Syrian Cellphone Documentaries
Rithy Panh’s Exiles
Emiko Omori’s Camera Eye
Virtual Reality: Beyond the Platform
Casting JonBenet, Multiple Maniacs,
Their Finest, The Jewel and the Crown,
Bellas de noche, Plaza del la Soledad
Reports from True/False, Full Frame, Orphans
By happy coincidence, Mexico in 2016 yielded two expert and moving documentaries on women, sex, and aging: María José Cuevas’s Bellas de noche (Beauties of the Night) and Maya Goded’s Plaza de la Soledad (Solitude Square). Both are first-time features by female directors. And both are attempts to reclaim previously neglected subjects: showgirls of the 1970s and sex workers in their seventies, respectively. Moreover, lengthy production processes in which the filmmakers cohabitated with their subjects have resulted in films that are clearly love letters to their protagonists.
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.
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.
James Baldwin: Vocalizing History
Digital Sovereignty Online
Billy Woodberry’s Return to Form
Thriller’s Queer Feminist History
Rotterdam & Sundance Festivals
Writings on Juana Inés, Jackie, Earth
and Kate Plays Christine
RIP John Berger
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.
Interviews with Barry Jenkins, and Maren Ade
Girl Power on Screen in Girlhood, The Fits, Arrival, Into the Forest, and Certain Women
Queen Sugar in Column Debut
Cuban Retrospective at DocLisboa
RIP Juan Gabriel
Chantal Akerman’s sound strategies are defining elements of a unique film language noted for effects that feel close to direct experience and seem to approximate the passing of real time. Drawing from a range of Akerman’s films, from Saute Ma Ville (1968) to No Home Movie (2015), five categories of sound that are of special interest in Akerman’s films are considered: walking, talking, singing (music), exploding, and silence. Local examples are analyzed to give a sense of how, within these five categories, Akerman cultivated an overall tactic of desynchron- ization – often separating layers of sound from one another within the soundtrack, and always working the soundtrack as a whole against the visual image track – to amplify effects of immediacy and temporal complexity, and to generate layers of meaning powerfully but indirectly.
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.
A special dossier on Chantal Akerman with articles by dossier co-editor Ivone Margulies, Laura Mulvey, and an interview by B. Ruby Rich; plus the first English language translations of some of Akerman’s work, a post-mortem bibliography of writing on Akerman, a special video tribute to Akerman and the importance of sound in her films by Barbara McBane; a report from the goEAST film festival, and a rich slate of book reviews round out this “back to school” issue.