This being our mid-year issue, we are thrilled to be presenting another dossier in conjunction with a film program devoted to a great contemporary film auteur, this time Peter Strickland, screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Australian Cinémathèque and the Queensland Film Festival. Edited by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and John Edmond, the collection of pieces contained here features many approaches to the British filmmaker’s four feature films and unique aesthetic, and includes essays by Henri de Corinth, David Toop, Drew Daniel, David Evan Richard, Alison Taylor, Anton Bitel, Samm Deighan, Lawrence English, Cerise Howard and Julian House, as well as an in-depth interview with Peter Strickland himself. 

In our Features section this issue, George S. Larke Walsh and Stephanie Oliver explore the shifting position of the woman within the gangster genre, and they uncover the “brutal ideologies” that shape the female gangster in relation to their agency and their representation. Kalling Heck investigates Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine (1993), and argues for the film’s radical reconfiguration of genre by way of a close analysis of the role of the beach within that film. Katie Warfield looks at how the blockbuster extravaganza Magic Mike XXL is a queer and feminist approach to masculinity – how, through dance, the film reframes the symbolic phallus. Rick Zinman’s deeply personal essay about Richard Linklater’s Boyhood explores the tribulations of growing up on and off screen. Brian Brems builds bridges between the films Stella Dallas and Wendy and Lucy, highlighting their treatment of how women living in precarious situations have been portrayed in the US cinematic tradition.

We feature interviews with Dónal Foreman by Vivien Buchhorn, RaMell Ross by Leonardo Goi, Abel Ferrara by Hugo Emmerzael and Sergei Loznitsa by Lucian Tion.

As part of our ongoing Great Directors section, Jeremy Carr turns his focus to the career of Oliver Stone, charting the filmmaker’s confronting and frequently controversial approach to cinema. Bruce Jackson looks at the career of a great American director who has long been overdue a profile on our site: John Huston, the eclectic and vociferous man behind The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen and many other film classics.

Our Festival Reports section features Jordan M. Smith on True/False, Amanda Barbour on Tricky Women/Tricky Realities, Maria Giovanna Vagenas on Cinéma du Réel, Daniel Fairfax on Cannes, James Lawrence Slattery on BFI Flare, Leonardo Goi on IndieLisboa and Transilvania, Marc Raymond on Jeonju, Steffanie Ling on Oberhausen, Chris Berry on Far East, and Bérénice Reynaud on the PanAfrican Film and Arts Festival. Meanwhile, in our annotations coinciding with Melbourne Cinémathèque screenings, we focus on films by directors Kathryn Bigelow, Ernst Lubitsch and Elaine May as well as Czechoslovak New Wave drama Joseph Kilián.

Enjoy Issue 91 of Senses of Cinema!