This is a very special issue for Senses of Cinema, as it marks our first international collaboration with a fellow cinema journal, as well as our first joint bilingual issue. We have partnered with Iconica: Pensamiento cinematografico to publish the dossier “Latin American Cinema Today: An Unsolved Paradox”, which explores the state-of-affairs of the cinema emanating from countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile, as well as indigenous filmmaking in the region. This dossier is co-edited by Senses’ César Albarrán-Torres and Icónica’s Abel Muñoz Hénonin. In this dossier we also include a chat that Marco Abel had with João Moreira Salles, a leading voice in Brazilian documentary filmmaking. We also offer a non-comprehensive guide to recent films from the region, including films from countries that do not have a dedicated feature article, including Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. Bienvenidos.
Since the success of X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000s superheroes have dominated mainstream cinema and television. Reflecting this wider interest, Australia produced the superhero TV show Cleverman in 2016. With a largely Indigenous Australian cast and crew, the series used the superhero metaphor to engage with a range of socio-political issues, in particular the hardships faced by Australia’s first peoples. To coincide with the launch of a major exhibition on the ground-breaking series at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Angela Ndalianis and Liam Burke have edited a dossier, “Cleverman and Australian Superheroes”, that considers Australia’s engagement with the superheroes genre with a particular focus on Cleverman. Opening the dossier, Liam Burke draws on over a hundred interviews with superhero fans and creators to examine Australians’ resistance to costumed crimefighters and considers how Cleverman surmounts these obstacles. Kevin Patrick provides a detailed account of those indigenous Australian superheroes produced by overseas creators like Marvel and DC Comics, revealing how they often perpetuate long-standing stereotypes. Paul Atkinson uses theories of vitalism to unmask how Cleverman celebrates the natural body. Concluding the dossier with a transmedia perspective, Tara Lomax charts how Cleverman is now being extended into a larger storyworld that spans television and comics. This dossier demonstrates how the superhero genre that was once heavily associated with US popular culture can be reworked to reflect local interests and culture.
In our features section for this issue we have a tremendous mix of analysis and interviews with some excellent filmmakers. Andy Rice takes us into the world of Irene Lusztig in a very astute, perceptive interrogation of her approach to documentary and to the process of embodied listening. Matthew Mason takes a fresh perspective on the well-loved Australian classic The Castle (Rob Sitch, 1997) and proposes ways the film facilitates approaches to identity and over-identification. Philip Brophy analyses the notion of the post-human in the opening titles for the HBO sci-fi show Westworld, which feature humanoid skeletons engaging in anthropomorphic activities. Peter Rist discusses The Nitrate Picture Show and the relationship between film stock technology and creative expression in film. In a novel approach to the films of Charles Chaplin, Macy Todd remembers Kid Auto Races at Venice and draws parallels to contemporary forms of audiencing and performance. Also, Annabel Brady-Brown has a great discussion with director Ted Wilson and editor James Vaughan about the making of their documentary Under the Cover of Cloud.
In our round-up of the global festival scene, we have Saige Walton’s perspective on the Adelaide Film Festival, Marc Raymond on Busan, Maria San Filippo on Telluride, Tara Judah on London, Lucian Tion on Hanoi, Jackson Arn on New York, Darren Hughes on Toronto, Leonardo Goi on Venice, Maria Giovanna Vagenas on Viennale, Bérénice Reyaud on Vancouver, Randy Malamud on Stockholm, and Carmen Gray on some recent films at Odesa and Doclisboa.
And in our Great Directors section, Jeremy Carr offers insight into the career and legacy of Alexander Dovzhenko, while Ruth Richards gives an homage to the great anime director Isao Takahata, who died in April this year. We are also republishing the profiles for Nicolas Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci, film titans who recently passed away.
As it’s December, it’s time once more for the Senses of Cinema World Poll, which gives all of you the chance to share a list of the best films you have seen this year. There is a minimum of ten titles and a maximum of 1000 words, but how you tackle that is up to you: ranked, grouped, alphabetical, annotated, discussed, personal, objective – whichever way you think best captures your best screen experiences this year. You’re also welcome to send along with your written poll a 30-second audio file where you state your name, location and your best film experience. We’ll select some of these submissions to include on our bumper World Poll podcast in January. For further details on the World Poll, check sensesofcinema.com or our Facebook page, and to submit your poll, send it to email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is 23 December.
2018 was a great year for film, and we look forward to another twelve months of investigating – and revelling in – international cinema.
– the editors