Say the words out loud: alpha—delta—omicron. Add whatever variant(s) have emerged since this article’s deadline. Greek-alphabet letters, recited like a chant, singsong, may sound like a nursery rhyme.
The fall equinox (the time of this writing) seemed to mark the world in its terms: literally and metaphorically light and dark, day and night, good and evil, floods and droughts, a global order torn between the forces of positive and negative energies.
Today, there are celebrations taking place across U.S. universities. The creation of Asian American studies centers and departments fifty years ago was the culmination of an effort by students, administrators, and community members to reorient American history, to engage directly in their communities, and to promote Asian American faculty research and hiring. By 1968, there had been at least three generations of Chinese, Filipinos, and Japanese in the United States, many engaged in profound political work, but what was new about the late sixties was the creation and institutionalization of a collective, pan-ethnic voice known as Asian America.
There was a dustup last fall over an op-ed by Martin Scorsese in the New York Times and his earlier interview with Empire magazine.1 Controversy erupted after he compared the movie franchises based on Marvel comic books to theme parks, saying they weren’t cinema, that he’d never go watch them, that they are ruining cinema. Hardly surprising! With the exception of his own delightful Hugo (2011) and his tireless World Cinema Project rescues of global film history, Scorsese is known for his own brand: a cinematic realism of hard streets, hard men, and hard mob battlegrounds, always set in specific pasts (New York, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Boston) and always etching the DNA of masculinity onto the screen with unfailingly precise craftsmanship.
Writing from Paris at the moment, a stone’s throw from the Archives Nationales, I can’t help but reflect on national character and the differences that span
Julia Reichert’s Brilliant Career
Marceline Loriden-Ivens: A Posthumous Interview
Decoding Russian Doll
Festivals: FESPACO at Fifty, Bologna, Toronto
Series: Decolonizing Cinema & New Arab Women’s Films
Columns: Mexico in the ’80s, Rural Race Genres & Brown Bodies in Brit Pop Culture
Bruce Lee counseled: “Be water, my friend,” alternately translated as “Be like water.” The protests that engulfed Hong Kong in early summer drew inspiration from the great martial-arts star, as reported by columnist Nicolas Atkin. He detailed how Lee’s famous saying “has become a clarion call among the young protesters” and “inspired a new form of guerilla tactics … with protesters moving in unexpected waves, rolling from one spot to another.” At the same time, as Atkin reminded readers, Jackie Chan has become persona non grata among these same young people for his pro-Beijing politics, which have tarnished his reputation.
Dirty Data: The Cleaners
Monos in Colombia
Miserabilism in Ray & Liz
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Ecology in Game of Thrones
Interview: Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera on The Infiltrators
Festivals: Cannes, Malaga
Roma, Roma, Roma
Claire Denis at her Most Tender
Julie Dash’s Televisual Legacy
Free Solo, Transit, Never Look Away
Festivals: Berlinale and Sundance
Reading Mira Nair
Film Quarterly can hopefully, with your help, contribute to the imperative to provoke, build, and revitalize the field of film and media studies beyond the acceptable and parochial, to push it to aim higher and think more creatively. Surely this is a time that demands not retreat, but the imagination to push forward and unsettle old assumptions. Where are the films and television and web series that can do that? FQ will keep looking, stay on the prowl, keep alert, and continue to bring reports and salutations, analyses and revelations, back to its readers.