From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. This year's Nobel prize for literature was announced today. It went to Chinese writer Mo Yan. The Swedish academy praised what it called Mo's hallucinatory realism. As NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, Mo's work is also brutal, raunchy, funny and, unlike many Nobel literature laureates, relatively well known.
NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Mo Yan is probably best known for writing what would become the movie "Red Sorghum."
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:28 pm
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Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 4:46 pm
Astro belongs to Chile's fantastic wave of modern musical exports, alongside rapper Ana Tijoux, pop singer Alex Andwandter and indie-folk singer Gepe, among others. Yet Astro stands apart from its contemporaries: Tijoux, Gepe and even Andwandter are inspired by Chile's folk tradition and serious social issues, while the band heads in a different direction with its fun, irreverent lyrics and synth-heavy sound.
The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.
If you do the math, the number of true psychopaths in Seven Psychopaths may not quite add up. Perhaps writer-director Martin McDonagh didn't want to go overboard with the murderous crazies. As it is, he's peopled his whimsically brutal comic thriller with — to name just three — an Amish throat-slasher, a dynamite-packing Buddhist and a serial killer who's fond of white bunny rabbits. That's probably enough.
<em>Simon and the Oaks</em> serves as a rather too cozy consideration of Nazi sympathies in Sweden during the early years of World War II.
Credit The Film Arcade
<em>War of the Buttons,</em> set in occupied France, focuses more on the war between gangs of children than it does on the real conflict playing out among their parents, some of whom are Vichy collaborators.
Simon and the Oaks, a handsomely upholstered Swedish drama about two troubled families trying to survive World War II, is based on a runaway best-selling novel by Marianne Fredriksson. The film was made with money from several Scandinavian countries once occupied by the Nazis, as well as from Germany itself. It won a truckload of Swedish Oscars, and in the accolades heaped upon the movie, the word "epic" is thrown around with abandon.
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:52 am
Some might characterize what filmmaker Ross McElwee does as navel-gazing. But in the hands of this veteran documentarian, that which might be self-indulgent egomania from a lesser artist is often the stuff of quiet revelation.
Beneath a bright blue, near-cloudless sky, a lone aluminum trailer sits amid the sagebrush, the flat amber earth and the forbidding heat of Death Valley. Oddly enough, the trailer's single inhabitant doesn't seem the hermit type: Frank (Charlie Hunnam) is young, well-dressed and extremely handsome, the kind of blond-haired and blue-eyed good-looking that usually comes with easy confidence and a modeling contract.
The words of the English poet William Blake still resonate 185 years after his death. Blake, who was also a painter and printmaker, wrote the famous lines, "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright / In the forests of the night."
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:52 pm
Kentucky may be the site for tonight's debate between the vice presidential candidates, but the monster swing state of Ohio remains the focus of White House dreams for President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Both the incumbent and his challenger have been in and out of the state with increasing frequency; GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan plans a trip to the Buckeye State on Friday, after his tangle with Vice President Joe Biden.
Illustration of the interior of 55 Cancri e — an extremely hot planet with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, below which is a layer of silicon-based minerals and a molten iron core at the center.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 6:39 pm
Scientists have discovered a world much fancier than our homely, little Earth.
New research that will published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters details a planet that is eight times heavier than Earth and with twice its radius. But instead of being covered in water and granite, it is encrusted in graphite and diamond.
Malala Yousafzai is treated in a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, after she was shot on Tuesday.
Credit ISPR / EPA/Landov
Malala Yousafzai, 15, and her father ignored Taliban threats for years and spoke out in favor of education for girls. Malala, shown here in March 2012, was shot in the head on Tuesday and is in critical condition at a military hospital.
Credit T. Mughal / EPA/Landov
Supporters of the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf pay tribute to Malala in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:00 pm
A 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl remains in critical condition after being shot in the head for defying the Taliban and championing the right of girls to go to school. Malala Yousafzai rose to prominence during the recent war in Pakistan's Swat Valley by writing a blog under a pen name. NPR's Philip Reeves reported on that war — and twice met Malala's father. Reeves sent this account of the tough world in which Malala spent her childhood.