1. “Percy Sledge Dies at 74.” The R&B singer, whose soulful ballad of eternal love and rejection, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” topped the charts in 1966, dies on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, LA.
“Mr. Sledge, sometimes called the King of Slow Soul, was a sentimental crooner and one of the South’s first soul stars, having risen to fame from jobs picking cotton and working as a hospital orderly while performing at clubs and colleges on the weekends. ’I was singing every style of music: the Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Motown, Sam Cooke, the Platters,’ he once said. ’When a Man Loves a Woman’ was his first recording for Atlantic Records, after a patient at the hospital introduced him to the record producer Quin Ivy. It reached No. 1 on the pop charts in 1966 and sold more than a million copies, becoming the label’s first gold record. (The Recording Industry Association of America began certifying records as gold in 1958.) Raw and lovelorn, the song was a response to a woman who had left him for another man, Mr. Sledge said. He called its composition a ’miracle.’”
2. “I Watch Therefore I Am.” Seven movies that teach us key philosophy lessons, as selected by Julian Baggini, Peter Singer, Slavoj Žižek, and more.
“In his Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel wrote that evil resides in the very gaze that perceives evil all around itself. Does Kim Ki-duk’s [Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring] not provide a perfect case of this insight? Evil is not just man’s possessive lust; evil is also the very detached gaze of the monk, which perceives possessive lust as evil. This is what, in philosophy, we call reflexivity: the standpoint from which we condemn a state of things can be itself part of this state of things.”
3. “Indirect Cinema.” Reverse Shot’s Eric Hynes reports from this year’s True/False.
“In contemporary documentaries a formal fluidity and ethical imprecision is at play—a fundamental, defining instability; this is illustrated both by the wide spectrum of offerings at True/False, and the even wider spectrum of responses they triggered. For all of the tide-rising buoyancy and near-utopian congeniality of True/False, what’s most impressive—and for a critic, quite seductive—about the festival is how activated the environment becomes with debate, discussion, and discovery. It’s a culture defined by lack of definition, of questioning and uncertainty, whether it’s over the ethics of Finders Keepers, a comedic Southern Gothic redemption story, or the very form of White Out, Black In, an obtuse, partly staged, borderline sci-fi evocation of a 1980s Brazilian police raid. It’s a festival at which Oppenheimer crossed paths with English archive-based journalist/essayist Adam Curtis, who crossed paths with fellow countryman, confrontational yellow journalist Nick Broomfield, who crossed paths with low-fi adventurers Bill & Turner Ross, who crossed paths with septuagenarian Polish masters, all breaking dough down at Shakespeare’s Pizza with the college kids.”
4. “Festival Report: Coachella 2015.” Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen reports from the festival.
“Coachella is getting better at presenting hip-hop and punk. Even if Vic Mensa’s unsteady mix of EDM-friendly hip-hop, R&B, and Kanye West affiliations doesn’t quite come off, he’s still pretty close to the current ideal for a 1:20 PM slot at Coachella—three years ago, the same would probably be said of an artist that sounds like Local Natives. Beyond Mensa, there was this year an inversion of what had typically been viewed as ’festival-appropriate’ afternoon acts. Action Bronson and Azealia Banks have a few things in common—two of the foulest mouths in hip-hop, discomfort within a major-label system and the suspicion that they think of hip-hop as a loss leader for other pursuits (’Fuck, That’s Delicious’ was given more burn in Action Bronson’s stage banter than Mr. Wonderful). And they are also two of hip-hop’s most commanding stage presences and were perfectly suited for the main stage in the afternoon: their voices are loud, they understand crowd interaction and how to establish an arc.”
5 “Love and Marriage: An Ultimate Journey.” For Fandor, Adrian Martin on L’Atalante and Journey to Italy’s visions of evolving romance.
“Jean Vigo, in his tragically short life (dead at twenty-nine), complained of the typical filmic romance of his time in which it takes ’two pairs of lips three thousand metres of film to come together and almost as many to come unstuck again.’ L’Atalante casts its immortal story of love within the mythical archetypes of the adventure tale: Jean (Jean Dasté) the seafaring adventurer, and Juliette (Dita Parlo) the city-craving settler. When tensions split them apart, they each experience distractions, temptations… and when they finally re-unite, Vigo makes us richly believe in the possibilities of rekindling the profound, passionate attachment between two soul mates.”
Video of the Day: Suffragette gets a teaser trailer:
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