This issue marks the 20th anniversary of Senses of Cinema, and we are pleased to present to you a bumper issue with a full range of film writing, provocative ideas and interviews and reports from around the world. Our dossier this issue posed a very simple question: as we bring the 2010s to a close, what was the most significant influence on or moment in cinema in the past decade? Writers were free to discuss a movement or an incident or a specific film – the breadth of this dossier and the perspectives that people have taken on this are really remarkable. The dossier is designed to be quick, accessible and insightful, so dive in and explore what our very best writers have to say about the 2010s; it makes for fascinating reading, and really encourages us to think about where cinema will be by the end of the ’20s. And to celebrate our anniversary, we have also included an extra mini-dossier of some of the greatest writing from over the last 20 years of this journal. Senses of Cinema has built a tremendous community for film discussion, criticism and writing that is smart, well researched and engaging. This is our opportunity to throw a mini-dossier party to celebrate our achievements and the incredible work of editors past and present, and our vision of our journal as a locus for intelligent film discussion that spans the globe.
We also offer a dossier on a filmmaking couple whose work Senses of Cinema has steadfastly espoused for twenty years: Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. Their radically uncompromising approach to filmmaking is emblematic of the cinema we aim to defend in this journal, and we can claim to be proud members of what Serge Daney called the “Straubian International”. While Huillet sadly passed away in 2006, Straub has continued their work since then, and this dossier, with its focus on their “utopian communism”, looks at a broad array of their work, from their early films of the 1960s and 1970s right up to Straub’s most recent “post-Huillet” work.
In our feature section this issue, James Slaymaker explores the digital image and Abbas Kiarostami’s incredible film 24 Frames. Joy Castro looks at how migration is represented in contemporary German cinema, focusing on the films of Aysun Bademsoy. Jennifer Kirby fleshes out ideas of precarity and utopia in The Florida Project and American Honey, which question what the American Dream means and looks like today. Bruce Hodsdon looks at Paul Schrader’s concept of transcendental cinema, while Pınar Fontini explores the cinema of Turkish female directors of the 1990s, focusing on the career of Canan Gerede. And in our Great Directors series, Jasper Mäkinen looks at the work of Fei Mu, one of the great directors of early Chinese cinema.
We also feature Wilfred Okiche’s interview with Abba Makama, whose film The Lost Okoroshi recently premiered at Toronto; Leonardo Goi’s interview with Joe Talbot and Jimmie Falls, about The Last Black Man in San Francisco; and Dirk de Bruyn’s interview with Köken Ergun, director of the documentary Heroes, which screened at Rotterdam earlier this year.
Our festival reports this issue include David Morgan-Brown’s reflections on the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, plus reports on some of the most interesting summer festivals in Europe: Carmen Gray on Batumi, Leonardo Goi on Odessa, Peter Hourigan on Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Cerise Howard on Karlovy Vary, Jaimey Fisher on Locarno and Dirk de Bruyn on Under the Radar. Plus two takes on Toronto, by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Darren Hughes. Finally, we run reviews of important recent publications in film studies, including Tom Ryan’s monograph on Douglas Sirk (reviewed by Bruce Hodsdon), Colin Burnett’s biographical exploration of Robert Bresson (reviewed by Dudley Andrew) and Marco Grosoli’s magisterial book on the film theory of Éric Rohmer (reviewed by Jeremi Szaniawski). Meanwhile, in our annotations coinciding with Melbourne Cinémathèque screenings, we focus on key films by directors Ermanno Olmi, Ivan Sen, Lynn-Marie Milburn and Terence Davies, as well as a series of late Hollywood and early European films starring Jazz Age icon Louise Brooks.