When I was growing up in Pakistan in the 1980s, the combination of cultural censorship by the Islamic Republic and the ban on foreign imports stunted any prospects for global cinephile development. With cinemas shuttered, VHS bootlegging thrived but was largely focused on Bollywood’s tackiest melodramas. During any rare evening broadcast of an English-language film on state television, scenes deemed “non-halal” would abruptly transition into large pixelated forms instead of being spliced out altogether.
The 2019 Hong Kong protests witnessed not only sustained physical demonstrations by locals, but also a swell of online digital media that recorded and remixed conflicts between protestors and police. By documenting key moving images that circulated throughout social media and the film festival circuit, White’s essay reorients Hong Kong film studies’ relationship with the digital.
It is a human habit, perhaps, to project the present into the future—a default mode that drives forward even when the road has crumbled. So it was with film in Year One of the pandemic, characterized by a state of denial shaded with panic. By the end of 2020, film festivals were adjusting their schedules according to an imaginary “after” as if the vaccine were set to materialize imminently, universally, and magically everywhere, to step out from behind the curtain and restore life to what it used to be: movie theaters open, film festivals under way.
The New Butch Middlebrow
Streaming Streets: Hong Kong’s Digital Media
Helena Ignez, Brazil’s Unknown Superstar
Mediterranean Border Crossings
Interview with Michelle Porte
Churails: Revenge and Censorship
Queer Revolutionary Docs, From Puto to Bixa
Lucia Nagib’s Realist Cinema
Linnéa J. Hussein on the ethical meaning and significance of masks on screen.
Marc Francis offers a mock-treatment of a mockumentary about Barr and Trump’s faux investigation.
Dossier on the New Brazilian Cinema: Aesthetics and Emergencies from Lula to Dilma to Bolsonarismo
Dawn Hudson’s Documentaries and Civil Rights History
Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You
Latin American’s Women’s Pictures
Page Views: the Ethics of Appropriation
B Ruby Rich and João Luiz Vieira survey recent trends in contemporary Brazilian cinema.
Over the first months of the pandemic, the internet filled with streaming playlists, Zoom masterpieces, and classic revivals. The litany of canceled or virtual film festivals had become the new normal, with everything from SXSW to Cannes to Telluride called off or moved entirely online, and then evolving into hybrids or customized drive-ins.
Marc Francis on the resurgence of drive-ins, and the possibilities they hold.