Shin'ya Tsukamoto (right) and Andrew Garfield in Silence (2016). Cappa Defina Productions

Film

Scorsese’s Silence and the Catholic connection to the atomic bomb

Martin Scorsese's new film Silence will be shown to an audience of priests at the Vatican today. It tells the story of persecuted Christians in 17th century Japan - an event still remembered by Nagasaki's Catholic community.
Superheroes – and villains – are more popular than they’ve ever been.

Fandom

Why the world needs superheroes

From Wonder Woman to Doctor Strange, superheroes are at peak popularity. As political orthodoxies across the world fall away, these flawed, but good-hearted characters speak to modern anxieties.
The Theatre Royal in Hobart, Australia’s oldest continuously operating theatre. Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office/Flickr

Theatre

What are the great Australian plays? Refining our theatre canon

The idea of a 'canon' changes over time and despite its elitist overtones, identifying one can be both illuminating and fun. In a new series, we nominate the best of Australian drama.
A light graffiti image of Ms Dhu is projected on a building in Perth. Ethan Blue

Proof

Seeing Ms Dhu: how photographs argue for human rights

Noel Pearson has accused the ABC of racism in dwelling on indigenous alienation. But many advances in the status of Aboriginal Australians have been prompted by revealing ill-treatment, which is why Ms Dhu's family want footage of her last hours made public.
A march in Perth on Australia Day this year in support of Indigenous people. Angie Raphael/AAP

Australia Day

Changing the date – and a state of mind – from the westerly edges

Changing the date of Australia Day celebrations – as the City of Fremantle has done – is a move towards a less racist future. And when it comes to challenging insularity, there are other positive signs in Western Australia.
Punters cheer at the 2016 Glastonbury Festival. Revenue from live performances is growing. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Music in a digital age

Why music is not lost

In Australia, musicians' total income actually went up last year. While the music industry still faces many challenges, there is now a world-wide push to boost artists' royalties paid by streaming services such as Spotify.
A saxophone player busks in New York: as technology transforms their industry, quite a lot of musicians are leaving the field. Michael Tapp

Music in a digital age

Friday essay: the loss of music

Whenever you listen to a streamed song, like it but don't buy it and instead stream it again, you are casting a vote for the future nonexistence of professional musicians.
Detail of Mungurrawuy Yunipingu (Gumatj), Macassan Prau 1946. Berndt Collection, Berndt Museum, The University of Western Australia

Art

Long before Europeans, traders came here from the north and art tells the story

For centuries, fishing fleets from Sulawesi regularly visited Australia in search of trepang. Their visits were recorded orally and have been depicted in detailed artworks.
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, set for release on December 15. © Lucasfilm Ltd

Film franchises

Star Wars goes Rogue – but will this risky move backfire?

The next Star Wars film, which opens on December 15, will be a prequel to the first one, made in 1977. Just how much Star Wars can the world stomach? And is looking backwards to move forwards such a good idea?
Was persecution a consistent imperial policy, and what types of punishments were inflicted on Christians? The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883)/Wikimedia Commons

History

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – throwing Christians to the lions

The image of cowering Christians being thrown to the lions by Roman emperors is a grisly staple of popular culture. But how accurate is it?

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