Season 8 of Friends (NBC, 1994–2004) included an episode in which Monica and Chandler, en route to their honeymoon, are detained by TSA agents after Chandler mocks a TSA sign forbidding jokes about bombs. By the time the episode aired on October 11, 2001, however, the scene had been excised, its humor nullified in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The scene’s later resurrection as bonus material for a DVD box set—and, inevitably, on video and social-media platforms—reflects the sort of time-sensitive relationship between comedy and context that Philip Scepanski explores in Tragedy Plus Time: National Trauma and Television Comedy.
It has been more than a year since this editorial space filled with speculations about streaming films and the closing of theaters. It was with distinct excitement, then, that I began to read the reopening announcements. The beloved Paris Theater in New York City, with its lease now held by Netflix and with programming selected by former Museum of the Moving Image curator David Schwartz, trumpeted an Al Pacino retrospective. The Film Forum, that mainstay of downtown New York tastemaking, announced its theater’s reopening while retaining its virtual marquee, too.
James S. Williams From Film Quarterly, Summer 2021, Volume 74, Number 4 Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Ugly, hurtful, joyous, painful. —Steve McQueen This is how Steve McQueen presents his project in “Small Axe” (2020) to honor recent Black British history—a story of systemic injustice and discrimination, protest and resistance, that has never before been properly narrated in British cinema. 1 Yet despite its compelling period re-creation of London from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and its eminently accessible, linear and realist style (aided by low-lit, muted browns, greens, and blues shot by cinematographer Shabier Kirchner), the experience of watching this sweeping pentalogy—Mangrove; Red, White and Blue; Alex Wheatle; Lovers Rock; Education—often seems, paradoxically, to work against the historical record, even to the point of swerving away from Black history at the very moment of retrieving it. 2 One sees this most graphically in Mangrove, the only film to provide a date and location (“Notting Hill, London, 1968”) as a formal element. The film is just settling …
Steve McQueen’s anthology film series “Small Axe” (2020) enacts a visual historiography of West Indian life in London from the Windrush generation of the 1960s through the early 1980s. 1 Across Mangrove; Lover’s Rock; Red, White and Blue; Alex Wheatle; and Education, the series devises this history with distinct formats (film and digital, 16 mm and 35 mm), postproduction processes, and aspect ratios.
On May 13, 2021, the city of Philadelphia for the first time commemorated the 1985 bombing of the M.O.V.E. headquarters and the Philadelphia neighborhood that surrounded it. Film Quarterly marked the 30th anniversary of that event in 2015 with Karen Redrobe’s analysis of Louis Massiah’s landmark film on that tragedy, including the contribution of Toni Cade Bambara to the film and its research.
In her latest book, Realist Cinema as World Cinema: Non-Cinema, Intermedial Passages, Total Cinema, Lúcia Nagib suggests that the integrity with which The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and anonymous, 2012) presents its subjects—as performers, producers, and spectators of their own reenactments—directly affects their reality.
On January 22nd, João Luiz Vieira and FQ’s B. Ruby Rich moderated a discussion with FQ contributors Fábio Andrade, Marcelo Ikeda, Tatiana Monassa, Janaína Oliveira, and Lívia Perez about the New Brazilian Cinema.
Years before a pandemic left us sequestered at home and prompted a vogue for quarantine cinema, filmmaker Jennifer Brea showed what it’s possible to achieve from the confines not just of our houses, but of our beds.
Christina N. Baker on the rare phenomenon of Black characters finding love on screen.
Film Quarterly’s new webinar series showcasing the best in recent film and media studies publications continued on December 14th, 2020 with a conversation between Page Views editor Bruno Guaraná and Jaimie Baron about her new book, Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era (Rutgers University Press, 2020). In this era of fake news and digital manipulation, Reuse, Misuse, Abuse offers an urgent discussion of the ethical and political stakes involved in the repurposing of audiovisual media. Introduced by FQ editor-in-chief B. Ruby Rich. Bruno Guaraná’s interview with Jaimie Baron appears in the Winter 2020 issue of Film Quarterly. A pdf download of the introduction from Reuse, Misuse, Abuse will be available through the webinar and at https://filmquarterly.org.