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‘A Round of Applause’ Finds the Funny Side of Despondency

A Laughable Life

Do we know what’s best for ourselves? Can we choose to lead meaningful lives? Is life worth living? A brilliant new Turkish Netflix show, “A Round of Applause,” tackles such existential questions with dark insight and biting humor, following the fate of its miserable protagonist right from the womb.

Indian Films Are Showing the Realities of Life for the Country’s Housewives

The Reel Life of Indian Housewives

A number of Bollywood movies in the last decade have exposed the daily grind of Indian housewives and compelled viewers to understand the patriarchal structure of the country's households, which burdens women, ignores their needs and undermines their work.

The Novels That Charted Jewish Hardship, Survival and Assimilation in America

The Novels That Charted Jewish Hardship, Survival and Assimilation in America

The story of Jews in America is one of exceptional upward mobility, and the community’s literature has evolved alongside it. Early fiction often focused on poverty and antisemitism, while later authors chronicled subtler forms of social discrimination and the pursuit of a less tangible sense of inclusion.

The Rise of a Distinctly African Speculative Fiction

The Rise of a Distinctly African Speculative Fiction

For all its acclaim, Afrofuturism has been perceived among many native Africans as primarily catering to the diasporic concerns of African Americans. Now, distinctly African forms of science fiction and fantasy are emerging across the continent and beyond.

Remembering Sergei Parajanov, the Bard of the Caucasus

Remembering Sergei Parajanov, the Bard of the Caucasus

The revered Armenian cinema auteur Sergei Parajanov both embodied and sought to capture on celluloid the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Caucasus, inspired by the myths and folklore that bind the region together. Yet the world he cherished is now marked by closed borders, nationalist rancor and polarization.

Against Tyranny: Two Stories Told in Pictures Warn Us To Fight On

Against Tyranny: Two Stories Told in Pictures Warn Us To Fight On

Two recent graphic novels reveal the realities of daily life in Iran and Cuba, illustrating the common traits of authoritarian regimes. Marjane Satrapi’s “Woman, Life, Freedom” and Edel Rodriguez’s “Worm: A Cuban American Odyssey” lay out the political stakes and call on readers to defend global democracy.

Looking for the Roots of Today’s Germany

Looking for the Roots of Today’s Germany

At some point after 1945, a new, socially liberal and pacifist Germany emerged that appeared almost the antithesis of what came before. As three books published in 2023 make clear, it was a long and winding journey to get there — and one based on continuity as well as rupture.