Author: Film Quarterly


As Catherine Russell observes in her new book, Archiveology: Walter Benjamin and Archival Film Practices, countless moving images are now easily accessible for recycling and remixing. No longer the primary domain of experimental artists, the retrieval and reassembling of audiovisual fragments have become widespread creative practices in contemporary media: “The death of ‘film’ and the rise of digital media,” she notes, “have effectively enabled and produced a new critical language that we are only really learning to speak.”

Bong’s Song

Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (2017) hops across genres and moods. Part Lassie Come Home (Fred M. Wilcox, 1943) with a girl and her giant pig instead of a boy and his loyal dog; part Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985), also a comic and nightmarish sci-fi; part Capitalism, a Love Story (Michael Moore, 2009) for its lessons in greed, with Tilda Swinton playing twin heads of a transnational biotech corporation; it pleads a serious case for animal rights and vegetarianism as well. Bong has an eccentric genius for songs and scoring, few other living directors make musical choices that are as boldly unconventional. Bong goes musically hog wild in this pig movie. When the apotheosis arrives halfway through the film, it is with a song: John Denver’s “Annie’s Song.” Almost every review of Okja mentions this outlandish pairing of music and visuals. Bong has frequently employed songs cleverly in his films, but never in as deep and many-layered way as in Okja. Gorman pursues Bong’s particular use of songs in his oeuvre to unearth other surprises, and notes that there is a still deeper auteurist vein to be mined for further insight on how “Annie’s Song” works in Okja.

She Can Do It

Editor in Chief, B. Ruby Rich, weighs in on the latest in film and media culture. She recaps the recent “Dimensions in Black” event that FQ hosted at Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City to launch our December 2017 issue; reviews the content of the current issue; pays tribute to notable voices in the field that have passed on; and hints at things to come in FQ’s 60th anniversary year.

Dimensions in Black

“Dimensions in Black: Perspectives on Black Film and Media.”  The live launch of FQ 71.2 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on December 5, 2017. This event featured the dossier authors and editor in conversation with each other and the audience.

2017 in Review

Happy new year, everyone!
“FQ” the Film Quarterly podcast presents REFLECTIONS ON FILM IN 2017. Bilal Qureshi, columnist of “Elsewhere,” and B. Ruby Rich, Editor, Film Quarterly, wrap up the year by discussing some highlights. It is a step outside of listmania– have a listen and share!

A Conversation with Tessa Dwyer on the Risky Business of Subtitling

Translation, broadly conceived, has been an underlying theme for much of my own research and work recently, but it is a subject that Tessa Dwyer has obviously thought through on many levels, for many years. I must admit, when I first read this book, I expected it to be bounded by the discipline of translation studies. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that Dwyer addresses so much more. From the outset of Speaking in Subtitles she asserts that translation in any media form entails risk. This gambit is an effective way to encourage readers to question their own positionalities vis-a-vis the subject and object of translation in film. What is at stake when shifting the hierarchies between sound, image, and words in a film? What is lost? What is gained? What might be a vestigial artifact or unexpected outcome?