Sight and Sound: the March 2024 issue

Christopher Nolan – The Zone of Interest – All of Us Strangers – American Fiction – Wim Wenders – Marc Isaacs – The Kitchen – Samsara – Alice Guy-Blaché

1 February 2024

Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound, March 2024

“The critical praise and astonishing commercial success that greeted Oppenheimer have only confirmed Christopher Nolan’s unique position in cinema today. Who else could have written, got financed and then directed a three-hour, $100 million studio film about the life of the brilliant but flawed ‘father of the atomic bomb’? A film that explores the reverberations of Oppenheimer’s life through American politics and the world of science – not to mention the profound implications of atomic weaponry for humankind. And who but Nolan would have seen that film become an unprecedented box-office hit, taking $1 billion worldwide (and counting)?”

— James Bell, introducing his cover interview with Christopher Nolan


Christopher Nolan interviewed

Christopher Nolan: A showman’s odyssey

The multiple Oscar nominations for Oppenheimer, together with box office of $1 billion, have confirmed the director’s unique ability to sell complex, cerebral themes to a mass audience. As he prepares to receive a BFI Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to cinema, he talks about filming physics, creative collaborations and the filmmakers who were his own greatest influences. By James Bell.

Andrew Haigh, Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal interviewed

In a lonely place

Andrew Haigh’s brilliant, haunting tale of grief and longing, All of Us Strangers, follows an introverted screenwriter coming to terms with the traumas of his youth. Arjun Sajip speaks to the director about why he wanted the film ‘to exist within the cracks of other genres’, and to leading men Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, who offer insights into their electric performances.

Jeffrey Wright and Cord Jefferson interviewed

The Wright stuff

Jeffrey Wright, the Oscar-nominated star of the literary satire American Fiction, and its director Cord Jefferson discuss the limits placed on Black storytelling, the struggle for creative freedom and the critical importance of open discussions about race. By Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff.

Wim Wenders interviewed

At the movies with… Wim Wenders

As Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days, a low-key drama about a Japanese toilet attendant, reaches UK screens just a few short months after Anselm, his portrait of the artist Anselm Kiefer, the director looks back at the filmmakers who have inspired him, from his New German Cinema contemporaries to Nicholas Ray and Ozu Yasujirō. Introduction and interview by Nick Bradshaw.

Jonathan Glazer interviewed

‘That’s the horror – there’s nothing remarkable about these people at all’

The placid domestic life of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his family is the focus of Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, a chilling exploration of everyday evil. Here the director explains why the project required a new cinematic language that resisted the conventions of traditional filmmaking. By Jonathan Romney.

Marc Isaacs and Adam Ganz interviewed

The curious worlds of Marc Isaacs

Like much of his work, Marc Isaacs’ This Blessed Plot takes an idiosyncratic look at a gallery of characters who shed light on the contradictions that lie at the heart of notions of Englishness, this time in the form of a scripted reality portrait of an Essex town haunted by the ghosts of its past. Here the director and the film’s screenwriter Adam Ganz talk from the set about teasing the boundaries between documentary and fiction. By Ryan Gilbey.

Alice Guy-Blaché interviewed in 1971

For the archive: Out of oblivion

Paris-born Alice Guy-Blaché was the first woman film director, responsible for making hundreds of films on both sides of the Atlantic. Sadly few nowadays remember this pioneering great of the early cinema – she surely deserves better. From Sight and Sound, Summer 1971. By Francis Lacassin.

Opening scenes

Opening scenes

Cillian Murphy drama to open Berlinale

The actor’s first film since Oppenheimer is a quiet, pained drama about the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, where young pregnant women were sent to work and their babies were sold for adoption. By Sinéad Gleeson

In production: Aneil Karia’s Hamlet

New films by Aneil Karia, Albert Serra, Arnaud Desplechin, Benny Safdie, Sally Potter and Don Hertzfeldt. By Thomas Flew.

In focus: The Laos picture slow

Lois Patiño’s documentary takes the viewer on a profound inner journey, one that should be approached with eyes wide shut. By Arjun Sajip.

In conversation: Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares

The co-directors talk about their near-future social housing drama The Kitchen. Interview by Lou Thomas.


TV Eye

David Leland’s devastating television plays still have much to teach us about institutional brutality. By Andrew Male.

The long take

From Claudette Colbert to Priscilla, I’ve always clung to the coattails of cinematic fashion. By Pamela Hutchinson.

Flick lit

The barbaric cruelty of Burton and Taylor’s screen lovers offers a tragic glimpse of their real lives. By Nicole Flattery.




Why the power of needle drops remains an undying, death-defying force in filmmaking. By Mike Williams.

Rediscovery: The End of Civilization: Three Films by Piotr Szulkin

These apocalyptic, savagely satirical science-fiction films from behind the Iron Curtain combine the Pythonesque with the Tarkovskian. Maybe the world is at last ready to appreciate them. By Hannah McGill.

Archive TV: Hamlet at Elsinore

It’s a moot point whether this Anglo-Danish co-production, which took Shakespeare on location to mark his 400th birthday, really captures the power of the performances, but it’s well worth your time. By Robert Hanks.

Lost and found: In Pursuit of Excellence

At first glance, this all but forgotten TV drama about a college ‘golden boy’ assailed by fear of failure hardly seems like a John Cassavetes project. But a closer look shows how much it has in common with the director’s later, better-known pictures. By Brad Stevens.

Wider screen

Contact zones: John Akomfrah’s Arcadia

The artist-filmmaker’s hypnotic multi-channel film offers a poetic exploration of colonialism that radically subverts traditional narratives of European might by emphasising the powerful role played by environmental factors. By Alex Ramon.

Anatomy of a murder

Marco Bellocchio’s gripping Exterior Night, exploring the 1978 murder of Italian president Aldo Moro, revisits some of the director’s old concerns in fascinating new ways. By Henry K. Miller.

Endings: The Wages of Fear

The bitterly cynical finale of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s white-knuckle ride through the mountains in the company of a pair of trucks carrying cargoes of nitroglycerine is truly explosive. By Arjun Sajip.




Our critics review: The Taste of Things; The Goldfinger; The Promised Land; Origin; Evil Does Not Exist; Mean Girls; Your Fat Friend; The Disappearance of Shere Hite; The Persian Version; Bad Behaviour; This Blessed Plot; Perfect Days; Eureka; Occupied City; Out of Darkness; Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son; The Kitchen; Wicked Little Letters; Gassed Up; The Iron Claw; American Fiction.


Our critics review: The Criminal Acts of Tod Slaughter: Eight Blood-and-Thunder Entertainments, 1935-1940; The Circus; Desire; The Frightened Woman aka Femina Ridens; Mean Streets; Honor Among Lovers; An American Tragedy; Elegant Beast; A Moment of Romance; Lone Star.


Our critics review: The Warner Brothers, My Cinema, Alfred Hitchcock Storyboards, The Needle and the Lens: Pop Goes to the Movies from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Synthwave, Reverse Shot: Twenty Years of Film Criticism in Four Movements.

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