In this current era of ours, in which war and bloodshed escalate uncontrollably and young adults run through the streets in euphoria at the end of a decade of political oppression (their worldwide counterparts unfamiliar to the price of democracy), where lies the cinema? In struggling to understand the reason, the purpose why we immerse ourselves wholeheartedly and ceaselessly in countless fictional worlds when our own is so desperate and so patched I arrive at an understanding of art. As a reflection, a refraction – as some kind of expression – of lives, emotions, ideas, human relationships, experiences and forms of art itself, art can be one of the strangest, most complex and most mysterious forms of expression. And for these reasons it is absolutely necessary. The way and the process in which film takes something from the world – and here it can be influenced by personal or political experience – and then gives it to back to us can open up fully mysterious, fulfilling and revelatory possibilities. Of course, every art form has a history and various aesthetic traditions. The weight of history dominates this issue with two very excellent and necessary tributes to the recently deceased B-grade American filmmaker extraordinaire Joseph H. Lewis and French filmmaker Claude Sautet. In the rush of the new millennium and the rise and rise of commercial, mainstream cinema, it is increasingly important to remember the legacies and the amazing achievements of these filmmakers’ bodies of work.
The search into cinema history continues in this issue with two new sections “Underrated and Overlooked” and “Favourite Films”, which brought out many cinephiles around the globe in their willingness to share with others films that they adore yet that remain unknown generally. Perhaps the most significant contribution here is Rhys Graham’s piece on Bill Douglas which serves as both an unnerving obituary and a reminder to support and encourage those whose vision is often a solitary quest on the edges of convention.
A poetic and insightful daily digest of American cinema by Noël Herpe is a must read for anyone interested in the work of culture that goes on implicitly, between the splices, of mainstream American cinema, a cinema which dominates global popular culture.
There are three director-focused features in this issue: Joseph H. Lewis, Claude Sautet and Japan’s Takeshi Kitano. Kitano’s precise, lucid and beautiful formalism and unbound imagination has struck the hearts of film buffs around the globe since the early ’90s. His second most recent film Kikujiro screens in Australia shortly as part of the Silk Screen, Columbia Tri-Star initiated series.
The final season of the National Cinémathèque promises to be an exciting closure: highlights include Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, Parts 1A & 1B, which is discussed in this issue by Adrian Martin; Martin Arnold’s Alone: Life Wastes Andy Hardy, discussed by Michael Zryd; and Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together, discussed by Joe McElhaney. There is also excellent writing on I Confess in this issue, another Cinémathèque highlight, by two renowned Hitchcock scholars: Bill Krohn and Ken Mogg.
Festival reports from Toronto, Vancouver and New York give us a taste of what is showing on the festival circuit. There is also a great section on the textual relationships between novel and film, a riveting section on the remake of Hitchock’s Psycho by Van Sant – globally denounced. There is also a series of excellent interviews: Geoff Gardner interviews Hanif Kureishi; the irrepressible Gabe Klinger interviews Japanese director Sabu; and Liu Xuan interviews Hong Kong independent filmmaker Kal Ng. And don’t miss a fabulous article that defends Three Colours: Blue from inaccurate and (over)loaded film criticism.
A big Thank-You to all who contributed to the issue. A special thank you, also, to Gabrielle Murray for providing invaluable editorial assistance.
And, finally, permanent and unbound thanks to the Senses of Cinema Godfather, Adrian Martin.
Watch out for the next issue…but enjoy this one first!
Fiona A. Villella