Arts & Culture

Movie Reviews
4:01 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

From An Oscar Winner, A 'Past' Still Hauntingly Present

Asghar Farhadi's The Past focuses on the complex family dynamics between Marie (Berenice Bejo), her soon-to-be ex-husband, her new love (Tahar Rahim, above) and her children.
Carole Bethuel Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi came to international attention last year when his film A Separation won the Oscar for best foreign language film. His latest picture, The Past, has been showered with awards, too — at the Cannes Film Festival and from critics groups in the U.S. I saw The Past in September at the Toronto Film Festival, and it has haunted me ever since.

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Movie Reviews
4:01 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

'The Selfish Giant' Spins A Grim Modern Fairy Tale

Living in poverty and expelled from school, Arbor (Conner Chapman) turns to collecting scrap metal with a cart and horse in The Selfish Giant.
Agatha A. Nitecka Sundance Selects

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:08 pm

In Oscar Wilde's fairy tale The Selfish Giant, the title character brings eternal winter to his garden by banishing children from it. Writer-director Clio Barnard's film of the same name was inspired by Wilde's fable, yet is much different.

The original story was for kids; the movie is about kids, but its grim depictions of violence against innocents may be too harrowing even for some adults. Yet the movie is engrossing, and sure to linger long after its poignant culmination.

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Movie Interviews
3:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

A Town, A Team, And A Dream That Just Won't Die

The Medora Hornets, here with assistant coach Rudie Crain, are the centerpiece of the documentary Medora, from directors Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn.
Beachside Films

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:14 pm

In a high-school locker room in small-town Indiana, a coach is tearing into his basketball team. The Medora Hornets have scored zero points — none at all — in the game's fourth quarter.

In Medora, the hapless team becomes a kind of metaphor for the town itself — "a no-stoplight town," in the words of documentarian Davy Rothbart, one where the jobs have dried up and the population has dwindled.

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The Record
3:10 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Feminists Everywhere React To Beyonce's Latest

The audience at Beyonce's Dec. 3 performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Larry Busacca/PW WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:20 pm

617,000. That's how many copies of her self-titled album Beyonce sold in three days last week, after she dropped it without warning. As fans and critics have dug in, debates about the messages and images within it are roiling. Is Beyonce, the sexy pop goddess who has performed at two inaugurations, also this generation's highest-profile feminist? I spoke to six people who identify as feminists — all of whom feel differently about Beyonce — to find out how a pop album no one was ready for is capping off a year of think pieces and Twitter skirmishes.

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Essay
12:41 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

ESSAY: Consider That Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas

Essayist Avi Lank says there's been an "undue public emphasis" on Chanukah to coincide with the Christmas holiday.
Credit Kraemer Family Library/Flickr

Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank says he's part of the minority of Americans who don't celebrate Christmas.

I once worked at a social service agency filled with people who truly cared about humanity and toiled diligently for small pay to understand and help everyone.

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