Rev your engine, roll the windows down and join our open-road odyssey this issue as we talk to Andrea Arnold about her latest film American Honey. Here Arnold leaves behind the British landscapes of Wasp, Red Road, Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights and takes a road trip into the poverty-stricken hinterlands of the US. The film’s American honey is Star, a tenacious 18-year-old loner who wants more from life than playing makeshift mother to two siblings and so joins a ragtag door-to-door sales crew who party and drive their way across the Midwest. In our cover feature Simran Hans explores Arnold’s ongoing exploration of class and female sexuality and talks to the director about discovering her lead and first-time actor Sasha Lane, shooting personal, intimate films in Academy ratio and why all her films have sex scenes.
Posted to subscribers and available digitally 2 September
On UK newsstands 6 September
Cruising alongside, Kim Morgan takes a ride through film history and finds that any assumptions that the road movie is a male genre is a dead end; the road has been a place for cinematic escape, discovery and crisis for many women on screen. “What kind of dames thumb rides?” asks Tom Neal in Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour. It turns out all kinds, from Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934) to Quentin Tarantino’s feminist rebels in Death Proof (2007).
Elsewhere, we celebrate the extraordinary career of Kirk Douglas; discuss Little Men with Ira Sachs; explore Víctor Erice’s tantalising incomplete 1983 film El sur; talk to John Carpenter about his love of Hammer and Howard Hawks; and interrogate a recent quartet of limp Hollywood war satires. Plus all the regular reviews of latest releases and more…
After a trio of distinctly British features, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey takes a road trip into the poverty-stricken hinterlands of the US Midwest, following the hard-partying adventures of a young woman who joins a crew of door-to-door magazine subscription sellers. By Simran Hans.
+ Drive, She Said
The road movie is generally associated with men, but the cinema is also full of women who take to the road, whether in pursuit of escape, adventure, crime or just that high-speed thrill ride. By Kim Morgan.
As Kirk Douglas approaches his 100th birthday, we celebrate his extraordinary career, which saw him swiftly ascend the ranks of Hollywood aristocracy following his 1946 debut, with a host of classic roles playing ruthless villains, morally ambiguous mavericks and self-interested sharks. By Philip Kemp.
☞ Watch our video tribute Kirk Douglas: Hollywood champ
The burgeoning friendship between a pair of 13-year-old boys is threatened when a bitter feud develops between their parents, in Ira Sachs’s beautifully observed Little Men, set against the background of gentrification and spiralling rents in a middle-class Brooklyn neighbourhood. By Graham Fuller.
Despite having had its funding pulled and its production halted 48 days into an 81-day shoot, Víctor Erice’s tantalising, incomplete 1983 film El sur is still regarded by many as a masterpiece, telling the tale of a young girl’s relationship with her secretive, emotionally distant father. By Mar Diestro-Dópido.
☞ Watch our video essay Haunted memory: the cinema of Víctor Erice
John Carpenter, the one-time powerhouse of genre cinema from Dark Star and Halloween to The Fog and Escape from New York, talks about growing up in the Jim Crow American south, his love of Hammer and Howard Hawks and his favourite scene from any of his films. By Geoffrey Macnab.
In a far cry from the bleak, satirical brilliance of the best Hollywood war films, a recent quartet of limp studio titles shamelessly exploits the instability and conflict in the Middle East to provide little more than an exotic backdrop for the stories of white Americans hoping to find themselves. By Violet Lucca.
Thoughts arising from BBC Culture’s Best Films of the 21st Century poll
In the frame: Poetry in promotion
An exhibition of Ealing film posters reveals that they were just as distinctive and original as the classic films themselves. By Nathalie Morris.
Object lesson: Paper weight
In the world of film – the world of the image – the manuscript can be a token of irrelevance or a source of meaning. By Hannah McGill.
Interview: Bathroom farce
With her first feature, Baden Baden, and with her day-job in the French army, director Rachel Lang overturns expectations. By Isabel Stevens.
Interview: The horror of war
In Under the Shadow Babak Anvari uses his childhood memories of the Iran-Iraq war as the backdrop to a different kind of horror. By Olivia Howe.
With a focus on black talent and an S&S Gala presenting the film of 2016, this autumn’s festival is set to be one of the most exciting in years. By Nick James.
Dispatches: A study in Scarlett
With her languorous grace and cool reserve, Scarlett Johansson is a screen goddess at one remove from the Hollywood mainstream. By Mark Cousins.
Development tale: The Girl with All the Gifts
Mike Carey’s short story sprouted simultaneously into a successful novel and a smart genre movie – with a little help from Joss Whedon. By Charles Gant.
The summer’s indie movies at the UK/Ireland box office. By Charles Gant.
Preview: Downtown renegade
For 40 years Lizzie Borden has used film as a way of pushing at sexual and political orthodoxies. It’s time the mainstream paid attention. By Sophie Mayer.
Soundings: Misread my lips
In Italian post-war cinema, dubbing dialogue was standard practice – and for the best directors, it was an artistic resource. By Sam Davies.
Primal screen: the world of silent cinema
What is the link between early British talkies and goats’ testicles? A new restoration makes the connection plain. By Geoff Brown.
Festival: Split decision
Always daring, this year the Locarno festival pushed the boat out, with films that defied critical categories. By Kieron Corless.
Films of the month
The Girl with All the Gifts
Swiss Army Man
Théo and Hugo
plus reviews of
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
The Blue Room
Dare to Be Wild
The First Monday in May
Free State of Jones
Gary Numan: Android in La La Land
The Greasy Strangler
Hell or High Water
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Kubo and the Two Strings
League of Gods
Life on the Road
The Lovers & the Despot
The 9th Life of Louis Drax
Southside with You
Under the Shadow
War on Everyone
Home Cinema features
Nightmare on Main Street: The Shop on the High Street
A ‘good’ man finds himself on the wrong side of history in this masterpiece from the Czech New Wave. By Trevor Johnston.
Revival: The Ox-Bow Incident
Heroes are hard to find in a William Wellman western that’s so dark it even has Henry Fonda in an unsympathetic role. By Philip Kemp.
Short and sweet: Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films
The roots of Buster Keaton’s comic style can be traced to a series of surprisingly sophisticated two-reelers made with Roscoe Arbuckle. By Pamela Hutchinson.
Lost and found: Give Us This Day
This near-noir drama of working-class life hints at the kind of career Edward Dmytryk might have had if he’d remained in exile in Britain. By Fintan McDonagh.
plus reviews of
Around China with a Movie Camera
Cry of the City
The Early Works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Gorilla Bathes at Noon
Hangmen Also Die!
Horace & Pete
The Immortal Story
Kiss of Death
Lee Tracy RKO 4-Film Collection
The World of Kanako
Television: Robert Hanks watches Shakespeare’s history plays televised, then and now
The Real James Dean: Intimate Memories from Those Who Knew Him Best edited by Peter Winkler (Chicago Review Press) reviewed by Christina Newland
The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film by Christopher Frayling (Reel Art Press) reviewed by Isabel Stevens
The Man from the Third Row: Hasse Ekman, Swedish Cinema, and the Long Shadow of Ingmar Bergman by Fredrik Gustafsson (Berghahn Books) reviewed by Nick Pinkerton
In Search of Lost Films by Phil Hall (BearManor Media) reviewed by Michael Atkinson
Private post-narrative movie attractions
1920 film protectionism and Brexit
Unsporting the Department of Culture?
Whence Nanook’s record player?
John Ford’s off-screen toilet
Community cinema bookings past
Silent soundtrack performance infractions
The plaintive final moments of Michael Cimino’s epic western find its lead protagonist all at sea, embittered by failure and betrayal. By Martyn Conterio.