offers a timely playbook for how to ensure free and fair elections in America.

Books

Music and Mind-Bending in David Mitchell's 'Utopia Avenue'

Woven into Utopia Avenue David Mitchell stitches a subtle critique of the impacts of the pot-heavy, lysergic-immersed, and heady music's ambitions on pop culture, moral choices, and even tripping itself.

Books

'Lie With Me': Beauty, Love and Toxic Masculinity in the Gay '80s

How do we write about repression and toxic masculinity without valorizing it? Philippe Besson's Lie With Me is equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning.

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Books

Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.

Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Books

'Spring Rain' Is a Superb Graphic Memoir of the Vagaries of Mind and Memory

Andy Warner's style of narrative in Spring Rain is evocative of those visual puzzles that require the viewer to look beyond the image in front of them, letting their eyes relax into an indirect gaze, in order for the hidden picture to reveal itself.

Film

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Gorgeously Conveys Our Need for Poise and Elegance

The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.

Film

Stepping into the Phantasmagoric Otherwise with Karel Zeman

While all films project a world that might be, certain films and certain filmmakers, like Karel Zeman, come closer than others in bringing to the surface the underlying phantasmagoric essence of cinema.

Reviews

Remember to Come up for Air When You Read 'They Say Sarah'

Debut They Say Sarah is a vivid impressionistic novel that churns the entire emotional spectrum.

Books

Mieko Kawakami's 'Breasts and Eggs' Is a Feminist Masterpiece

Fearless in its demand for accountability, transcendent in its honesty, Mieko Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs breathes life into feminist literature and throws down a gauntlet for other writers to aspire toward.

Film

Pudovkin Makes the Revolution Human: The Bolshevik Trilogy

Inspired by D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, Vsevolod Pudovkin would leave his chemistry studies for cinema. His films Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and Storm over Asia are presented in The Bolshevik Trilogy.

Film

'Camille Claudel' Features an Electrifying Performance by Isabelle Adjani

Through a brazen performance, one to obliterate all performances that came before, Isabelle Adjani gives her Claudel a true body in which to house all her drive and desire in Bruno Nuytten's Camille Claudel.

Books

Comedy, Pathos, and Bibliophilia Merge in Jean Giono's Wartime Journal

In addition to its literary significance, Jean Giono's newly translated Occupation Journal is also an important reminder of the value of pacifism in a world where over-eager partisanship is once more merging with the enthusiastic violence of political dogma.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Big Black' Is a Stunning Depiction of the Attica Prison Uprising

Fifty years ago Attica prisoners rose up for justice -- and were slaughtered. Graphic novel Big Black: Stand at Attica is a powerful story from a survivor's point of view.

Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Books

When You Discover Your Father Had an Affair with Frida Kahlo...

The story of one of Frida Kahlo's short affairs, captured in Marc Petitjean's excellent book, The Heart, offers an inspired glimpse into the surreal Parisian art scene of 1939.

Books

Finding Harmony Amidst Discord: 'The Mountains Sing'

A Vietnamese family's song resounds over the effects of decades of tumult in Nguyen Phan Que Mai's excellent novel, The Mountains Sing.

Books

Queer Love and Art in the Time of Nazis: 'Never Anyone But You'

Never Anyone But You is an inspiring tale of surrealists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, who defied homophobia, Nazis, and gender norms while pushing the boundaries of art and love.

Film

A Fix of Fantasy: Reviving the Wondrous Films of Karel Zeman

The imaginative filmmaker Karel Zeman influenced many artists including Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, fellow Czech Jan Švankmajer, the Brothers Quay, and animator Lawrence Jordan's recycling of classic 19th Century imagery.

Books

'Miss Iceland' Is a Brilliant Novel of Sexism, Homophobia, and the Writing Life

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir's Miss Iceland Is at once a poetic, light-hearted narrative and a sharply edged social critique that is caustic and righteous in its portrayal of the enduring nature of sexism, misogyny and homophobia.

Books

'Serenade for Nadia' Is a Beautifully Wrought Tale of Political Crimes Past and Present

Serenade for Nadia's complex plot allows Turkish author Zülfü Livaneli to sermonize on topics as varied as anti-Semitism, secularism and modernity, the role of faith in the modern world, diversity and multiculturalism, media and journalism, and more.

Books

Television and Women's History through the Lens of Soap Operas

Media critic Elana Levine's Her Stories explores television history and the conflicts of generation, gender, and race in the heyday of "women's" soap operas.

Books

'Year of the Rabbit': How Quickly Cruelty and Genocide Can Become the Norm

Tian Veasna's superb yet harrowing graphic portrayal of the Khmer Rouge regime, Year of the Rabbit, conveys what damage a living nightmare can do to a country and its people in a mere four years.

Books

Why Everyone Should Read Samra Habib's Queer Muslim Memoir

Matter of fact in its presentation of difficult material -- sexism, child marriage, emotional and sexual abuse -- what's most striking about Samra Habib's memoir, We Have Always Been Here, is the sense of compassion with which she writes.

Books

Are You, Too, a Walking Manifesto?

We are living in a season of manifestos and Breanne Fahs is our queen. Our guidebook: Burn It Down!: Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution.

Books

Black. Queer. Southern. Women.

Conveyed with urgency and mindfulness, Johnson's Black. Queer. Southern. Women. creates a space for revisioning critical race and sexual ideologies while affirming the voices of queer black women.

Film

For Valentine's Day, the End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: 'The Loving Story'

The Loving Story's tale of this Supreme Court victory lays out both its legal and moral import, and then turns back to Richard and Mildred Loving in intimate, evocative images.

Books

The New Empire Has Risen: 'New Kings of the World'

Author Fatima Bhutto profiles the new arbiters of mass culture: Bollywood, Dizi, and K-pop, in her engaging cultural studies/travelogue, New Kings of the World.

Books

Journalist Desmond Cole Confronts Canada's Anti-Black Racism

In The Skin We're In, Canadian journalist Desmond Cole reveals the shocking scale of racism in a country that prefers to look the other way.

Books

The Incendiary Life and Times of James Baldwin

Bill V. Mullen's James Baldwin: Living in Fire is an important addition to the ongoing assessment and examination of a writer whose legacy remains vital to this day.

Film

'Fail Safe' and the (De)Evolution of Cold War Ethics

Directed by the master of claustrophobic tension Sidney Lumet, Fail Safe (1964) is one of the most gripping Atomic Era thrillers ever made and its message resonates to this day.

Books

Figuring It Out with "Reverse Dracula", Wayne Koestenbaum

Figuring out some arguments by exegesis: a witty conversation with author, artist, and academic, Wayne Koestenbaum.

Books

Short Story Author Larry Brown's Big Love for His Small Characters

Although his works evoke Charles Bukowski, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and William Faulkner, Larry Brown's unapologetic characters were always his own.

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