The idea that a struggle can be waged via cinema is an appealing one today, as so many other battlefields seem already lost. For me, there is always hope lurking in film and television and, increasingly, online media. Political obstacles may seem insurmountable, but as I am fond of declaring: nobody has to elect a film. You can buy your ticket or download the new season or share the latest upload or streaming evidence and—at press time, at least—no one can stop you.
Editor B. Ruby Rich weighs in on the latest issue of FQ, new revivals in a time of duress, trends in distribution, FQ’s approach to watching, writing, thinking about cinema and media in a time of ongoing political repression, and more.
FQ Editor-in-Chief B. Ruby Rich weighs in on the latest issue of FQ, new trends in streaming, FQ‘s panel at Film Society of Lincoln Center, and what media makers, critics, and scholars might do toward a new “cinema of urgency.”
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.”
FQ Editor-in-Chief B. Ruby Rich’s survey of the Winter 2016 issue. Her roadmap for navigating the ideas, authors, films, TV shows, and interviews featured within; a reflection on the state of film and media criticism, the beginning of awards season, and special tributes to Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor and Curtis Hanson.
FQ Editor-in-Chief B. Ruby Rich’s quarterly roundup of the issue: Fall 2016, Volume 70, Number 1. The issue pays homage to Chantal Akerman with a special dossier co-edited with Ivone Margulies. Rich also weighs in on being female onscreen and online, and the origins of Girlpower. She charts a course for readers through this special issue that also includes the first English translations of some of Akerman’s work, Laura Mulvey on the Jeanne Dielman universe, an in-depth feature article on Mati Diop’s documentary MILLE SOLEILS, columns by Paul Julian Smith and Amelie Hastie, festival coverage, and more.
FQ Editor-in-Chief B. Ruby Rich’s roundup of the Summer 2016 issue: Volume 69, Number 4. Rich recalls the early years of university-level film history courses, assesses the barrage of industry news that lands on her desk daily, and pays homage to Richard Dyer, who was honored by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies at their annual conference. Dyer’s first published monograph, GAYS AND FILM (1977), came into the world in a vacuum. There was simply no such field. Today, it is difficult to comprehend the force of imagination and courage required to launch such a career at such a time. Forty years ago, a grand ballroom would not have filled with people and applause for a gay scholar; today, it was unremarkable that one did.
I remember when. Today, conversations that recall an era when there were only a handful of broadcast channels, no internet, and only a few repertory houses for relief do really sound like dad or grandpa reminiscing about World War II or Vietnam: a nod to a time that seems at once tedious and unimaginable.
“People need a screen.” With those words, author/activist Naomi Klein galvanized the room at the CBC Glenn Gould Theatre, where a daylong documentary discussion was held in September in conjunction with the Toronto International Film Festival [see “Toronto Turns Forty” in this issue]../
Documentary has been in the grip of a shape-shifting transformation, thanks to shifts in technologies, genre, journalism, and the status of evidence and veracity. Not since the 1980s—when the invention of camcorders, VHS tape, and VCR machines, alongside the debut of cable television, fueled the last great upheaval—has the field been so explosively inventive and destabilized