Art and Culture

Striking a note of resistance

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Earlier this summer I found myself walking around the Pilsen district of Chicago. Migrant Mexican workers settled in the neighbourhood in the 1960s.

There you can see hundreds of murals and mosaics. These works of street art depict the daily life of the migrant Mexican community and their struggle for civil rights. Many of these works are clearly influenced by the Mexican muralists of the 1910 Revolution - Diego Rivera and José Orozco.

The resistible rise of the videocracy

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As both politician and media magnate, Silvio Berlusconi arguably holds more power than any Italian leader since Mussolini. Erik Gandini spoke to Louis Bayman about his documentary film, Videocracy.

The Economist is run by a group of communist conspirators. That, at least, was the response of the current Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, when, before the 2001 elections, the British magazine stated that the man was unfit to be the leader of a democratic country.

Long distance running: Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010)

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The novels of Alan Sillitoe rejoice in working class defiance. John Newsinger writes about a brilliant writer with a sad political trajectory.

(Photo: Monire Childs)

Author Alan Sillitoe died on 25 April 2010. He will be best remembered for his powerful novels and stories of working class life, such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Key to the Door, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, and a ferocious work of family biography, Raw Material.

Henry Moore: young radical

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Henry Moore's monumental artworks adorn forecourts and public spaces around the world. In this review of Tate Britain's new exhibition of Moore's work, John Molyneux discusses the political trajectory of his art, revisiting the radical origins of this famous artist.

Tate Britain, often overshadowed by Tate Modern, is well worth a visit at the moment. In addition to the permanent collection of Turner masterpieces, and the changing but always rich selection of 20th century art, there is currently a substantial Chris Ofili show and an especially interesting Henry Moore exhibition.

Augusto Boal has left the stage

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Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes pay homage to the founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal, who died last month

It would be wrong to describe Augusto Boal as a theatre director, a dramatist, a producer or an actor, though he was all of those things. Returning to his native Brazil in 1955 from the US with a degree in theatre arts, he was hired to work for the famous Arena Theatre, which challenged the social realism of the theatre of the time with the ideas of Bertolt Brecht.

Edward Upward - 1903-2009

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Edward Upward, the last of the 1930s generation of left-wing British writers, has died at the age of 105. It is astonishing to think that someone who was in his late 20s when the Wall Street Crash heralded the Great Depression should live on to see an equally deep crisis begin to convulse the system once again.

He came from a comfortable background (his father was a doctor and he went to public school and Cambridge). But the disaster of the First World War shook all classes to the core. And like his more famous younger contemporaries, the poet W H Auden and his admirer and fellow novelist Christopher Isherwood, Upward was part of a revolt against the clapped out culture of the past.

Playing a part against injustice

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Oscar winning actor Julie Christie talks to Sabby Sagall and Judith Orr about her work and political commitment and how she feels about the media treatment of women in the public eye in the age of celebrity culture.

Your first film was Billy Liar in 1963. It was about a woman, Liz, who wanted to challenge conventions and live her own life. Were you aware in your own life about women's changing expectations at that time?

I had absolutely no understanding of the social historical meaning of anything then, let alone of the part I was playing. She was a beatnik, not yet of the 1960s. It's just after the war. Billy represented the fears and repression of post-war Britain and Liz the very beginning of a new culture which youth called "freedom".

Harold Pinter: 1930-2008

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Harold Pinter was the greatest writer of dramatic English we had. He wrote mouth-filling meals for actors, where what you want is who you are, and what you say to get it is provoked by what was said to you only a second earlier. I got to say his words on stage, screen and radio, and I count myself lucky.

His first full-length play, The Birthday Party, contains what Pinter came to think was the most important line he ever wrote: "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do." At 18 he had become a conscientious objector - a decision which marked him as a non-conformist for life. But Pinter's work isn't just dry, agit-prop drama of resistance.

Reality Bites

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Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne talk to Jim Wolfreys about the solidarity that transcends the tragedies of existence facing their characters and their latest film, The Silence of Lorna.

An adolescent boy is asked to look after the family of an immigrant worker in whose death he has been implicated. A young woman wages a furious lone struggle to forge an existence. A couple's life is blown apart when their son is offered for sale. These stories, told by the Dardenne brothers since the mid-1990s, turn around the dilemmas faced by individuals in marginal social situations, forced to comply with the ruthless logic of the market or find another way to live.

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