Parts of this article are now hosted on the PANDORA archive of the National Library of Australia and Partners.
Several key threads make their way through this issue: the theme of nation and identity; of immigration and racial intolerance; of cinema as affective and political (Kandahar) and cinema as inexpressive of matters of history and politics (Beneath Clouds); the television aesthetic and questions of ‘truth’, ‘reality’ and entertainment in audio-visual mass culture. These are all extremely important questions, and I see Senses of Cinema as providing a forum for exploring such concerns and expressing independent and alternative views (especially in light of the recent Australian banning of Baise-Moi mid-release and the current climate of censorship). It can also be empowering in dire situations to express oneself via writing and thought, and in turn writing can have its own impact and effects. As Jake Wilson says in this issue on the topic of rhetoric, politics and the writer, “words are able to change the way we view the world, which is one way of changing the world itself.” In a way, writing is similar to filmmaking: both derive from the imagination and the intellect, both offer up ideas, values, ways of seeing, and unique formal systems, in short, both have the potential to offer the reader or viewer an alternative universe.
This issue also spotlights Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang, appropriately described by Jared Rapfogel in this issue as akin to a painter, and experimental cinema with an introduction to the work of Leighton Pierce and Marcel Hanoun, both little known yet prolific. Another main thread weaving itself through this issue is that of film criticism and film critics, which includes interviews with important film critics from Australia and America, and a major, international Festschrift to one of the great writers on film, Raymond Durgnat, edited by Adrian Martin, who reflects above on the recent passing of this great figure.
This issue also marks the inaugural edition of an exciting and integral new section of Senses of Cinema: “Great Directors – a Critical Database”, compiled by Bill Mousoulis with assistance from Michelle Carey. Senses of Cinema‘s strong cinephilic slant extends in this section, which comprises comprehensive entries on important directors in the history of cinema. The content is easily accessible, delightful to look at and extremely informative.
To rather official news, Senses of Cinema has recently become an Amazon affiliate, which means that any Amazon purchases made through the site generates small revenue to the journal. I only say this because making such purchases supports a journal, which is run mainly on a labour of love. And thankyou to all those who have given their every inch to contribute their bit to this issue and for making it what it is.
Fiona A. Villella, Editor