After super-sized anime smash hits Your Name and Weathering with You, Shinkai Makoto returns with Suzume, described by Nick Bradshaw in our cover feature as “another signature Shinkai blockbuster: opulent, openhearted, mixing contemporary realism with supernatural fantasy and folklore as it follows its eponymous teen heroine through literally earthshaking peril in the shadow of geological disaster.” To celebrate, we pair a conversation with the director (and accompanying exclusive concept artworks) with an A to Z of contemporary anime.
Elsewhere within this issue are a look back through Dracula’s cinematic past, a new issue of the Black Film Bulletin, interviews with Dario Argento, Mia Hansen-Løve, Pacifiction director Albert Serra and Rye Lane director Raine Allen-Miller. Plus all of the latest news from festivals, reviews of new releases, new Talkies columnists and much more.
The mad mad mad mad worlds of Shinkai Makoto
The director’s latest hit, Suzume, mixes realism with supernatural fantasy in its tale of a girl racing to avert geological disaster. He talks about the challenges of animating at scale, happy endings and why he chose to memorialise the 2011 earthquake in Japan. By Nick Bradshaw.
+ The disaster artists
Showcasing a series of exclusive images, Suzume director Shinkai Makoto talks to Nick Bradshaw about how he and his collaborators crafted a trio of key scenes and motifs.
A to Z of contemporary anime
With the popularity of Japanese animation exploding, we offer a guide to the current people, works and themes you need to know. By Michael Leader and Lynzee Loveridge.
Bite club: the evolution of Dracula
As Nicolas Cage hits the screens as the blood-hungry Count in Chris McKay’s Renfield, we lift the coffin lid to reveal the dizzying variety of screen versions of Dracula, from the early defining visions of Universal to the lurid visions of Jesús Franco and later more romantic reinventions. By Kim Newman.
At the movies with… Dario Argento
On the eve of a major BFI retrospective of the horror maestro’s work, the director recalls his early passion for the cinema and reminisces about Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Bernardo Bertolucci and Sergio Leone. Introduction, interview and translation by Giovanni Marchini Camia.
Facts and Pacifiction
Albert Serra’s Pacifiction blends the atmosphere of 70s American paranoid cinema with 50s Hollywood dramas, in an espionage thriller in which nothing quite happens. Here the director explains why he started out with a crafted script and then sought to ‘destroy, destroy, destroy’ in a deliberate bid to unsettle viewers. By Jonathan Romney.
From the archive: The craft of acting
To mark the BFI Southbank’s season dedicated to northern talent in the UK, we republish an in-depth conversation between Salford legend Albert Finney and the Scottish actress Mary Ure as their careers were moving into overdrive in the early 1960s. By Louis Marcorelles.
Black Film Bulletin
Archivist, editor, pioneer: June Givanni in conversation with Sarita Malik
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Black Film Bulletin and the 40th anniversary of the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, founder June Givanni talks to Sarita Malik, professor of media and culture at Brunel University, about her cultural labour, the solidarity between the past and present articulated in the BFB, and the upcoming exhibition at London’s Raven Row Gallery that will profile the work of the archive.
Speak easy: Screen scenes
When the Black Film Bulletin emerged out of the BFI’s former African Caribbean Unit in spring 1993, its debut issues chronicled both the prolific new wave of Black cinema across the diaspora in the early 1990s and the timely openings of Europe’s first Black-owned film exhibition venues. Thirty years on, one of the UK’s leading Black cinema exhibition platforms, We Are Parable, marks its own ten-year anniversary. Co-founder Anthony Andrews reflects on its rise, the collectives that came before it and the evolving Black British screen scene.
30 years on: Wishful Filming
In ‘Wishful Filming’, the concluding part of artist filmmaker Sir John Akomfrah’s 1993 essay series first published in BFB’s inaugural issues, he contends with the absence of confidence around a broader question: how do we consider Black British film? Thirty years on, BFI curator Xavier Pillai re-examines that inquiry and explores evolutions within the experimental terrain of artists’ moving image.
Jim Pines: in memorium
Maureen Blackwood pays tribute to a champion of Black independent cinema, who has died at the age of 77.
Young soul rebellers
As Rye Lane continues to play in cinemas, its south London setting has been drawing plenty of attention – and situates the film in a longstanding tradition of Black British features shot on location. By Arjun Sajip.
In production: Suck it and see
New films from Daisy-May Hudson, Adam McKay, Steven Knight and Ridley Scott.
News: Hope for Filmhouse
Edinburgh is still reeling from the closure of Filmhouse after its umbrella charity, the Centre for the Moving Image, went into administration last October. The Save the Filmhouse campaign fights back.
In conversation: Mia Hansen-Løve
The French director’s latest, One Fine Morning, is her most personal film yet. By Catherine Wheatley.
Obituary: Leslie Hardcastle, 1926-2023
Perhaps the defining qualities of Leslie Hardcastle, who has died aged 96, were his innate showmanship and infectious enthusiasm for whatever project was in hand. By Ian Christie.
Berlinale: top 5 films
Trans-themed films were a highlight of the festival programme. Plus, our critic’s top picks. By Guy Lodge.
True/False Film Fest: what‘s up with docs?
In the age of activism, documentaries are often valued as simply drivers of change – not so at the 20th edition of the Missouri festival, which foregrounds nonfiction as art. By Simran Hans.
The ballot of… Amanda Kramer
Each month we highlight a voter in our Greatest Films of All Time poll. Here the American director of Please Baby Please and Ladyworld shares her choices.
Artist Justin Besana’s eye-popping design captures the imaginative Filipino film Leonor Will Never Die. By Thomas Flew.
The long take
In praise of domestic disaster movies, true masterclasses in world-building. By Pamela Hutchinson.
The Last of Us might be a modern video game adaptation, but its genre roots go back to the 1960s. By Andrew Male.
With each tectonic shift in the Sight and Sound poll, there are winners and losers. By Kevin B. Lee.
A biopic that depicts the relentless drive of a female writer is long overdue. By Nicole Flattery.
If you tolerate a Vertigo remake, then the HCU will be next. By Mike Williams.
Rediscovery: Fill ’Er up with Super
Alain Cavalier’s free-wheeling film about men without women, motoring down to the Riviera, deserves to be recognised as a piece of classic French cinema – a road movie that fires on all cylinders. By Kieron Corless.
Archive TV: Frankenstein: the True Story
Remember, Frankenstein isn’t the name of the monster: Hollywood is the name of the monster, and creative artists who get involved with it are liable to get monstered. By Robert Hanks.
Lost and Found: Gabrielle
Hasse Ekman’s harsh, compassionate picture of a man’s jealous fantasies shows that Ingmar Bergman’s compatriot and friend was more than just ‘the other Swede’. By Imogen Sara Smith.
Nina Menkes: giving voice to female rage and despair
The women at the heart of the feminist director’s potent, oneiric films are all refuseniks, turning their backs on the roles assigned by a capitalist patriarchy. By Sophia Satchell-Baeza.
Endings: Variety (1983)
The tantalising final shot of Bette Gordon’s enigmatic neo-noir offers more questions than it does answers, befitting a film that revels in the thrill of mystery. By Ben Nicholson.
Our critics review: Return to Seoul, Suzume, Blue Bag Life, Lola, Godland, Cairo Conspiracy, How to Blow up a Pipeline, Leonor Will Never Die, Y Swn, The Night of the 12th, The Blue Caftan, Pacifiction, Sick of Myself, One Fine Morning, Loving Highsmith, Evil Dead Rise, Kill Boksoon, Renfield, Marlowe and God’s Creatures.
DVD and Blu-ray
Our critics review: Wanda, Frank Borzage 1922 Silents, Ingmar Bergman Volume 4, The Final Programme, The Last Emperor, The Lower Depths, The Whip and the Body, Dead for a Dollar and The Night of the Following Day.
Our critics review: Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors, Continental Films: French Cinema under German Control and Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Politics of Murder.