Welcome to Issue 82 of Senses of Cinema. To begin 2017, we decided to celebrate films that turn 50 this year in a bumper dossier we’ve simply titled 1967: Love Letters. As the title indicates, this is not an attempt to construct a canon of ‘great films’ released that year, but rather to offer our writers a space to celebrate with knowledge and passion the half-century anniversary of films that have left a lasting impression on them. 1967 was a year when the art cinema of Europe consolidated its innovative perspective on narrative and the image. It also is the year that heralded the death of the USA’s infamous Production Code, which had seen a regime of self-censorship on Hollywood for over thirty years, and those who emerged in its wake were the film school graduates and theatre directors that would shape the American cinema into the next century. 1967 saw cinema break new ground, testing what cinema could achieve and exposing a critical view at a time of great cultural and political turmoil. We want to celebrate these incredible developments that ushered in a new social and artistic landscape through just some of the distinctive, bold, innovative films of this extraordinary period in history. These include Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend, David Cronenberg’s From the Drain, Volker Schlöndorff’s A Degree of Murder, Joseph Losey’s Accident, Eric Rohmer’s La Collectioneuse, Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade, Wolfgang Reitherman’s The Jungle Book, Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, Dušan Makavejev’s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill, Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason, Jacques Tati’s Playtime, José Mojica Marins’ This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, Peter Watkins’ Privilege, David Lynch’s Six Men Getting Sick, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (released in 1966 but winning the Palme d’Or in 1967), John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye, Peter Emanuel Goldman’s Echoes of Silence, Mark Robson’s Valley of the Dolls and Bryan Forbes’s The Whisperers. As we note in the introduction to the dossier, this is by no means an exhaustive list and we direct your attention there to the many other films so crucial to cinema history released that year (including links to a number of pieces on those films in our own archives).
In our second dossier Movements: Filmmaker Interviews we are proud to include a number of fascinating interviews with an impressive line-up of filmmakers: Tomáš Hudák talks to Spanish director Jaime Rosales about his filmography, Kamran Rastegar speaks with British-Moroccan filmmaker Tala Hadid about her 2014 film The Narrow Frame of Midnight, Amir Ganjavie interviews French cinema darling Bruno Dumont about Slack Bay (2016), Isabella McNeill talks to Australian director Rachel Perkins about her latest film, Jasper Jones (2017) and Brigitta Wagner continues her annual series of interviews with directors of the Berlinale Forum, with her interview with Nana & Simon, whose My Happy Family has just premiered at the Sundance and (of course) Berlin festivals .
In our feature section this issue, Dean Brandum offers a satellite piece to our 1967 dossier exploring the distribution of British cinema in Chicago in 1967 and why it was such a crucial moment not only in the history of British film internationally but also how it reflected the many changes in American cinema culture that occurred during this period. Andrea Grunert provides an in-depth reflection on the career of iconic Japanese actor Toshirō Mifune, while Bruce Hodsdon explores the most recent film by Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski, 11 Minutes (2016). Dan Golding and Billy Stevenson offer two different perspectives on a film garnering as much attention for the debates surrounding it as the film itself, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (2016).
We also have three important additions to our Great Directors database this issue, with Jytte Holmqvist writing on the Spanish director Ventura Pons, Joanna Batsakis on the directorial career of Hollywood provocateur Dennis Hopper, and Ben McCann on French filmmaker Julien Duvivier.
In our book reviews section Swagato Chakravorty writes on the volume Thinking in the Dark: Cinema, Theory, Practice, edited by Murray Pomerance and R. Barton Palmer (eds.). John Edmond reviews Saige Walton’s Cinema’s Baroque Flesh: Film, Phenomenology and the Art of Entanglement, and Hiu M. Chan reviews Victor Fan’s Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory.
A number of the most prominent film festivals take place at the beginning of the year and we bring you coverage of Berlinale and the Berlin Critics Week (three perspectives), Sundance, Rotterdam, as well as a look at Tallinn Black Nights, Mar del Plata, Vancouver and AFI/AFM/Pan-African Film and Arts Festival in Los Angeles from late 2016.
We would also like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome Dr Mark Freeman to the Senses of Cinema editorial team. Mark started with a bang and pulled together our 2016 World Poll. He has already made his warm and knowledgeable presence felt, and we look forward to working with him in future issues.