3 Although "Rifkin's Festival" debuted at the San Sebastián Film Festival in September 2020, the Woody Allen comedy languished, until now, without an American distributor, as long-standing accusations of sexual abuse against the filmmaker received a fresh airing in the 2020 HBO docuseries "Farrow vs. Allen." Set in San Sebastián, Spain - appropriately enough, against the gorgeous backdrop of the festival - the writer-director's latest movie tells the story of a nebbishy film professor (Wallace Shawn) who suspects his gorgeous film publicist wife (Gina Gershon) of having an affair with a handsome French director (Louis Garrel). The cinephilic, sometimes sycophantic milieu is lightly satirized, with an opening montage of inane questions from film journalists posed to movie stars and directors. "In the movie, were all your orgasms special effects?" is an example of the humor, which is broad and not especially clever. The same might be said of the film's … [Read more...] about Woody Allen’s latest, ‘Rifkin’s Festival,’ is a pretty film. (Pretty forgettable, that is.)
Self confidence vs god confidence
Illustration: Philip Burke This article was featured in One Great Story , New York ’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. There’s a story that progressives like to tell about Larry Summers. The doyen of Establishment economics is dining out with a populist politician. The two have made it through the meal with minimal awkwardness — their ideological tensions eased by booze and food — when Summers leans back in his chair and offers his left-wing foil a hard-won insight. There are two kinds of political actors in this world: insiders and outsiders. Outsiders are free to speak their truth, Summers explains. But the price of such freedom is irrelevance in the halls of power. Insiders, by contrast, have a seat at the table where history is made. But to keep those seats, they must take care not to criticize other insiders. So, Summers asks his dining companion, which are you? The anecdote has an apocryphal air. It makes Summers sound like … [Read more...] about Was Larry Summers Right All Along?
ZHUOXI, Taiwan — The smell of damp earth filled the air on a recent moonless evening as the hunter wove through the dense mountain thicket, clutching a homemade rifle and with only the narrow white beam of a headlamp to illuminate his prey. But the hunter, Vilian Istasipal, was confident. He knew this terrain well. A member of the Bunun, one of 16 officially recognized Indigenous groups in Taiwan, Mr. Vilian, 70, has been hunting on this land for more than 60 years. Some of his earliest memories growing up in Zhuoxi, a town of around 6,000 people in eastern Taiwan, involved going on dayslong hunts with his father deep into the mountains where he learned skills considered essential to being a Bunun man, like how to lay a trap, shoot a flying squirrel and skin a boar. “We kill them, but we also pay respect to their lives,” Mr. Vilian said in the courtyard of his home in Zhuoxi, also known as Takkei in the Bunun language. On display behind him was a visual testament to … [Read more...] about Taiwan Hunters Contend With Taboos, and Trials, to Uphold Tradition
Elegant melancholia isn’t enough for the National anymore. On its seventh album, “Sleep Well Beast,” its new songs have more rhythmic ferment and melodic crosscurrents; they translate emotional complexity into musical counterpoint. Until now, the National’s trajectory was fairly linear. From its self-titled 2001 debut album onward, the National was a band growing consistently more polished, resourceful and secure. “Sleep Well Beast” gives the band’s sound a jolt. The National appeared during the early-2000s New York City rock resurgence, alongside post-punk revisionists like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It, too, harked back to the guitar-driven bands of the late 1970s and early 1990s. But like its peers, the National already had its own ethos. Even its earliest songs found a somber sweet spot amid loss, self-doubt, disillusionment and fading but obsessive romance. Its music flaunted an appreciation for the steady-state post-punk of New Order along with, perhaps, echoes of … [Read more...] about The National Gives Its Sound a Jolt on ‘Sleep Well Beast’
At various points over the last five years, Girls has been the most exciting new comedy on TV, and it’s been overhyped. It’s been feminist, brave, and groundbreaking. It’s been alienating, racist, and too racy. It’s been the voice of a generation. Now, it finally gets to just be a TV show. Sunday night’s Season 5 premiere of Girls arrives, for the first time, outside the zeitgeist. The award-winning critics’ darling—and conservative whipping boy—is settled and confident, and no longer the shiny new thing. Once the generator of so many think pieces it might single-handedly be responsible for turning online pop culture criticism into self-parody, it now bubbles under the radar. (As much as any show created by Lena Dunham, who has turned her designation as human megaphone for millennials into a gig as one of Hillary Clinton’s most visible and vocal campaigners .) The critical handwringing—and, good lord, the think pieces—have moved on to other lightning rods. Godspeed, … [Read more...] about Is a Controversy-Free ‘Girls’ Still Worth Watching?
(CNN) President Joe Biden was at home in Delaware Sunday when Sen. Joe Manchin appeared on Fox News to abruptly declare he could not support his sweeping social and climate plan . "I've tried everything humanly possible," the West Virginia Democrat said, appearing remotely. "I can't get there. This is a no." Biden, who learned of Manchin's plans only minutes before the TV appearance, tried quickly to get the senator on the phone. But his attempts were unsuccessful. Manchin's move astonished and infuriated the President and his top advisers, people familiar with their reaction said, after having spent the past 12 months in talks with the senator — in Delaware, at the White House, on the phone and even aboard Manchin's houseboat. In an equally surprising step, the White House torched Manchin afterward in a statement bristling with resentment that shattered the amity Biden had sought to cultivate. Here's what's in Biden's Build Back Better … [Read more...] about How months of talks between Biden and Manchin over Build Back Better broke down
Conservatives may not agree with liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer on much. But they should celebrate his legacy as he retires later this year, because he has stood up for judicial independence — something Democrats now oppose. It was Breyer who wrote the majority opinion in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (2014), in which then-President Barack Obama tried to declare the Senate in recess so he could appoint left-wing board members to the NLRB. The Court smacked Obama down with a 9-0 unanimous opinion that included Obama’s own appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Breyer delivered a careful rebuke to Obama’s attempt to exceed his constitutional powers. Breyer also joined a part of the majority opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), the Obamacare case, in which he agreed efforts to force the states to accept the Medicaid expansion violated the Tenth Amendment — an argument Democrats had ridiculed. And Breyer respected religious … [Read more...] about Pollak: Stephen Breyer’s Legacy of Defending Judicial Independence
Across fundamental dimensions of societal wellbeing, and despite many Americans’ strong belief in U.S. exceptionalism, America is regrettably falling behind. In terms of life and death, America is falling behind many other developed societies. U.S. life expectancy at birth is no longer among the top 20 countries. The difference between America’s life expectancy at birth and those of countries such as Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland is five years of additional life. Similarly, for the first year of life of American babies, the U.S. infant mortality rate is nearly the highest among more developed countries , not even in the top 40 countries . Moreover, for all age groups below age 25, America has the highest mortality rates compared to other wealthy nations. ADVERTISEMENT Also, America has performed poorly against the coronavirus pandemic. With 4 percent of the world’s population, America accounts for 16 percent of coronavirus deaths. America’s pandemic death … [Read more...] about As foes and allies rise, America’s downward spiral accelerates
ROME — President Sergio Mattarella took Italy’s gridlocked politics into his own hands on Monday night. Two months after inconclusive elections created a political stalemate, Mr. Mattarella asked his country’s bickering political leaders to support a neutral caretaker government of his own choosing. It would last until they got their act together and formed a sustainable parliamentary majority or until new elections, as early as this summer but no later than early next year. Speaking at the Quirinal Palace on Monday night after a third, and apparently final, round of fruitless consultations with party leaders, the mild-mannered Mr. Mattarella seemed a bit vexed as he called the situation “anomalous” and admonished the politicians for their lack of progress. “It would be the first time in the history of the republic,” he said, that the Parliament elected by Italians was dissolved before it even went to work and selected a cabinet and prime minister. Mr. Mattarella, 76, … [Read more...] about Italy’s President Proposes Caretaker Government Amid Stalemate
Mmm, candy. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images If you are deeply invested in M&M’s, the Mars company behind the candy has bewildering news for you: The M&M’s characters are getting a woke makeover. Yes, that’s right — no one is safe from the demands of cancel culture. “The redesign is focused on creating a sense of belonging and community, as well as spotlighting the characters’ ‘personalities, rather than their gender,’” CBS News reported on Thursday. What might that possibly look like? Well, the green M&M is getting a bit less sexy. Gone are the white go-go boots for which she is known. She will be “better represented to reflect confidence and empowerment, as a strong female, and known for much more than her boots.” At last: true equality. As a journalist, and as a woman, I have a few questions about this news. Join me on a journey of discovery. Why do M&M’s have gender in the first place? Remember, they are candy. Or “lentils,” as Mars … [Read more...] about Can I Eat M&M’s Without Having to Think About Their Personalities?