When this journal was first conceived it was never envisaged that it would exist in the shape that it does today. Compared to the modest size of Issue 1, December 1999, which was comprised of 8 articles, the current issue includes over 35 articles not including the ‘CTEQ Annotations’ – a figure which has been approximated for the last four issues. Yes, the journal has grown, but it has also continued to fill the gap and address the aims that it was originally set up to achieve. These are primarily to provide the space for eclectic, serious and passionate discussion of film, especially underground and alternative cinema. As the editor of Senses of Cinema, I will continue to steer the journal in this direction.
I am excited to present the current issue, which includes essays and interviews on Greek cinema and the Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami. The latter is one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding filmmakers working today, and should be discussed and acknowledged. Melbourne audiences were fortunate to see Kiarostami’s latest masterpiece The Wind Will Carry Us at the 49th Melbourne International Film Festival, which concluded mid-August. Also screening at the Festival were two films by Jem Cohen, Benjamin Smoke and Amber City. In this issue, Rhys Graham provides a fascinating interview with this most spirited and prolific filmmaker. In addition there are essays on Beat cinema, the films of Philippe Garrel and John Cassavetes, modernism in early Australian film, the critical worthiness of the trailer by UK-writer Brad Stevens, Ghost Dog, a comprehensive coverage of the Melbourne International Film Festival, reports from other festivals around the world, a wonderful book review on two recently-released studies of Hong Kong cinema and intriguing, provocative reviews of current releases. On a less positive note, this issue includes a eulogy by long-time admirer Philip Brophy to Jack Nitzsche, who recently passed away. Philip’s moving eulogy is a reminder – in this hype-driven, commercialised society – of the many outsiders and loners who work on the fringes of social and aesthetic convention, and whose achievements rarely are acknowledged or appreciated. An important aim of Senses of Cinema is to acknowledge the work of such visionaries.
In addition, there is a solid section on contemporary Australian cinema. Philip Tyndall pays a heartfelt tribute to Paul Cox whilst important recent films like Heaven’s Burning and Metal Skin are paid intelligent critical attention. The symposium on suburbia in Australian film brings together a range of contributors – academics, writers, students, an architect, and critics – to reflect on this intriguing topic.
Thank you to everyone who contributed, and for making the issue what it is. Special thanks go to Geoff Gardner and Nicole Brenez for their unfailing and prompt help and, of course, to Adrian Martin, the journal’s indispensable Godfather.
Fiona A. Villella