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.
Laura Horak’s first monograph, Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, 1908–1934, is refreshing and invigorating. In a moment when pop culture is ablaze with stories of the “novelty” of transgender and gender nonconforming people, FQ Associate editor Regina Longo was delighted to sink into a thoroughly researched book on this subject that was ten years in the making. Read the column and then download the free chapter of the book offered here for FQ readers.
To judge by the critical enthusiasm with which the second season of Amazon Prime’s Transparent (2014–) series has been embraced, Jill Soloway not only has a big trans-affirmative hit on her hands but has succeeded in stimulating a lively conversation about queerness, trans politics, and television representation within the broader society.
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.
The Centre Pompidou in Paris recently celebrated the centenary of Marguerite Duras’s birth with minimal means and quiet panache: an exhibit, “Duras Song,” occupied a corner of the Centre’s public library while a complete retrospective of all her films was shown in the Centre’s movie theaters. Critic William Caroline reviews the exhibit and comments on the new perspective on the artist’s life and work that it offers.
Kathleen McHugh’s essay is accompanied by video clips that can be viewed here. Jane Campion and Jenji Kohan each premiered television series in 2013 that used genre to facilitate pointed interventions in postfeminist representational paradigms. Along with other contemporary female-centered television series, Campion’s Top of the Lake and Kohan’s Orange is the New Black have garnered extensive popular and promotional attention. That discourse, together with commentary regarding Campion and Kohan as feminist auteurs, provides a discursive environment for Top and Orange at odds with much postfeminist female-centered programming that has emerged since Ally McBeal (1997) defined the paradigm.
SPECIAL DOSSIER ON RICHARD LINKLATER; plus Citizenfour, Top of the Lake and Orange Is the New Black, Jauja, Page Views, and more…
Columnist Amelie Hastie reflects on the fairy tale that inspired the film, and the actress who embodied the role of Maleficent. As the narrator tells us, the worlds are united “not by a hero or a villain” as was predicted, but by “one who was both hero and villain.” Such complex and intertwined dualities define this film, just as they also define the film’s genre. In his study of the fantastic, Tzvetan Todorov claims one of its elements as the “duration of uncertainty.” As he writes, “In a world which is indeed our world, the one we know . . ., there occurs an event which cannot be explained by the laws of this same familiar world. The person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either [s]he is the victim of the illusion of the senses, of a product of the imagination . . . or else the event has indeed taken place.” He reiterates later: “Either total faith or total incredulity would lead us beyond the fantastic: it is hesitation which sustains its life.”
At times it can seem that cinema, at least its American variant, inhabits a prolonged adolescence in which images of sex are at once omnipresent and puerile, in a “can’t look too close but can’t look away” manner. But why? Why should sex be any harder to credit in movies than murder?