September 3, 2008 |
Abitter political-cultural confrontation that exploded in Nicaragua in late August could mark the final end of the passionate romance between the world's leftist intellectuals and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Ortega, you may recall, was the leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front when it seized power after overthrowing the 40-year Somoza family dynasty. A dashing young revolutionary who electrified liberals and leftists around the world, Ortega served as Nicaragua's president for most of the 1980s.
May 28, 2004 |
Genocidal mass murder continues to foul the world. So do large-scale massacres of civilians and brutal executions. Yet the foulest epithet in any language -- "Nazi" -- is hurled not against any of the perpetrators of those crimes but, uniquely and systematically, against Israel. It's not as if the real horrors are hard to find.
March 30, 2005 |
This was supposed to be a glorious season for La Scala, the world's most celebrated opera house, which triumphantly emerged from a three-year, multimillion-dollar renovation to resume its place as the jewel in Europe's musical crown. Instead, three months after its gala re-inauguration, the fabled theater in Milan is awash in labor strife, canceled performances and bitter artistic recriminations. Its immediate future is in jeopardy.
February 12, 2003 |
The great 19th century historian Theodor Mommsen (who in 1902 became the first German to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) had ample opportunity to take the measure of the persistent phenomenon of anti-Semitism. For, by the latter half of the 19th century, European anti-Semitism was not merely a simple prejudice but a self-styled political "philosophy" compounded of racist, nationalist and Social Darwinist mythologies.
May 15, 2008 |
When Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles was told that the Festival de Cannes wanted his new film, "Blindness," to open this year's event Wednesday night, he was "surprised, to be honest." Not because of a lack of faith in what he'd done but because of the nature of his accomplishment.
September 2, 2005 |
THE staggering images of Hurricane Katrina's destruction, whether shot from helicopters or with cellphone cameras, suggest a relationship between humans and architecture stripped bare, much as the landscape along the Gulf Coast has been. When hurricanes strike and floodwaters rise, as when an earthquake or a tornado hits, what's crucial in the immediate aftermath is simply shelter in the most basic sense. That effect is common to nearly every significant natural disaster.
October 10, 1997 |
Dario Fo, the modern-day Italian jester whose leading roles in his own plays mix linguistic buffoonery with biting left-wing political satire, on Thursday became the first performer to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Revealing its surprise choice, the Swedish Academy said the 71-year-old playwright's prodigious work "emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden."
September 28, 2008 |
"Blindness," Nobel Prize-winner Jose Saramago's 1997 allegorical novel about an epidemic of sightlessness that threatens to destroy society, is told in a stream-of-consciousness style that reads like a fever dream. Not exactly "Harry Potter," straight-to-the-big-screen material. Yet, Don McKellar saw in it a screenplay and Fernando Meirelles ("City of God") saw in that screenplay a film he could direct.