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When I first saw Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, I left the theater with a powerful feeling. When my companion, Shelly, asked how I liked the film, I told her I enjoyed it a great deal, but that I wished it had never been made. (More…)

Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is a lovely film, beautifully paced and performed. But those who have hailed it as “surprising” haven’t given its place in cinematic history sufficient thought. That Hollywood would be honoring this kind of picture in 2012 makes perfect sense. (More…)

In the Dogon country of Mali, something astonishing is happening. In a dozen villages northeast of Koro, facing the hot Sahara desert, food is in plentiful supply, despite the drought affecting the region. Dogon farmers reaped a bumper crop a year ago, ensuring their villages would have enough food to carry them through the dry season. (More…)

A few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mesha’al announced an agreement for a unified Palestinian government, whose task would be to facilitate general elections, and begin the rebuilding of Gaza. The deal puts unity between the two main Palestinian factions back on track, much to the chagrin of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (More…)

In 1977, Chelsea released Right to Work. As with the term “public school,” “right to work” has opposite meanings in the US and UK. In America, it means the “right” of the government to override closed shop agreements between unions and employers, a contractual agreement companies should support. Except, since closed shops benefit unions, pro-market advocates don’t support it, and hypocritically call for state regulation. (More…)

The English debut of Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich is a major literary event, despite the book’s restrained ambitions. Because the author’s posthumous fame shows no sign of abating, this disconcerting tale is bound to reach a much larger audience than the specialized nature of its subject matter would otherwise suggest. And deservedly so, for it provides ample evidence of Bolaño’s brilliance. (More…)

Neukölln’s public spaces are full of bilingual signage. This one says several things, including “Grilling is forbidden,” in both Turkish and German. A common sight during the summer, Turkish families can frequently be found grilling meats in Berlin’s municipal parks. (More…)

Last week, I broke the news that the GOP adopted the one-state solution: “Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.” (More…)

DECEMBER 25, 5:45 PM

The people that have been busying themselves under the metal awning are finally ready for us, and have decked out their standard-issue light blue plastic chairs with elaborate gold sateen covers and politely bagged all the table settings in plastic. They have also prepared no small amount of food. (More…)

Even when nothing is going on in Film Socialisme, the impulse to cry out, “What’s going on?” can be overwhelming. It’s hard to tell the people on screen apart; it’s harder to determine whether this involuntary sorting exercise matters. We may see the boy who wears the CCCP T-shirt repeatedly during the film’s middle section. We may understand, eventually, that he is the son of the couple that run a filling station. (More…)

As the dust settles on America’s exit from Iraq, speculation over the possibility of the next Mideast war has resumed. The recent death of an Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, has fuelled concerns. Especially given that Tehran knows who is to blame. Predictions that it may close the Strait of Hormuz, provoking a US response, have been making the rounds. (More…)

A study conducted by the Hebrew University shows that most Israelis are aware that many of the Palestinians made refugees in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence were in fact expelled. Akiva Eldar thinks this is a landmark finding. I have to disagree. (More…)