This All Hallows Eve, Senses of Cinema is publishing our first sustained inquiry into nonfiction cinema from the territories of former Yugoslavia. At a time when new nationalisms are again on the horizon, what tactics do documentary cineastes employ in an effort to fight back? Guest editor Nace Zavrl collates articles examining the importance and inexhaustible grit of recent nonfiction from the ex-Yugoslav region. In the context of ideological mystification, documentary images play a privileged role, tasked and entrusted with offering adequate, just depictions of our world. Precisely due to their experiences with virulent ethnonationalism and an assortment of obfuscatory political techniques, ex-socialist filmmakers and artists have offered viewers of contemporary nonfiction much to think through. Form, as these articles argue, is inextricable from politics; the aesthetic devices that filmmakers choose to employ (or to omit) have consequences in life outside cinema. 

In our Features section Mark Freeman and Eloise Ross delve into the oft-misunderstood figure of the female Larrikin, in the article “The Larrikin Girl: Challenging archetypes in Australian cinema”. Filmmaker and author Salvador Carrasco takes a deep dive into one of the most acclaimed films of the past few years, and an exemplar of genre-bending narratives, in “Anatomy of a Breakup or Her Life to Fix: The Worst Person in the World”. Tara Lomax reconsiders the cultural legacy of Star Wars as the enduring franchise has its 45th birthday, and Joy McEntee questions Stanlet Kubrick’s approach to female characters in “Unrealisable woman: Tania in Stanley Kubrick’s Aryan Papers”. 

Two talented and innovative female filmmakers are featured in this issue’s Interviews line-up: Bianca Lucas and Alexandra Cuesta. Lucas reflects on the making of Love Dog, a Polish-Mexican cross-collaboration that examines grief in the modern world, which won the Best First Feature (Special Mention) at this year’s Locarno FIlm Festival. Cuesta discusses her experimental shorts and documentaries, and being an Ecuadorian living and working in the West. 

Our Film Festivals section this issue includes the usual mix of reports, from A-list events, such as New York and Locarno, to those more likely to fly under the radar yet just as culturally and cinematically significant, such as Portugal’s Curtas Vila do Conde and the Marseille Festival of Documentary Film. Speaking of culturally significant, Andrew Northrop reports on the Budapest Classics Film Marathon, a relatively new festival run by Hungary’s National Film Institute. Sticking to the East, Levan Tskhovrebadze reports on the 2nd Kutaisi International Short Film Festival, which featured emerging talent from Georgia. This issue also features a report on the 26th Fantasia International Film Festival, dedicated to genre films and B-movies and Melbourne-based writer and cinephile Eloise Ross reflects on this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival, the program’s highs and lows. 

Jeremy Carr explores the extravagant and Fellinesque worlds created by Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, who has created poignant critiques of the Italian elites in films such as The Great Beauty and Il Divo. Hal Young looks at the career of Wes Craven, the American master most often associated with slasher horror but whose work spanned most classic American genres. And Sarah Delshad explores the experimental works of Stephen Dwoskin, a bastion of the avant-garde. 

Jacob Agius examines the legacy of the Pope of Trash and his disciple Divine in our Great Actors section. In the context of escalating violence against the LGBT+ community and the Stonewall Riots, Waters and Divine redefined queerness as something that was proudly iconoclastic and completely in opposition to mainstream culture by creating a gritty and satirically camp cinematic style that was unashamedly transgressive, spanning beyond gender, ‘good taste’, and societal conventions. However, as Agius argues, to only see filth in the filthiest person alive is to completely overlook the impact Divine has had on cinema as well as queer and drag culture.

Our Book Reviews cover philosophy for the blockbuster audience, through Tom Boniface-Webb’s critique of Robbie B. H. Goh’s Christopher Nolan: Filmmaker and Philosopher, while Corey P. Cribb questions whether we need Metahaven’s Digital Tarkovsky.

In partnership with the Melbourne Cinémathèque, a diverse cross section of authors provide insight into their program through Annotations on Céline Sciamma, F.W. Murnau and Juraj Jakubisko.

Stay spooky.


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