The trailer for Meghan O’Hara and Mike Attie’s In Country (2014) opens with archival footage of the Vietnam War accompanied by a voice-over whose source is quickly revealed to be that of a man dressed in fatigues. The contrast between the grainy look of the archival footage and the crisp audio of the interview signals a dual temporality that is central to the film’s subject matter: an annual reenactment of the Vietnam War in the Oregon woods.
In 1962, a middle-aged cookbook author named Julia Child made an impromptu omelet on educational television. On the program “I’ve Been Reading” to discuss her new book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she commanded a hot plate and whisked up lunch for the tweed-clad academic host.
In 2002, Karim Aïnouz’s first feature film, Madame Satã, premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes with a trigger warning attached. One of the first queer feature films to come out of Brazil, it presented an unvarnished representation of a real-life character—João Francisco dos Santos, a street-smart drag queen—which evidently caused concern for the festival organizers. In the event, half of the audience walked out, incensed by a tensely homoerotic sex scene.
Taking Back the Legislature and Inside the Red Brick Wall depict two critical events in Hong Kong’s relentless 2019 protests, illuminating the messy scrum of direct actions in unflinching detail. Produced collectively and credited anonymously out of concern for the filmmakers’ safety, they present a formal challenge to the tropes and ethics of documentary filmmaking that have come to redefine Hong Kong cinema and the “copaganda” film as genre.
Not since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 that ended its Prague Spring, and the Chilean coup of 1973 that ended the presidency of Salvador Allende, has the film world been as galvanized by one country’s struggle as it has been in 2022 by Ukraine’s—though, of course, countless other global conflicts, atrocities, and deaths (Brazil, Yemen, Syria, Gaza) have also deserved such attention.
Girish Shambu on the cinema of futurity at International Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
A young black woman dressed to signal a 1920s time frame walks along an empty country road, holding an umbrella. She stops in front of a white man sitting beneath a large tree, slowly kneels in front of him, and removes her hat. We see a close-up of his hand before shifting to hers. She begins ripping his white robe, a garment unambiguously suggestive of a Ku Klux Klan costume.
On July 15th, Film Quarterly brought together filmmakers and scholars of Asian-American film and media for an urgent and dynamic webinar discussion of the spate of (renewed) violence against AAPI peoples.
On May 27th, FQ’s B. Ruby Rich moderated a discussion with FQ contributors Christian Rossipal and James Williams and filmmakers Amel Alzakout (Purple Sea, 2020) and Dagmawi Yimer (Asmat, 2015) on new forms of expression in documentaries about Europe’s refugee crisis.
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.