Culture

Masked armed guards keep watch over contestants during one of the show's deadly playground games.

‘Squid Game’ Hides a Hopeful Message Within a Dystopian Nightmare

Netflix’s new Korean horror drama suggests there’s more to life than the brutal realities of neoliberal capitalism.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die

New Bond Can’t Take On Beijing’s Supervillains

A whole genre of geopolitical spy thrillers is now off limits.

Parisians buy bread in August 1944, after years of living off of rations.

On Bread and Circuses

A new book traces the rise of bread with government.

The Bala Hissar historical compound in Kabul

A Taliban Challenge: To Learn the Lessons of History

What an ancient citadel can teach us about Afghanistan’s past—and its potential future.

Fishermen lay their nets on the Mekong River close to the site of an approved dam site near Luang Prabang, Laos, on Feb. 8 2020.

In Laos, a Dubious Dam Threatens Luang Prabang

A hydroelectric project could force UNESCO to delist the spectacular World Heritage Site.

German infantrymen folllow a tank toward Moscow in the snow in, 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. The image was published in. Signal, a magazine published by the German Third Reich. Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images

Panzers, Beans, and Bullets

This wargame explains how Russia really stopped Hitler.

A Femen protester holds a placard reading "The Future is Feminist" at a demonstration in Paris on March 7.

Aux Armes, Citoyen·nes!

Gender-neutral terms have sparked an explosive battle over the future of the French language.

Palestinians in Gaza lift a banner protesting the killing of Eyad al-Hallaq and George Floyd.

How Israel Lost the Culture War

Defending the colonial project of occupation won’t work in a world where racial justice has gone mainstream.

iran-zarif-bolivia

Iran’s Hard-Liners Are Using a TV Thriller to Undermine Their Rivals

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-linked spy drama “Gando” is designed to discredit moderate politicians before the June election.

A mujra dancer on stage in Pakistan.

‘Showgirls of Pakistan’ Doesn’t Need Your Victim Narrative

In a new documentary about mujra dancers, Saad Khan escapes the Western documentary complex to give his subjects the chance to speak in their own words.

A still from Pacific Rim: The Black.

Small Stories in an Age of Giant Monsters

The new Netflix show “Pacific Rim: The Black” finally lives up to the franchise’s internationalist potential.

Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Beeple

It’s a $69 Million JPEG, but Is It Art?

Cryptocurrency and high art are cooking up magic beans together with nonfungible tokens.

People visit the Bund in Shanghai

Seeking Truth From Fiction

The provocative short stories in “Land of Big Numbers” offer a window into ordinary life in China with rich material from a reporter’s notebook.

A photo from the film Quo Vadis, Aida?

Oscar-Shortlisted Film Puts Bosnian Genocide on Silver Screen

“Quo Vadis, Aida?” could do for the Srebrenica massacre what “Schindler’s List” accomplished for the Holocaust.

Director Terry George talks to Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame Celebrated ‘Hotel Rwanda’—Until Its Hero Criticized Him

Rwanda’s president once welcomed the Hollywood film. His recent attacks on the movie and its protagonist show that his government cannot handle dissent.

A man browses jewelry through the window of a shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on Feb. 12, 2020.

Prince of Persia

Tehran is cracking down on elite troublemakers—one influencer at a time.

Yeliz Guzel practices her musical instrument, the baglama—a kind of lute, in her one-room apartment in Mersin, Turkey, on Nov. 23, 2020.

Singing for Inclusivity in Turkey

Yeliz Guzel’s pride choir brought LGBTQ Turks together—but left her ostracized.

Paul Rusesabagina (C) is escorted by police officers at the Kicukiro Primary court in Kigali, Rwanda, on Sept.14, 2020.

When It Comes to Rwanda, Don’t Believe Everything You See in the Movies

Many Rwandans regard the protagonist of a Hollywood film as a terrorist, not a hero.