On this week's round-table podcast, Glen Weldon and I are joined by the marvelous Gene Demby and Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch project. We're always happy to see Gene and Kat, who bring their very own brand of thinly veiled, sibling-like hostility, which is something we can fully relate to.
Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's latest film, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, just hit cinemas in Asia.
Credit Courtesy of Wang Fengchen
Amateur storyteller Wang Fengchen performs his art in traditional teahouses and on the radio. His repertoire includes Judge Dee murder mysteries. Stories about Judge Dee were told orally by storytellers for centuries until they were finally collected in a novel in the 19th century.
The sleuthing exploits of Judge Dee, a character based on a 7th-century Chinese official, are gripping new audiences as new generations of writers, movie directors and storytellers tell his tale and build on his legend.
Judge Dee was cracking tough cases for centuries in China before Sherlock Holmes even got a clue. But perhaps more importantly, his stories continue to inform ordinary Chinese people's understanding of justice and law.
OK. The writer Cormac McCarthy has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. He has never written an original screenplay produced until now. That film, "The Counselor," opens this weekend. Kenneth Turan has our review.
Costa-Gavras' propulsive 1969 thriller Z, a thinly veiled account of the assassination of a Greek democratic politician by a military junta, shaped the political passions of many in my upstart generation. It also instilled in one impressionable young critic-to-be the conviction that the revolution would come packaged with the likes of Yves Montand as boyfriend material.
Americans seem to have a love affair with snacking.
As a society, we eat twice as many snacks as we did a generation ago. Women, on average, nosh on upwards of 400 snack calories per day, according to federal survey data. And men consume almost 600 calories a day in between meals.
So, if nibbling is our new pastime, researchers have a suggestion for one satiating snack that seems to help control our appetites: almonds.
Several times during The Square, Jehane Noujaim's account of Egypt's unfinished revolution, the camera gazes down on Tahrir Square, teeming with multitudes. Yet ultimately, one of the principal appeals of the D.C.-born Egyptian-American filmmaker's documentary is its intimacy.
It was Saint-Exupery's Little Prince who declared: "It's a little lonely in the desert." That's a notion writer Cormac McCarthy knows well, his later novels often taking place in dusty Western locales among those isolated from society.
Blue Is the Warmest Color focuses on the relationship that develops between Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos, left) and Emma (Lea Seydoux), and it includes two explicit sex scene that have raised hackles among some critics.
Credit Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images
Abdellatif Kechiche speaks onstage at the Cannes Film Festival in May with Seydoux (left) and Exarchopoulos after all three were awarded the Palme d'Or for their work on Blue Is the Warmest Color, a festival first.
The French film Blue Is the Warmest Color has been making news for months.
It won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Then the director and his stars got into a public feud about the conditions on set and the explicit sex scenes between the film's leading actresses. After months of controversy, the picture finally opens in American cinemas this week — with an NC-17 rating.
But before it became the cinematic flashpoint of the year, Blue Is the Warmest Color was also declared the love story of the year.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 2:44 pm
It all started in 1968 at a pet shop called Fish 'N' Cheeps in New York's Greenwich Village. On the way to a Jimi Hendrix concert, Patricia Wright and her husband dashed into the shop to escape heavy rain. There, a two-pound ball of fur from the Amazon captured their attention. A few weeks and $40 later, this owl monkey became their pet; later on they acquired a female as well.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:42 pm
Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez joins this week's Alt.Latino, kicking off an occasional series of interviews about culture, society and news.
Every year, tens of thousands of Central Americans — from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador — make a perilous overland journey to the United States. They travel north through Mexico to the U.S. border, riding on top of cargo trains known as "La Bestia" or "the Beast."
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free black man in upstate New York who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841 and won his freedom 12 years later. The film 12 Years a Slave is an adaptation of Northup's 1853 memoir.
Credit Yale University
David Blight is the director of the Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author of American Oracle and A Slave No More.
"We love being the country that freed the slaves," says historian David Blight. But "we're not so fond of being the country that had the biggest slave system on the planet." That's why Blight was glad to see the new film 12 Years a Slave, an adaptation of an 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup. Northup was a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841 and won his freedom 12 years later. "We need to keep telling this story because it, in part, made us who we were," Blight tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
The new movie 12 Years a Slave has been receiving high praise — critic David Denby recently described it in The New Yorker as "easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery." The film is adapted from the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, who had been a free black man in upstate New York. A husband and father, he was a literate, working man, who also made money as a fiddler. But in 1841, after being lured to Washington, D.C., with the promise of several days' work fiddling with the circus, he was kidnapped into slavery.
The struggle of infertility can bring tensions to any marriage. The new film, Mother of George, shines a light on how that experience affects a newlywed Nigerian couple living in New York. Host Michel Martin speaks with director Andrew Dosunmu and actress Danai Gurira about the film.
In this week's show, recorded at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, play games about famous sets of twins, grammatically-incorrect song lyrics--and did you know that James Bond also has a "license to grill"? Pun alert! Our V.I.P. is the woman who helped add 13 hours of marathon-watching to our schedules: Piper Kerman. She's the author of Orange is the New Black, the memoir that inspired the hit Netflix series about life in a women's prison. Plus, two Mystery Science Theater 3000 veterans riff on bad movies.
It makes all the sense in the world to cover new things — the movies opening this weekend, the TV shows premiering right now, the books that have just been released — to the degree people are asking the questions (1) What's interesting about this new thing? (2) Is this new thing good? and (3) What new things are there? Those are important parts of cultural coverage, and they always will be.
Long before he was a conservative writer, Charles Krauthammer was a psychiatrist. He tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he changed career paths because he didn't buy into popular beliefs about a psychiatrist's power: "There is a mystique about psychiatry," he says, "that people think that you have some kind of a magical lens ... Superman's X-ray vision into the soul. One of the reasons I left psychiatry is that I didn't believe that."
Few people love bad movies like Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett love bad movies--you know, movies that are "so bad, they're good"? The pair is known for their work on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, and now are part of the team that creates RiffTrax--downloadable commentaries that you play along with a cheesy or shlocky film to create the sense that you're hanging out with your friends and making fun of the movie. Only your friends are professional comedians.
It's Opposite Day for this final round, in which puzzle guru Art Chung will give you the "opposite" of a well-known book title, and you must figure out the real one. For example, "The Visible Woman," is a clue to The Invisible Man. So if we tell you "bad misfortune," what we really mean is--good luck.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Cara Tabachnick's family owns the East Williamsburg building that Banksy chose as the canvas for one of his latest works. They installed a metal gate and commissioned a guard to protect the art from vandalism or removal.
Credit Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
Crowds of locals and tourists alike have gathered to see Banksy's daily creations this month, which he has called a New York City residency. These pieces, unveiled on Oct. 18, hang in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
The elusive British graffiti artist Banksy has taken to the streets of New York this month, tagging buildings throughout the city. Last week we brought you the story of his fans, who have been on the hunt, early each day, to find his latest creation. They have to move quickly; Banksy creations are often vandalized after their locations become known.