A unique collection of of film reviews, essays on film and interviews with directors and film critics by WSWS Art and Culture Editor David Walsh spanning the 20 years from 1992-2012. The film reviews contained in this volume cover a wide spectrum—from James Cameron’s Titanic and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ to the award-winning A Separation by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and films of emerging Chinese directors.
Several essays discuss the work of talented and principled artists of the 1930s and 40s who sought to bring a sense of humanity to their work. Walsh details the fate of many who fell victim to the anti-communist McCarthyite witch-hunts of the 1950s. A recurring theme in these writings is the profound effect this historical period has had on Hollywood filmmaking in the ensuing years. Walsh consistently returns to the crisis of contemporary filmmaking and the inability, or unwillingness, of so many of today’s directors to see the world as it is and feel compelled to grapple with social reality as millions experience it.
As Walsh explains in the Introduction, “The development within the International Committee of systematic work on problems of culture and art, and my own participation in this process, was the outcome of the ICFI’s response to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.” In wrestling with the consequences of this historic defeat of the working class, and posing the question, “upon what basis would a new mass revolutionary socialist movement emerge?” the ICFI recognized that a cultural awakening within the working class was “essential to the development of a conscious, revolutionary critical attitude toward capitalist society.”
The critique provided by David Walsh is absolutely unique in the field of contemporary film criticism. No other source provides the Marxist analysis of culture contained in the WSWS. Walsh’s writing is widely respected for its unrelenting hostility both to the pervasive academic fog of postmodernism in the arts, as well as the pseudo-left glorification of identity politics in contemporary film. To develop a conscious, revolutionary critical attitude toward capitalist society, Walsh’s writings are essential. The volume contains articles from the WSWS,as well as from the Bulletin and International Workers Bulletin newspapers, the forerunners to the WSWS. Read more on the website for this work at skybetweentheleaves.com