This absolutely bumper issue of Senses of Cinema not only adheres to our long tradition at looking back at film history and forward to its exciting futures, but also – in something of a first for Senses – considers screens both big and small.
The news that David Lynch would return to television screens with a new season of Twin Peaks has elicited a surge of interest in the seminal early 1990s television show, which has proven to be enormously influential in the 25 years since it first screened on network television. We are proud to be publishing a dossier on the series put together by guest editors Michael Goddard, Kirsty Fairclough and Anthony Smith. To accompany this collection, we are also publishing a feature article by Brian Rourke on the narrative enigmas of Lynch’s Inland Empire, and a review by Fairclough of Dennis Lim’s recent monograph on Lynch, The Man from Another Place.
In what has been a horrific year for filmmaker deaths, we of course must acknowledge the tragic recent passing of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami. The death of Jacques Rivette in January has also been particularly poignant: considered by his nouvelle vague peers to be the guiding light in all things cinema, Rivette was the ultimate cinephile, a ravenous viewer and generous thinker on film, not to mention a director with a completely singular aesthetic. On the occasion of his passing, we offer some new perspectives on his work: scholar Mary Wiles considers the influence of modern artist Balthus on Hurlevent, and Donatella Valente and Brad Stevens take a spirited look at the very first and last shots of Out 1: Noli me tangere. Hamish Ford provides a labyrinthine, very Rivettian look at the concept of the ‘web’ in his 1970s work, and Senses co-editor Daniel Fairfax analyses his “second wind” of criticism at the very end of the 1960s. Lastly, David Heslin interviews documentarian Robert Fischer about his work on the Arrow boxset, a truly indispensable and beautifully-packaged artefact. Finally, Miriam Bale writes on one of the most underrated yet pleasurable of Rivette’s late works, Haut, bas, fragile.
We also take a close look at a figure long admired by Rivette and his colleagues at Cahiers du cinéma: Jerry Lewis, who has celebrated his 90th birthday this year. The 12 films he made between 1960 and 1983 will be screening as part of a retrospective on his work at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July-August, and to accompany this programme our dossier includes articles on each of his films, along with a piece by Jean-Michel Frodon on the “invisible” film The Day the Clown Cried, a reprint of a 1970 Melbourne Film Bulletin article on his œuvre, and an updated Great Directors profile by Lewis specialist Chris Fujiwara.
Sadly not all anniversaries this year were such happy occasions. July marks two years since the passing of German filmmaker and intellectual Harun Farocki, and we are proud to include here an interview Ednei de Genaro and Hermano Callou undertook with the late director in his home in February 2014. Other interviews this issue include Senses of Cinema co-editor Tim O’Farrell’s interview with Eve Orner about her extraordinary documentary Chasing Asylum, that hones in on the appalling plight of those held in offshore processing centers by the Australian Government. We also have Thomas Austin’s interview with British filmmaker John Akomfrah, and Stefan Solomon’s interview with the Brazilian born, Berlin-based filmmaking team Melissa Dullius and Gustavo Jahn (aka Distruktur).
Maintaining our global view of cinema, Jason Di Rosso considers the remarkable output of Matías Piñeiro, while Robert Nery poetically delves into the astonishing film world of Filipino director Lav Diaz. Jordan Cronk considers the highly aesthetic, humorous, wonderfully queer work created by (in various permutations) Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt, Benjamin Crotty and Alexander Carver, a program of films that screened recently in New York as “Friends with Benefits”. Sharing a focus on place and space, Owen Vince considers the role of architecture in the Paris of Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville and Jacques Tati’s Playtime. Nicholas Godfrey highlights the extraordinary moment of subversive inventiveness that was the late 1960s in Hollywood, with a survey of films now largely excluded from the New Hollywood ‘canon’. Kit MacFarlane analyses the narrative structure and ending of Ridley Scott’s debut feature The Duellists (1977), referring in particular to the film’s status as an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s short story The Duel and Slavoj Žižek’s analysis of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931).
We also have three new additions to our Great Directors database: Jeremy Carr looks at the groundbreaking work of John Cassavetes, Andrea Grunert looks at the underrated filmography of the great Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi, and Wheeler Winston Dixon provides a moving, passionate and personal consideration of the movies of Robert Downey Sr. Last, but certainly not least, we are also pleased to publish Hamish Ford’s feature review of a very significant piece of new film scholarship – Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art – by renowned Spanish-based Australian scholar and critic Adrian Martin. Crossing the world and back again, we welcome you to Issue 79 of Senses of Cinema.