Welcome to Issue 84 of Senses of Cinema, where we proudly once again have the privilege of sharing a range of writing on cinema from around the world, with our focus as always as much on contemporary cinema as it is on films from the past. In this issue we are proud to include a near exhaustive dossier on the work of German director Christian Petzold, one of the most fascinating and important directors working in that country today. The dossier’s guest editors Jaimey Fisher and Marco Abel have brought together an impressive range of essays and interviews that tackle Petzold’s oeuvre from a range of perspectives and across his career from his early student filmmaker days to his most recent work. Writers include Roger Cook, Brad Prager, Jasmin Krakenberg, Will Mahan, Joy Castro, Christoph Hochhäusler, Jaimey and Marco themselves and Petzold too in a lengthy conversation with Jaimey and Robert Fischer. We are delighted to announce that this dossier is presented in association with the Goethe-Institut, and we thank them for assisting us in shining this light on the career of Christian Petzold.
Our second dossier looks at the complex relationship that the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre had with the cinema. A lover of movies from a young age, as he recalled in the autobiographical musings of Words, Sartre was nonetheless equivocal when it came to integrating the cinema into his broader philosophy. In this dossier, one of the world’s foremost scholars of French cinema, Dudley Andrew, explores the ideas of Sartre developed on the cinematic image in tandem with other philosophers of his era, from Henri Bergson to André Malraux, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gaston Bachelard. Daniel Fairfax compares his model of the politically engaged artist with that of France’s other great provocateur, Jean-Luc Godard. Finally, Luca Peretti unearths hitherto unaccessed archival material to discuss Sartre’s involvement in the abortive essay film A Black God and a White Devil, financed by the Italian state oil company ENI.
In our feature section this issue, César Albarrán-Torres examines representations of the Mexican narco wars in film and across visual culture more broadly, and Jackson Arn revisits Spike Lee’s often sadly neglected 1999 masterpiece Summer of Sam with a particular eye towards the representation of whiteness. David Morton investigates the construction of Florence Turner as one of the earliest film stars and uncovers a fascinating industrial and personal history. We also have an interview with Romanian director Cristi Puiu. The wide ranging conversation between Puiu and Andreea Patru covers not just the director’s most recent work, Sieranevada, but art, cinema and philosophy as well. Another interview featured this issue is with Spanish actress, Elena Anaya, by Jytte Holmvsquist. James Slaymaker confronts the world of the digital image and through David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis unearths connections to not just cinema, but the world of finance. Finally, we are proud to publish an interview with French film theorist and experimental sound artist Michel Chion, who recently toured Australia to showcase his live performance “The Audio-Spectator” and lecture on the role of sound in the cinema. Here, Chion dives into a detailed discussion of his biographical background, as well as his theoretical ideas about the role of sound in the cinema and his concept of the acousmêtre.
Our festival reports this issue come from some of the key festivals in the film calendar year. Joanna Di Mattia reports from the recent Melbourne International Film Festival and takes a wide ranging perspective on some of the many highlights of the program. Internationally, we have the northern hemisphere summer festivals covered, including Karlovy Vary, Bologna, Locarno, Fantasia, Shanghai and Midnight Sun. We also have reviews of new monographs on a crop of world auteurs, including David Lynch, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Bresson and Éric Rohmer, as well as Senses of Cinema contributor Jack Sargeant’s new book Flesh and Excess.
An essential addition to our ever-growing Great Directors database is Joanna Di Mattia’s exhaustive overview of the career of essential British filmmaker Terence Davies, and in our annotations that coincide with upcoming screenings for Melbourne Cinémathèque we focus on films by directors including Jane Campion, Cristi Puiu, Raoul Walsh, Daryl Dellora, and Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet.
As the end of the year approaches, we remind you that our annual World Poll too is on its way so as you pore through this issue we encourage you to begin thinking through your 2017 highlights in preparation. And at Senses of Cinema we also have some exciting new developments on the horizon. We figured the one thing the journal needed was the opportunity to take Senses with you wherever you go. Keep an eye out for our announcement in the first few weeks of October. We have some terrific things planned that we think you’re going to love. Last but certainly not least, it is with great joy that we publicly welcome David Heslin to our editorial team. An editor of Australia’s Screen Education magazine and a long-time supporter and contributor to Senses of Cinema, we are fortunate to have someone of his passion and expertise on the team and look forward to working with him in bringing you future issues of our journal.