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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Good news of 2020: The cultural reawakening

Vienna offered cultural treats to those willing to ditch their cars: For a trial period in February, a group of people living in Vienna who traveled on foot, by bike or by public transport could accrue culture tokens, and exchange them for tickets at no charge to some of Vienna’s most respected arts venues — including a prominent concert hall, theater and contemporary art gallery — Bloomberg reports. 20 kilograms of carbon savings, earned by roughly two weeks of going car-free, was enough for one token, which could then be redeemed for a ticket. Great news for culture lovers, as there were no limits to the number of tokens that could be obtained — though once you had five, you had to start using them before earning more. Vienna’s cultural activities are already heavily subsidized, but will this pilot project spur a longer-term drive to park the cars? Who knows, but it’s a good start.

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In Prague, drive-in films and live outdoor performances kept the joy of live art alive: A Prague arts festival that ran from late April to the end of June had the dual aim of helping performers unable to work due to lockdown measures, while offering an alternative to viewers sick of streaming TV shows at home, Positive News reports. Art Parking saw weeknight drive-in film screenings at an old train station, along with weekend live outdoor theater and music performances throughout Prague. Key to the movement was the desire to meet the appetite for live art, during a period where virtually everything had shifted online, according to festival organizers. With ticket sales high, they’ve looked at rolling the festival out to cities throughout the country, they said.

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Acclaimed South Korean film Parasite swept the board at the Academy Awards: Described as a “superbly written, horribly fascinating comedy-drama” by the Guardian’s notoriously selective film critic Peter Bradshaw, Parasite addresses “status envy, aspiration, materialism, the patriarchal family unit and the idea of having (or leasing) servants.” To say more than that would give the game away. But having already dominated the BAFTAS and the Golden Globes, Parasite scored the proverbial hat-trick by winning big at this year’s Academy Awards. Wins included Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and most impressively of all, Best Picture — making it the first South Korean film to win an Academy Award but the first foreign film ever to win the academy’s highest honor, Vice reports. Haven’t seen it yet? You can watch the trailer here.

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