Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?
The Oscar race for best foreign-language film rarely comes without a helping of muslin-and-bonnet dramas stuffed with misbehaving royals, masked balls and burgeoning job opportunities for food stylists. As heritage cinema goes, however, the year's Academy Award entry from Denmark is a firecracker.
Two decades ago, James Balog was one of the people who couldn't wrap his head around the prospect of global warming. The threat seemed too abstract, and the science too linked to the sort of computer-model analysis he disdained.
But the geographer-turned-photographer (principally for National Geographic) doesn't think that way any more. Neither will most of the viewers of Chasing Ice, the documentary that observes Balog's efforts to chronicle the planet's shrinking glaciers.
During the holidays, family kitchens are ground zero for intense craziness: mixers whirling, timers buzzing, knives flying. So yes, it's understandable that many of us just stay out of way of the experienced cook. Especially when the knives come out and Mama is talking under her breath.
If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.
"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."
On Monday morning at about 5:30 (I'm an early riser), I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, and stepped into water.
I live in a basement apartment where I've been for four years, and almost exactly a week after I was blessedly lucky to avoid the superstorm — and at a time when some of my New York and New Jersey friends were still in the dark — a freaky plumbing/heating mishap wound up filling my entire apartment with about an inch of water.
Marbles, cartoonist Ellen Forney's excellent graphic memoir about being bipolar, opens with her in the middle of a 5 1/2-hour session in a tattoo parlor. Every time the needle traces a line, Forney writes, she can "see the sensation — a bright white light, an electrical charge." Those opening words are a perfect description of her book. From the very first page, Forney allows us to see sensation — to inhabit, as closely as possible, her bipolar world, from its manic, exhilarating highs to its oceanic, debilitating lows.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:39 pm
If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.
In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 12:10 pm
Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone.
Frank Herbert's Dune was the first coming-of-age story that resonated with me: drugs, destiny, messiah complexes — it had everything. But what really shook me was its scale. At age 12, my life was the tiny, miserable cycle of home, school and the mall. Dune cracked it all open. There was a hell of a good universe next door, several in fact, and that made my little world a lot more bearable.