Issue 21 | November 2008


A Very Public Situationist

By Lee Hill

In recent years, Guy Debord, like Georges Bataille, has become one of those French philosophers that has become a kind of conceptual brand. The name registers a certain transgressive je ne sais quoi in the mind of the average well read or well educated member of the public, but the ideas themselves seem a bit of a jumble compared to the rigor one associates with Roland Barthes during the heyday of structuralism in the 80s or popularity of existentialists like Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in the 50s. Bataille has become synonymous with kinky sex and the likes of Christophe Honoré’s adaptation Ma Mère are probably going to do little to dissuade the casual interloper that there is much else in the way of big ideas after the fact.
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Arab and African Cinema’s Uncertain Future

By Kamran Rastegar

The Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine’s recent passing has led to a wide variety of salutes and memorials, in the Arab world as well as in Europe and the US. Obituaries and homages by friends of the filmmaker have noted his prolific output – over 40 feature films – and numerous international awards...

Beat It

By Rosy Rockets

When his reputation as a comedian led to the box office flopping of Sonatine, now one of his most acclaimed films, Takeshi Kitano’s initial reaction was to attempt suicide. He knew that Akira Kurosawa had reacted in the same way following the critical failure of Dodesukaden, a film set on a rubbish dump.

You See the End Before the Beginning Has Ever Begun

By Owen Armstrong

Following the recent rediscovery and revival of singer/ songwriter Vashti Bunyan’s influential 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, director Kieran Evans From Here to Before retraces the journey she and boyfriend Robert Lewis began in 1968 from London to the Isle of Skye.

Belle Toujours

By James Norton

Announcing itself as a homage to Luis Buñuel and his scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, Belle Toujours is not so much a sequel as a commentary on the former’s classic Belle de Jour made forty years ago, and a tribute from one master of the Iberian cinematic imagination to another by the Portuguese Manoel de Oliveira...

Iranian Impromptu

By Jack McNamara

For the first time in the UK, a collection of works by some of Iran’s most important film and video artists of the last ten years will be screened together in one programme. The three-day event, put together by curator Vali Mahlouji as part of his Iran: New Voices season, takes place over a weekend at the Barbican this December.

Making the Political Personal

By Owen Armstrong

Presented by the Goethe-Institut London as part of the 11th Festival of German Films, Focus On Andres Veiel provides a retrospective of his six documentaries to date, perhaps most notably, his 2001 film Black Box Germany – an investigation into the alleged murder of Deutsche Bank Chairman Alfred Herrhausen...

Elf & Safety vs. Old World

By Almendra Maria Mcbride Perez

Crofts' Cottage: Crumbling Mansions. Grandma’s cat and dog in view. A town crier and mascots arrive to paradise. Bales of hay strewn around church dotted village fields. “I’m used to it whether I want to or not”, says a farmer, interrupted by a yellow van: The ‘walking library’...

The Headless Woman

By David Sin

The opening scenes of Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman bear some resemblance to that of another 2008 Cannes Competition film, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Three Monkeys – a driver hits someone or something with their car, and makes no attempt to clear up the accident.