Following the eruption of racial violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the 1943 US War Department film, Don’t Be a Sucker, went viral, suggesting that news outlets and social media users found its message to be newly relevant. Don’t Be a Sucker, which warns Americans of the perils of falling for divisive fascist rhetoric, was one of countless films, radio broadcasts, and television specials produced by governmental and civic organizations during the mid-twentieth century.
The earthquake of September 19 left me shaken but unharmed in my Mexico City hotel. Others were not so lucky. Hard hit was the Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive in Tepoztlán, an hour or so outside Mexico City. The invaluable archive is dedicated to very neglected fare: the rich heritage of Mexican popular film, especially the unique genres of wrestling movies and fichera (showgirl) features.
The Cinémathèque Française in Paris announced it would present a major retrospective of Arzner’s films in March and April. Whatever one might say about the many treasures of the Cinémathèque, one fact is incontrovertible: women film directors have never figured prominently. Could the Arzner program offer a refreshing change in the Cinémathèque’s offerings, perhaps even a sign that traditional French cinephilia is loosening its hold on French film culture? Sadly, not.
Jonathan Demme’s death has moved the film world. Jonathan Demme was a founding member of a cinematic generation. He started out with Roger Corman, then left Hollywood to go back East and hung his shingle in New York city at the exact moment when the independent film movement began. Never an intellectual or theorist of his own work, he could be scorned as cinema-lite, yet the eulogies piling up reveal how universally beloved he was. FQ has always paid attention to Demme. Here are two articles from the FQ archives to mark his passing.
Something troubling is happening in the film world in Albania. Some weeks ago, the country’s Institute for Communist Crimes proposed that films from the country’s communist era (1946-1991) should be banned from television. They argued that screening movies made during these 45 years would encourage nostalgia for the old Enver Hoxha regime which was, of course, an oppressive dictatorship in many ways. Its labor camps and prisons were places of terror. Many were murdered because of their political dissent or non-conformism. But banning the estimated 200 films made by the Albanian Film Institute from 1945 and then the Kinostudio from 1952 would be a counter-productive way to deal with the wounds of the past.
In Memoriam: Brian Henderson. April 17, 1941- March 1, 2017. Brian Henderson wrote frequently for FQ and was a longtime member of the FQ Editorial Board. To celebrate his contribution to the field of film and media studies, we offer here his first feature-length article published in FQ’s pages.
On December 13, 2016, a month after the presidential election, Film Quarterly organized an emergency panel with the sponsorship of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Staged amid the political aftershocks, the event at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center’s Amphitheater brought together eight panelists from wildly divergent arenas to engage a rapt audience with its central theme: “Film & Media in A Time of Repression: Practices and Aesthetics of Resistance.”