This special dossier for Film Quarterly comprises a selection of essays that share the central idea that the work ahead for scholars in the current moment must be to appreciate what has been an ever-increasing complication of the idea of black film and media over the last ten years. This dossier considers significant trends, film and media objects, and clusters of work related to issues of blackness and questions of aesthetics, historiography, industrial practice, collectivity, politics, and culture. It is compelled by a shared belief that requires scholars to remain open to contemporary and future enactments while at the same time recognizing the momentum of the past.
Editor in Chief, B. Ruby Rich, weighs in on the latest in film and media culture. She recaps the recent Visible Evidence conference that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina; reviews the content of the current issue, and introduces the important dossier on black film and media.
Filmmaker and critic Caroline Golum weighs in on and takes issue with the recent New York Post op-ed on the moviegoing habits of Millennials.
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.
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.
FQ Editor-in-Chief B. Ruby Rich and guest issue editor Natalia Brizuela introduce FQ’s dossier on the work of Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, who died unexpectedly in 2014. Eduardo Coutinho, the greatest documentary filmmaker in the last half-century of Brazilian cinema, is woefully underrecognized in the United States and has not been adequately incorporated into the global history of documentary cinema. This dossier aims to open up conversations about the work of Coutinho in Anglophone cinema studies, and to encourage more scholarship on the subject.
FQ Associate Editor Regina Longo met with Bernie Cook in Washington, DC to speak about his book Flood of Images: Media, Memory, and Hurricane Katrina. The book’s publication marks the 10-year anniversary of the storm and its aftermath. As a native of New Orleans and a media scholar, Cook approaches the subject as both an insider and an outsider. Read the column and then download the free chapter of the book offered here for FQ readers, with special thanks to UT Press.
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.
Masculinist bias may explain why made-for-television movies—that most feminine and denigrated of television genres—were never considered “quality” until very recently. This summer, two telefeatures brought quality television’s innovations to small-screen docudrama.