As we reflect on the first few months of 2016, it’s already been an emotionally bumpy ride. With the passing of Chantal Akerman – and guest editor Bérénice Reynaud’s memorial dossier in Issue 77 – still fresh, we barely had a moment to catch our collective breaths before we began mourning anew for other directors whose work has meant so much to us all, particularly Jacques Rivette and Andrzej Żuławski. This sudden, sad awareness of the dual preciousness and fleetingness of cinema, more broadly combined with the focus in our last issue on Pier Paolo Pasolini, led us to the curation of a mini-dossier on the comparatively underrated work of American independent director Abel Ferrara over the last decade. We begin with Mary in 2005, through to his more recent work, including his dual 2014 releases Welcome to New York and Pasolini. While far from exhaustive, we hope this small collection of essays raises awareness of Ferrara’s fascinating output over the last decade. This is work that has often been neglected due to practical issues of distribution more than anything else.
Senses of Cinema has long provided a platform for analysis of experimental and avant-garde work, and our second mini-dossier in this issue continues this tradition, focussing on British experimental film and video. As well as covering contemporary British work, the dossier extends geographically to trace the exchange between the UK and Australia, and reaches back to the past, surveying some seminal British works that have recently been re-visited. All the articles are written by practitioners, who straddle the divide between theory and practice with aplomb.
This issue also features a number of interviews across a diversity of subjects, themes and contexts. Brigitta Wagner speaks to German visual artist and documentary filmmaker Philip Scheffner, while George Kouvaros talks to Laura Israel, video editor for American photographer and documentary director Robert Frank. Additionally, Eleonora Raspi interviews Enrica Fico about her work and life with her collaborator and late husband, Michelangelo Antonioni.
Finally, we have the usual diverse array of feature articles, focusing on everything from the Australian filmmaker Richard Tuohy, to sounding loneliness in Under the Skin, to David Fincher’s Zodiac read as a work profoundly anxious about cinema’s digital turn. We are particularly pleased to be able to include a beautiful reflection from the prominent South Korean documentary maker Kim Soyoung, on her new “Exile Trilogy” about the Korean diaspora in Central Asia and film as a “technology of the dead.”
Even as we continue to mourn the passing of masters, we continue to celebrate the artform to which they dedicated their lives.
– Alex, Dan, Daniel, Michelle and Tim