Alice Diop’s debut fiction feature Saint Omer, a deceptively straightforward courtroom drama based on a real-life case of filicide, “raises questions about migration, postcolonialism and parenthood and is a film that we feel more than understand”, as Catherine Wheatley writes in our cover feature.
In a wide-ranging discussion moderated by Wheatley, Diop is joined by her friend and mentor Claire Denis; they consider their enduring friendship, the difference between documentary and fiction and the nuances of plagiarism and influence.
Elsewhere in a packed issue, we hear from Cate Blanchett about her bravura performance as Lydia Tár and Laura Poitras on her sublime documentary portrait of Nan Goldin, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, while Charlotte Wells and Paul Mescal reflect on the whirlwind success of Aftersun. All this plus much more…
Alice Diop in conversation with Claire Denis
French filmmaker Alice Diop’s Saint Omer is a clear-eyed investigation into a shocking act of filicide. Here she talks with an old friend, the revered director Claire Denis, about race, motherhood and the power of fictional truth. Moderation, translation and introduction by Catherine Wheatley.
+ La silence de la mère
In town for the BFI London Film Festival, Alice Diop spoke to S&S about the real-life experiences and the political realities behind her first venture into fiction filmmaking. By Nick Bradshaw.
Cease and resist
Laura Poitras’s All the Beauty and the Bloodshed explores the life and work of photographer and activist Nan Goldin. Here the director discusses documentary, direct action and doubt. By Nick Bradshaw.
In Tár, Todd Field’s provocative study of a spiky, morally compromised conductor, Cate Blanchett plays the imperious lead role to perfection. Here she reflects on why, despite her initial fears, she knew she would relish the monstrous complexity of Lydia Tár. By Guy Lodge.
+ Field of dreams
Tár director Todd Field outlines the leisurely gestation of the character of Lydia Tár and the long series of aborted prestige projects that followed his last film 16 years ago. By Guy Lodge.
Introduction by Isabel Stevens.
+ Marie Kreutzer on Corsage, S.S. Rajamouli on RRR and Jerzy Skolimowski on Eo
+ Charlotte Wells, Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio on Aftersun
Obituaries and tributes to those who died in 2022, including Mike Hodges, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Heddy Honigmann, Angelo Badalamenti and Sai Yōichi. Compiled by Bob Mastrangelo.
From the archive: the Kurosawa method
To mark the Kurosawa Akira season at BFI Southbank in London we republish this fascinating in-depth interview with the Japanese maestro, conducted for the UK release of his 1980 epic Kagemusha. By Tony Rayns.
Michael Snow, 1928-2023
The Canadian artist and filmmaker reinvented cinema on his own terms in works including the 1967 landmark Wavelength. By Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Recommendations from the Sight and Sound team.
In production: Welcome to the Dahl house
New films by Wes Anderson, Jacques Audiard and Francis Ford Coppola. By Isabel Stevens and Joseph Wallace.
News: Berlinale line-up
Soon after Sundance kickstarted 2023’s festival run, the baton was passed across the Atlantic with the announcement of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival’s programme. By Bruno Savill De Jong.
In conversation: Ali Abbasi
The Iranian director’s new film, Holy Spider, explores misogyny in Mashhad. By Arjun Sajip.
The ballot of… Ira Sachs
Each month we highlight a voter in our once-a- decade Greatest Films of All Time poll. This issue, the American director of Little Men, Love Is Strange and the forthcoming Passages shares his choices.
The long take
A little knowledge can be dangerous when it comes to the truthful content of a biopic. By Pamela Hutchinson.
Long before Squid Game, Lee Jungjae starred in another critique of consumerist dreams. By Phuong Le.
The slow-burning brilliance of Aftersun offers a lesson in the art of restraint. By Mike Williams.
Rediscovery: Barbara Rubin
A documentary and a first release on disc of her only completed film celebrate a filmmaker who had a profound influence on the New York avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s. By Sophia Satchell Baeza.
Archive TV : The Outer Limits
This classic science-fiction series from the early 1960s shows that the past still has a lot to teach us about imagining the future. By Robert Hanks.
Lost and found: To You, from Me
An actor in Jang Sunwoo’s relentlessly vulgar social satire said that making it was like throwing himself into a garbage bin. Time to root around in the rubbish. By Tony Rayns.
People Make Television
The rich tradition of open access television in the UK – community programmes made under the auspices of series such as the BBC ’s Open Door (1973-83), which handed the production process over to members of the public – offers a fascinating avenue into Britain’s social and cultural history. By William Fowler and Matthew Harle.
The McDonagh sisters
The debut feature by this trio of Australian sisters in 1926 outsold Chaplin at the local box office, kicking off a brief but remarkable career. By Pamela Hutchinson.
Endings: Sitting Target
Douglas Hickox’s brutal 1972 crime drama offers a grim portrait of lawlessness, gender violence and corruption that ends without a trace of moral redemption. By Phuong Le.
- The Fabelmans reviewed by Jonathan Romney
- All the Beauty and the Bloodshed reviewed by Nicolas Rapold.
- Avatar: The Way of Water reviewed by Andrew Osmond.
- Husband reviewed by Ben Nicholson.
- Nostalgia reviewed by Nick Hasted.
- Tár reviewed by Jessica Kiang.
- Babylon reviewed by Imogen Sara Smith.
- Eo reviewed by Christina Newland.
- Saint Omer reviewed by Leila Latif.
- Blue Jean reviewed by Caspar Salmon.
- Holy Spider reviewed by Adam Nayman.
- Marcel the Shell with Shoes on reviewed by Ian Wang.
- Peter von Kant reviewed by Guy Lodge.
- More than Ever reviewed by Caspar Salmon.
- The Inspection reviewed by Violet Lucca.
- Women Talking reviewed by Gabrielle Marceau.
- The Whale reviewed by Jessica Kiang.
- Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues reviewed by Sam Davies.
- Connect reviewed by Anton Bitel.
- 1899 reviewed by Kim Newman.
- The Rig reviewed by Kate Stables.
- Kaleidoscope reviewed by Rafa Sales Ross.
- Marie Antoinette reviewed by Guy Lodge.
DVD and Blu-ray
- Jacques Becker Essential Collection reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- The Queen of Spades reviewed by Henry K. Miller.
- The Cat and the Canary/The Ghost Breakers reviewed by Patrick Fahy.
- The Working Class Goes to Heaven reviewed by Henry K. Miller.
- Remember the Night reviewed by Kate Stables.
- The Teckman Mystery/We Joined the Navy reviewed by Hannah McGill.
- Universal Noir #1 reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- Love Brides of the Blood Mummy reviewed by Kim Newman.
- Big Time Gambling Boss reviewed by Michael Atkinson.
- Cutter’s Way reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- Cinema Speculation reviewed by Tom Charity.
- British Cinema: A Very Short Introduction reviewed by Henry K. Miller.
- Vampire Cinema: The First One Hundred Years reviewed by Kim Newman.