A ‘Tragedy and a Miracle’ in the Andes

Society of the Snow Revisits a 1972 Plane Crash—And Helps Explain Why It Remains Ingrained in the Uruguayan National Memory

At the beginning of Society of the Snow, Spain’s entry for Best International Feature Film for the upcoming Academy Awards, there is a scene in a Catholic church in Montevideo, Uruguay, where a priest can be heard stating that “Man does not live by bread alone.”

It’s the first indication that the film, about the 1972 Uruguayan plane crash in the Andes, will be centered on the spiritual and explicitly religious dimension of the experience.

The story of the crash is, at this point, ingrained in the Uruguayan national memory: In October, …

How Hollywood’s Black Friday Strike Changed Labor Across America

A 1945 Union vs. Studios Battle Set Off Broad Right-Wing Hysteria—Its Lessons Should Resonate Today

It was October 5, 1945. The Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), a union representing craft laborers in Los Angeles, including painters, carpenters, set designers, cartoonists, and others, was seven months …

How a French Nobel Laureate Remembers Things Past

On Paper and Film, Annie Ernaux Probes History for Questions, Not Answers

Memory is an imperfect reflector of lived experience. We look back through a series of lenses, and our focal mechanisms shift with the light. Personal memory is shape-shifted by history—what …

Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories

The Spectral Tales We Tell Respond to Our Deepest Desires—Especially on a Long, Dark Winter’s Night

Popularized by Charles Dickens in his 1843 A Christmas Carol, as well as in the yuletide editions of his literary magazine, All the Year Round, ghost stories were regular Christmas …

Will the Superhero Blockbusters Just Keep Coming?

The Latest Marvel Installment Promises Something Old, Something New, and Thor Feeling Blue—Mirroring the Genre’s Serial Nature

In the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, the titular protagonist sets out on a journey of self-discovery, trying to give new meaning to a life spent fighting errant gods, space …

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Elvis Is an American Tragedy. Elvis Is Just Tragic

The Singer’s Story Has a Lot to Say About This ‘Pitiful Country’—But Baz Luhrmann’s Biopic Ain’t Nothin’ But a Dog

There’s much to be said about Elvis Presley, the quote-unquote King of Rock ‘n’ Roll who shook the country as a white kid singing Black America’s music.

But despite its nearly …