As we move through the spooky season to summer blockbusters, the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema continues. Issue 107 covers Senses of Cinema founding editor, Bill Mousoulis’, latest film, My Darling in Stirling, an Umbrellas of Cherbourg-inspired musical, which has already captured the hearts of audiences since its premiere at the 2023 Adelaide Film Festival in October. Iranian critic Amir Hossein Siadat provides a detailed analysis of Bahram Beyzaie’s 1974 classic Stranger and the Fog, recently restored and playing at various international film festivals. Siadat breaks down the film’s historical, cultural and mythological references, enabling contemporary readers to appreciate its singularity and achievement.

The interviews section provides a comprehensive interview with festival-favourite Jessica Hausner, whose latest film Club Zero premiered at Cannes this year. Another long-form interview with newly appointed Artistic Director of Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Julien Rejl, provides insight into his cinephile-informed vision for this much-lauded, iconic program. Canadian artist Mike Hoolboom interviews academic cum filmmaker Paul B. Preciado about his unique film Orlando, My Political Biography while Amanda Barbour reconciles with the impossibility of Mapping Global Horror through academic and filmmaker roundtables at the titular conference. Also included are interviews with Claire Simon about her film Our Body as well as interviews with Axel Petersén and Delphine Girard.  

On the festival circuit, Jaimey Fisher brings us a very thorough look at what Locarno had to offer while Cerise Howard highlights the delights found at Karlovy Vary and Randy Malamud reports from Sarajevo. Classic cinema gets a look in from Roger Macy who attended Il Cinema Ritrovato and Jonathan Mackris on the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. East Asian cinema is also examined by Roger Macy who went to Nippon Connection and Xiang Fan who reports from the Chinese Independent Film Archive Film Series. 

We have two additions to our Great Directors series that challenge what ‘quality cinema’ is and serve as testament to the contribution of popular genres to film culture: the Hong Kong pyrotechnic director John Woo, and the Soviet fabulist Aleksandr Rou. Our Great Actors section showcases one of the shiniest stars and greatest leading women in Hollywood history: Elizabeth Taylor. In the same spirit, and drawing mostly from popular films, we have a provoking essay on Letterboxd as an immediate form of critique, which, of course, leaves space to reflect on the whole edifice of film criticism. 

After a very long battle with cancer, author, critic, educator, programmer and exemplary human, Bérénice Reynaud, passed on September 17. For over 20 years, Reynaud contributed to Senses of Cinema, mostly in the form of festival reports but also features, interviews and a guest dossier editor. Her writing on film was intelligent, informed and highly engaging. It always reflected her openness, curiosity and passion for all forms of cinema, especially those that questioned power structures. In this issue, long-time editor of Senses and friend of Reynaud, Michelle Carey, pays tribute to Reynaud and her inestimable contribution to Senses of Cinema and global film culture at large. Her warmth, generosity and expertise will not be forgotten. 

Book reviews address the conflicting but extremely interesting figure of Paul Thomas Anderson, as studied by Ethan Warren. Hannah Bonner gets to the bone of Anderson’s highlights and shortcomings through a close-reading of Warren’s often bland critique of the filmmaker. M. Sellers Johnson guides us through Emmanuel Levinas’ thick philosophy on Otherness to compliment Keyvan Manafi’s world encompassing The Eye of the Cinematograph: Levinas and Realisms of the Body.

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