Blue Is the Warmest Color won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Now the French drama is arriving in U.S. theaters amid controversy over its explicit sex scenes — and public difficulties between the director and his stars.
Director Steve McQueen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he wanted to help fill a "huge hole in the canon of cinema." And actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose parents are from Nigeria, says he grew up feeling "a sense of unity amongst African people and people of African heritage."
Yale historian David Blight says Americans like to think of themselves as "the country that freed the slaves," but prefer not to dwell on the sobering history that came first. He says the new film 12 Years a Slave is a rare, effective depiction of slavery in the United States.
The struggle of infertility can bring tensions to any marriage. The new film, Mother of George, shines a light on how that experience affects a newlywed Nigerian couple living in New York. Host Michel Martin speaks with director Andrew Dosunmu and actress Danai Gurira about the film.
Anita Elberse's new book, Blockbusters, examines the strategy behind making and marketing megahits. She tells NPR's Renee Montagne that content companies — publishers, movie studios and the like — can create blockbusters by dedicating most of their budgets to a select few likely winners.
The history of African-Americans is a long and complicated one. Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is trying to tell that story in a new PBS documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. He speaks to host Michel Martin about tracing the African-American experience from the second inauguration of President Obama to the first African explorer.
Solomon Northup, an African-American musician from New York, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He was eventually freed and wrote about his experience in Twelve Years a Slave, a memoir that has inspired a new film adaptation. But by the end of the Civil War, he dropped off the public record.
Many film critics have called 12 Years A Slave hard to watch because of its graphic and emotional content. Host Scott Simon talks with Slate's movie expert, Dana Stevens, about why we sit through difficult movies.
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