Why is mid-October is my favorite holiday season? Because the United Nations Association Film Festival is back on campus, of course.
In the opening scene of “Difret,” Zereseney Mehari’s first feature film, human rights lawyer Meaza Ashenafi (Meron Getnet) reassures one of her clients: “Don’t worry,” she says. “There are laws in this country. No one is above the law.” But Meaza’s faith in Ethiopia’s justice system comes to a head when she hears about Hirut Assefa, a fourteen-year-old facing the death penalty for killing her rapist in self-defense.
You are one of the first visitors to be seduced by the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. Just inside the doors, a long, gradual staircase takes you up and away.
In 1955, Robert Frank left New York City for the open road. Over the course of the next two years, he traveled across the U.S., taking photographs for his magnum opus, “The Americans.” Cantor Arts Center’s new exhibit, “Robert Frank in America,” is the first show to reunite photographs from “The Americans” with lesser-known works…
The shock of an early death — especially of a celebrated thinker and inventor like Aaron Swartz — is fodder for our collective imagination. Swartz’s suicide catapulted him into the mainstream media and provoked a massive outpouring of public grief online. Those with a stake in how Swartz is remembered — from his friends and…
In January 2013, Aaron Swartz — hacktivist, inventor and prodigy — hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. He was 26. Since his death, the media has tended to interpret Swartz’s suicide as either a limited political critique or an ineffable personal problem. By some accounts, his death was a response to overzealous prosecution under the…
In 2011, when Tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill threatened to make the word “gay” illicit in schools, protesters held signs: “It’s okay to be Takei.” George Takei — first famous for playing Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek” — had just posted a YouTube video, encouraging students to say “Takei” instead of “gay.”
Since his career as helmsman of the USS Enterprise, Mr. Takei has worked as an LGBT civil rights activist and accumulated a massive social media following (he has 6 million Facebook friends). He is also committed to raising awareness about his family’s experience in Japanese-American internment camps, producing a new musical on the subject, “Allegiance.”
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to tell somebody what was going on,” said Specialist Adam Winfield, recalling his time with the Fifth Stryker Brigade, Second Infantry Division, stationed outside Kandahar, Afghanistan. The unit became known as “The Kill Team” when five of its members were accused of murdering three Afghan civilians in 2011. A new documentary by the same name explores the aftermath of the killings, focusing on the story of Winfield and his family. In the end, this perspective is more limiting than illuminating. At every step of the way, the film depends on emotional manipulation, rather than dispassionate, evidence-based argument.
Following the Maywand District murders, government officials portrayed the atrocities as the product of a few bad apples rather than systemic issues within the armed forces. It is laudable that director Dan Krauss sought to interrogate, or at least contextualize, this framing of the crimes. In all likelihood, there is a documentary to be made about the institutional conditions and leadership vacuum that made the crimes possible. But “The Kill Team” is not that movie.