“Scratch the glossy, colourful veneer of a Pedro Almodóvar film and you’ll always find a political standpoint,” writes Maria Delgado, introducing her in-depth interview with the Spanish director. Almodóvar’s latest film Parallel Mothers is no exception, excavating his homeland’s fascist past, whilst simultaneously looking to its future in the shape of two women going into labour. Our cover honours the great director with an ode to the dazzling colours that run through all of his films.
Elsewhere in this issue, two Belfast-born filmmakers in Kenneth Branagh and Mark Cousins discuss growing up during the Troubles, the magic of movies and Belfast – the place, as well as Branagh’s eponymous new film.
Animations abound with two in-depth dives into Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee and Hosoda Mamoru’s Belle, distinct and beautifully designed works which push the boundaries of the medium.
The Black Film Bulletin returns with a tribute issue to the pioneering Black British filmmaker Menelik Shabazz, with reminiscences from his collaborators and colleagues.
Plus, with one eye on our upcoming Greatest Films of All Time poll, we look back to an incisive archive interview with Jean Renoir.
All about Almodóvar
With his 23rd feature, Parallel Mothers, in cinemas, Pedro Almodóvar talks about Spain’s unresolved relationship with its bloody 20th-century history, the way women’s lives and the shape of the family are changing, and what connects those themes. Words by Maria Delgado.
+ All about my actors
The cast of Parallel Mothers reflect on the process of crafting their roles, and the director himself talks about how he works with stage actors and what makes Penélope Cruz such a special actress.
+ Pedro Almodóvar picks five key Spanish films
Kenneth Branagh interviewed by Mark Cousins
As Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s warmly nostalgic, semi-autobiographical portrait of life in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, hits UK screens, he talks to director Mark Cousins about their shared memories of growing up in the city, the impact of the Troubles and the magic of old Hollywood.
A sketch odyssey
Animated documentary Flee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s film about a gay Afghan refugee in Denmark coming to terms with his past, is a masterclass in the intelligent, unshowy use of its medium. Words by Alex Dudok de Wit.
With its stunningly rendered online worlds, Hosoda Mamoru’s Belle, a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, underscores the allure of the metaverse – and hints at its dangers. Words by Michael Leader.
From the archive: ‘One so-called quality is more overrated than any other: imagination.’
As thoughts turn to Sight and Sound’s poll of the Greatest Films of All Time in just a matter of months, what better moment to resurrect this illuminating interview with French heavyweight Jean Renoir, whose 1939 masterpiece La Régle du jeu featured at No 4 last time round.
Black Film Bulletin
Menelik Shabazz, 1954-2021: a pioneer remembered
We explore the profound contribution to film culture of the great artist and innovator, who died last summer.
The BFM empire: a showcase of Black world cinema
Nadia Denton, film curator, producer and former director of Black Filmmaker Magazine International Film Festival, reflects on the legacy of the world-renowned festival founded by her late father, Menelik Shabazz.
Black Filmmaker Magazine, revisited…
Floyd Webb, who recently relaunched bfm online with Menelik Shabazz, recalls the birth of the original mag in the 1980s and reminisces about its inspirational founder.
Menelik: the collective spirit
Menelik Shabazz’s career, from his early years as a co-founder of Kuumba Productions, and of Ceddo Film and Video Workshop in the 1980s, was characterised by collective working, community activism and a passion for using the power of the moving image in the service of articulating pan-African history and culture. Black Film Bulletin spoke to five of his colleagues about their collaborative memories.
‘Peter was our moviegoer, and we are not making them like him anymore’
A tribute to director, film historian, actor and writer Peter Bogdanovich, who has died at the age of 82. By David Thomson.
Recommendations from the Sight and Sound team.
In Production: Morley goes Amiss
Carol Morley speaks to Thomas Flew about her upcoming film Typist Artist Pirate King.
News: Power on
The Electric, Birmingham – the UK’s oldest working cinema – is set to reopen. By Isabel Stevens.
In conversation: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The director talks about his new drama, Lingui, changing patriarchal systems and filmmaking in his native Chad. Interview by Leila Latif.
Under the influence: Joanna Hogg
The British director divulges the literary inspirations behind her latest film, The Souvenir Part II – based on her own early years as a filmmaker – which has just topped S&S’s Films of the Year poll. Interview by Pamela Hutchinson.
“There are few honours an actor can receive that weren’t bestowed upon Sidney Poitier… But his awards pale in comparison to his cultural significance: he forever shifted Black representation on screen, opening doors for countless people who came after him and changing the perception of what African-American men were and could be.” By Leila Latif.
Dream Palaces: Metropolis Cinema, Sofil, Beirut
Lebanese filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, whose latest film Memory Box competed at the Berlinale, talk about special moments and the sad closure of a local gem. Interview by Philip Concannon.
The long take
How long is a piece of film? We can measure in feet, reels and the next four editions of Avatar. By Pamela Hutchinson.
In 2012, our Greatest Films poll broke the internet. What will happen this time? By Kieron Corless.
Hou Hsiao-hsien’s fluorescent Taipei tale takes a look at history and youthful temptation. By Phuong Le.
The future of the BBC is too important to be just another front in the culture wars. By Mike Williams.
Rediscovery: The prose-poetry cinema of Ebrahim Golestan
Would Iranian arthouse cinema exist without his elementally beautiful documentaries and fiction? By Ehsan Khoshbakht.
Archive TV: Gideon’s Way: The Complete Series
John Creasey’s thoughtful policeman may not have been quite the crimefighter the 1960s demanded, but he wasn’t quite the relic he might seem either. By Robert Hanks.
Lost and Found: Porte des Lilas
Though he is known for his light comedies, with this late film René Clair showed an unexpected affinity for darkness. Why has it been so little seen? By Philip Kemp.
Stephen Dwoskin’s little-known 1986 film Ballet Black recaptures the magic and spontaneity of one of Europe’s first Black dance companies. By Henry K. Miller.
Streaming service Klassiki offers a tantalising opportunity to discover an array of lesser known classics from behind the Iron Curtain as well as modern Russia. By Trevor Johnston.
This month in… 2013
To mark the centenary of the birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini, we look back at the last time we undertook a reassessment of the Italian maestro’s career.
The enigmatic montage that closes Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1962 portrait of jaded lovers sees the director abandon his protagonists to let the camera drift through the streets, hinting at other stories that might be told. By Paul Tickell.
- Taming the Garden reviewed by Katie McCabe.
- Flee reviewed by Alex Davidson.
- The Matrix: Resurrections reviewed by Adam Nayman.
- West Side Story reviewed by Guy Lodge.
- Petrov’s Flu reviewed by Carmen Gray.
- Swan Song reviewed by Elena Lazic.
- Procession reviewed by Ela Bittencourt.
- The Souvenir Part II reviewed by Sophie Monks Kaufman.
- La Mif reviewed by Leigh Singer.
- The Real Charlie Chaplin reviewed by Tara Judah.
- Lingui, the Sacred Bonds reviewed by Kambole Campbell.
- Cyrano reviewed by John Bleasdale.
- The Duke reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Amulet reviewed by Anton Bitel.
- Belle reviewed by Alex Dudok de Wit.
- Minyan reviewed by Ben Walters.
- The Eyes of Tammy Faye reviewed by Ben Walters.
- Licorice Pizza reviewed by Ben Nicholson.
- Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy reviewed by Becca Voelcker.
- Nightmare Alley reviewed by Kim Newman.
- Parallel Mothers reviewed by Clara Bradbury-Rance.
- The Afterparty reviewed by Kate Stables.
- Landscapers reviewed by Philip Concannon.
- The Beatles: Get Back reviewed by Jonathan Romney.
- Yellowjackets reviewed by Katherine McLaughlin.
- A Very British Scandal reviewed by Kate Stables.
- Ragdoll reviewed by Leila Latif.
DVD and Blu-ray
- Mae West in Hollywood, 1932-1943 reviewed by Hannah McGill.
- L’étrange Monsieur Victor reviewed by Tony Rayns.
- Crazy Thunder Road reviewed by Tony Rayns.
- Session 9 reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- In the Shadow of Hollywood: Highlights from Poverty Row reviewed by Michael Atkinson.
- The Sun Shines Bright reviewed by Ruairí McCann.
- Red Angel reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- Champion reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Les enfants terribles reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Bleak Moments reviewed by Kate Stables.
- Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century reviewed by Nicole Davis.
- Inland Empire reviewed by Elena Gorfinkel.
- Cinema’s Doppelgängers reviewed by Christopher Small.