Arts and Entertainment

CULTURE-ARAB SPRING: A Revolution Through the Lens

The Arab world is talking about a revolution; not just out on the streets but in films, in newspapers, in songs – using any means necessary to document events, expose the horrors of war and explore the struggles and possibilities that lie ahead as the Arab Spring feels the wintry chill of post-revolutionary democratic challenges.

From left: Merila Zarei (Actress), Asghar Farhadi ('A Separation' Director) and Tahmineh Milani (Director). Credit: CC BY 2.0

Oscar-Winning Film Unites U.S., Iranian Audiences

Amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme, perhaps nothing less than an Oscar to the acclaimed feature film "A Separation" could have brought smiles to the faces of millions of Iranians who see most news as bad news these days.

From left: Merila Zarei (Actress), Asghar Farhadi (

Oscar-Winning Film Unites U.S., Iranian Audiences

Amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme, perhaps nothing less than an Oscar to the acclaimed feature film "A Separation" could have brought smiles to the faces of millions of Iranians who see most news as bad news these days.

MIDEAST: After 25 Years, Cinema Comes to Divided Town

Palestinians in East Jerusalem can once again go to the movies, after Al Quds Cinema reopened its doors this week after being closed for 25 years. Organisers say this signals the rebirth for Palestinian arts and culture in the city.

LAOS-CULTURE: ASEAN Attempts to Build on a Shared Language: Music

A landmark concert featuring artistes from eight of the ten South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) took place here on Jan. 21, in an effort to build a regional community through the common language of music.

VENEZUELA: Putting (Mothers’) Faces to the Violence

These women are not fashion models, nor are they advertising any product, yet their images look down on passersby from giant black-and-white posters in the Venezuelan capital. There are 52 of them, and they are all mothers who have lost one or more children to the criminal violence that is plaguing the country.

"I think my mural is the best," says Caridad Acosta.  Credit: Patricia Grogg/IPS

CUBA: Mural-Lined Street Transforms Neighbourhood

Forget about finding Cantarrana on a map or travel guide to Cuba. "Nobody knew about us; we didn't exist," said one resident of this working-class neighbourhood on the west side of Havana.

COLOMBIA: Worse than Fiction

A teenage love story is the fictional plot device in a new Colombian film, Silence in Paradise, about the all-too-real phenomenon of the "false positives" – the euphemism used to describe army killings of young civilians passed off as guerrilla casualties.

CUBA: Violence against Women Out of the Closet

The story of Saúl, a violent husband, and Odalys, an abused wife, has been on Cuban TV screens for several weeks now, bringing the touchy and often silenced issue of violence against women into millions of homes. It may cause shock or repulsion, but few can escape the controversy or discussion.

The Screen Speaks for Suu Kyi

Twenty years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year after being released from house arrest, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is the subject of a sweeping film that may increase international pressure on Burma’s ruling regime to speed up tentative reforms.

A scene from "Infinite Incompleteness". Credit: Hjalmar Joffre-Eichhorn/AHRDO

Afghan Theatre Group Lets War Victims Tell Their Stories

On a small stage, a woman appears, grief written on her face as she wanders through the streets of Kabul, searching for her missing child. Suddenly, she stops by a scene of ruins and stares.

 Credit:  Astroturfer/CC BY 2.0

BALKANS: Who’s Afraid of Serbian Violins

The path of reconciliation in former Yugoslavia has taken a musical turn, as the philharmonic orchestras of Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade team up for their first joint season since 1991.

A music shop in Peshawar being restored after a Taliban attack last month. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS.

PAKISTAN: Singing Against the Taliban

"In the last few years, I have sung more than a dozen songs against the Taliban," award-wining singer Khyal Muhammad tells IPS. "I got threatening messages on the mobile phone. But I will continue to sing because it gives me strength."

Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch, Jeanne Marie Hallacy, director of "Into the Current", and Thet Moo, former Burmese political prisoner Credit:  Christian Papesch/IPS

FILM: Political Prisoners Are Burma’s Unsung Heroes

In a move that highlighted its sub-par human rights record, the government of Burma announced Oct. 11 that it would release 6,359 prisoners, but how many of these will be drawn from the country's estimated 500 to over 2,000 political prisoners remains uncertain.

Chinese Film Festival Forced Underground

A Chinese independent film festival showcasing the work of some of the most daring Mainland directors has been forced underground following a police visit to the event’s launch last Saturday.

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