After 101 Issues and 23 years of publications, Senses of Cinema takes a deep dive into Indian popular cinema, the world’s largest film industry: Bollywood. While Bombay cinema is generally ignored by critics in the Anglosphere, guest editor Darragh O’Donoghue reminds readers that:

There was a time when Hollywood was dismissed by the cultural elite as factory-made pap in the same way as Bollywood is now. It was not until the Cahiers critics in the ’50s, their UK followers at Movie magazine in the ‘60s, and the publication of Andrew Sarris’ The American Cinema in 1968, that the concept of ‘Hollywood’ as a homogenous mass, an industry pedalling disposable and ideologically conservative product, was replaced with one where individual filmmakers with individual styles and outlooks could be identified, categorised, compared, and contrasted. Where a regimented production system could nevertheless facilitate personal artistry and expression.

This dossier is an attempt to complicate and diversify the monolithic concept of ‘Bollywood’, to break it out of its critical ghetto in Western film criticism and challenge the Eurocentrism of film studies that fails to recognise Bollywood as an artistic phenomenon.

Vedant Srinivas offsets the discussion of Indian popular cinema with a feature on Assam-based experimental media practitioners: Desire Machine Collective. Framing their work in Deleuzian terms, Srinivas describes their audience as “always becoming and thus belong[ing] to the future.” Nashuyuan Wang continues the extrapolation of liminal space through Ossessione (Obsession, Luchino Visconti, 1943) and Le conseguenze dell’amore (The Consequences of Love, Paolo Sorrentino, 2004): as the hotels featured in these films are at once a sheltered, private realm and a space of anonymity, alienation and surveillance. Dutch Professor Peter Verstraten considers it a bad omen that viewers were largely entertained by Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta (2021) rather than enraged at his nun opus, while Emmalea Russo situates Titane‘s (Julia Ducournau, 2021) transgression as being in its stance on love in lieu of its mechaphilia. In the land(s) down under: identity, genre and discomfort are foregrounded in discussions of The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) and Australian cinema.

Our Interviews span conversations with Mexican writer/director Alejandra Márquez Abella, German documentary filmmaker Helke Misselwitz, artists Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner, American photographer and director Danny Lyon, Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter Ashley McKenzie as well as Independent American filmmakers Nina Menkes, Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley.

Expanding the anthology, Issue 101 contains Great Directors profiles on Manmohan Desai and Jack Smith. The breadth and depth of acting as an art and as a craft is enunciated through Great Actors profiles on Angela Lansbury, Patrick Magee, Michael Caine and Greta Garbo. New festival reports from around the world – including Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Jeonju, Tui, Navarra and Trento – also shed light on contemporary cinema. Kyle Barrowman reviews Daniel Morgan’s The Lure of the Image: Epistemic Fantasies of the Moving Camera, published by the University of California Press.

Finally, the Melbourne Cinémathèque is back! Sort-of. It has been a TOUGH year for film exhibition on the Australian east coast, with everything under the sun going wrong – including the now infamous fallen ceiling at ACMI. The pandemic continues to limit access to prints, but through sheer determination the team at CTEQ have manage to put out seasons on the fatal vision of fritz lang as well as tributes to Monica Vitti and Juliette Binoche. Their annotations conclude this Issue. Enjoy!

About The Author

Related Posts