It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Where is Option B+? Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, like Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania, are already planning to implement the program. The U.S. government funds Option B+ through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Undersea things — iridescent creatures, mossy rocks, silky-slimy plants — are just weird. They're fascinating by their very nature, often barely resembling anything we have on land. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's half doc, half art project Leviathan capitalizes on that strangeness while linking it to the more prosaic world of commercial fishermen plying their trade off the coast of New Bedford, Mass.
Explosions rattle the crew. The air is turning fetid. And the captain has ordered a descent toward "crush depth." Yet everything is on course in Phantom, the newest model of the old submarine-from-hell picture.
But the predictability of writer-director Todd Robinson's film is, well, predictable. There are only so many things that can happen in the close quarters of an imperiled sub. What Robinson purports to do is show those familiar undersea events from a different vantage point. All the characters in Phantom serve in the Soviet navy of the 1960s.
I grew up on "Hava Nagila," and I'll admit it's not the catchiest of tunes. The ingenuous Hebrew lyrics ("Come! Let us rejoice and be happy!") don't wear well in our age of knowing irony and ennui.
Hip young Israelis wince at the very mention of the song, and for many Diaspora Jews, a few bars of the tune are all it takes to recall that excruciating moment late in a fancy wedding or bar mitzvah, when the band invites all remaining guests (tipsy uncles included) to kick up their heels — and then go home already.
As a boy, James Prosek was inspired by Audubon's Birds of America, just like the protagonist Doug in Gary D. Schmidt's Okay for Now. "I was 9 when I painted this snowy owl," Prosek says. "I had started using my grandfather's typewriter ... writing poems and stories over the birds."
In an essay that accompanied Prosek's 2008 collection in which Peacock is featured, literary critic Harold Bloom cites "The Peacock" by W.B. Yeats: "What's riches to him/ That has made a great peacock/ With the pride of his eye?"
Sailfishe, a monumental 10-foot painting of a hybrid creature, shows a glistening life-size Pacific sailfish that Prosek caught in Mexico — only instead of a dorsel fin, the fish has a colorful parrot wing. "With all that we know now, imagination is becoming extinct," says Prosek. "I am trying to forget. I am pretending to be a naturalist from a time past."
Prosek's practice of rendering birds from live — or recently dead — specimens began at an early age. "My father went hunting," he says of this image, "and I painted this pheasant from a bird that he or my uncle had shot."
Artist, writer and naturalist James Prosek published his first book, Trout: an Illustrated History, when he was just 19 years old. As a kid, he used art as a way to work through the ups and downs of childhood.
In this childhood photo, Prosek holds a dead magnolia warbler that flew into the window of his family's living room. "We heard it hit the window and my dad picked it up and showed it to me," Prosek recalls. "He wasn't afraid to show me things like that. He introduced me to nature through birds. Death was part of life. I was captivated to hold the actual specimen in my hand."
Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 12:30 pm
In February, NPR's Backseat Book Club read a novel about a troubled kid who finds both strength and solace in the artwork of the renowned naturalist John James Audubon. The novel, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, takes place in 1968 in a little town in upstate New York where middle-schooler Doug Swietek is drowning in life's complications.
After decades living and working abroad, Saeed Malik (left) returned to his native Pakistan and wanted to do something to help rectify what he saw as a poor education system. He founded the Bright Star Mobile Library, which now serves about 2,500 children.
On a cold, rainy morning, a van pulls up outside a rural elementary school on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. The fluorescent green vehicle provides a flash of color on this otherwise gray day. There's a picture of children reading books under a large apple tree, and the words "Reading is fun" are painted in English and Urdu, the national language in Pakistan.
The sunny island of Cyprus has been a vacation haven for Arabs and Israelis alike. But recently, it's been the site of a much-watched trial of an admitted Hezbollah operative. He has described himself simply as a pawn in the militant group's hierarchy, tasked with doing surveillance on restaurants, hotels and buses serving Israeli tourists. But his trial has revealed a wide range of details about how Hezbollah operates and how it may be getting more sophisticated.