Sight and Sound: the October 2021 issue

We at Sight and Sound love magazines. So, it turns out, does Wes Anderson, whose tenth feature The French Dispatch lovingly wanders the corridors of its titular publication. And so, hopefully, do you. Here’s what you can expect in this month’s issue.

Our cover star is Anderson himself, who agreed to a grilling from Tilda Swinton, one of The French Dispatch’s many, many stars. They discuss their coworkers, the magic of a portmanteau film and the creation of Swinton’s art critic character.

David F. Walker recalls almost interviewing the great comedian and actor Richard Pryor 25 years ago, and considers his dual career as a provocative stand-up and as an actor caught between mainstream comedies and grounded, human dramas.

Best known for his striking work as a cinematographer, Roger Deakins is equally adept in still photography. He speaks to Thomas Flew about 50 years of photos, recently collected into the book Byways.

‘Look closely’ is the message behind The Story of Looking and All Light, Everywhere, new films by documentarians Mark Cousins and Theo Anthony, respectively. Nick Bradshaw speaks to the two directors about the beauty and the dangers of observation.

Claudia Weill’s portrait of a female friendship in New York, Girlfriends, is the best-known work in the director’s largely overlooked career. Beatrice Loayza talks to Weill about filmmaking in the 1970s and her transition from documentary to fiction.

“Words are icebergs. You only see the little tip,” says Delphine Seyrig in this month’s archive interview. Likewise, these features are only the tip of this issue’s iceberg of writing, each page as meticulously crafted as a Wes Anderson scene. Dive in!


Wes Anderson interviewed by Tilda Swinton

Wes Anderson interviewed by Tilda Swinton

Wes Anderson’s long-awaited tenth feature The French Dispatch is an ode to Paris, French movies and, most of all, magazines. The director’s longtime collaborator Tilda Swinton, who plays a writer in the film, took on our commission to interview him. Introduction by Isabel Stevens.

+ Constructing the fictional city of Ennui-sur-Blasé

+ Wes Anderson on portmanteau movies

+ Wes Anderson on French movie influences

Bustin’ Loose: the pain and glory of Richard Pryor

Bustin’ loose: the pain and glory of Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor’s taboo-shattering comedy revolutionised stand-up and led to an enviable Hollywood career, but the hidden fuel for his art was a lifetime of mental torment. By David F. Walker.

Cameraperson: Roger Deakins, the photographer

Cameraperson: Roger Deakins, the photographer

Acclaimed for his work as a cinematographer for the likes of the Coens and Denis Villeneuve, Roger Deakins has now revealed his formidable talents as a still photographer, publishing a book of striking, stripped-back black-and-white images taken over more than half a century. By Thomas Flew.

Cinema du look

Cinema du look

Fascinating new films by Mark Cousins and Theo Anthony explore the subject of looking from very different viewpoints. Here the directors discuss ways of seeing, from state surveillance to the aesthetic pleasures of contemplation. By Nick Bradshaw

Claudia Weill interviewed

“It was a quiet revolution.”

Kicking off a strand focusing on overlooked filmmakers from the past, Claudia Weill discusses her trailblazing career and her 1978 low-budget wonder Girlfriends.

The future of film, part two

The future of film part two

In our previous issue we asked a number of interesting and important filmmakers where film is at in 2021, how it got here and, most importantly, where it goes next. In this follow-up we give you more of their answers and add others who were keen to have their say.

From the archive: “Words are icebergs. You only see the little tip.”

As Last Year at Marienbad turns 60, we revisit this 1969 interview with the film’s luminous star Delphine Seyrig, one of the leading figures of post-war European cinema, in which she discusses her craft and career.

Our Opening scenes section

Opening scenes

Preview: BFI London Film Festival

With a big-name headliner – the first solo Coen effort – the LFF is coming back to in-person screenings with a blast, but isn’t forgetting the online ground gained. By Guy Lodge.

Editors’ choice

Recommendations from the Sight and Sound team.

In production: Cannes Uncut

New films by Mark Adams, Mark Jenkin, Gurinder Chadha and Andrew Dominik. By Thomas Flew.

News: Arab cinema at the BFI

Curators Alia Ayman and Youssef Shazli discuss their new programme, playing at BFI Southbank. By Thomas Flew.

In conversation: Andrew Haigh

The director talks about his new BBC2 series The North Water with Colin Farrell and shooting in the Arctic. By Hannah McGill.

Festival: Locarno

This year in Switzerland, the returning in-person festival met magical thinking with harsh realities. By John Bleasdale.

Report: Film history at risk at the Cinemateca Brasileira

A devastating fire has put Bolsonaro’s neglect of the arts in the spotlight. Can sacked workers rescue the priceless film archive, saving the jewel in Brazil’s movie crown? By Ela Bittencourt.

Obituary: Dilip Kumar, 1922-2021

In memory of one of the most important and influential actors of Indian cinema. By Nasreen Munni Kabir.

Dream palaces: Ster-Kinekor, Sandton City

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp recalls a youth of choosing air-con over urban decay and watching great films of the 1990s at the Sandton mall in his native South Africa. Interview by Thomas Flew.

Our Talkies section


The long take

Ten-storey love song: the development of the tower block in cinema. By Pamela Hutchinson.

Off the shelf

Not every film deserves our full attention. Does that mean they don’t deserve any of it? By Jonathan Ross.

The director’s chair

The destruction of a film archive is an assault on the future as well as the past. By Kirsten Johnson

Cine wanderer

Fantasy beyond the clouds: the enigma of Ferrara and a fixation on Antonioni. By Phuong Le.

Our regular Endings feature



Wes Anderson might be surprised to hear his new film gets magazine offices spot on. By Mike Williams.

Rediscovery: Gallivant

Andrew Kötting’s family travelogue around the UK had plenty of layers of meaning to begin with, but it’s picked up some new ones along the way. By Matthew Harle.

Archive TV: Maigret

This fine transfer of the BBC series lets viewers enjoy Rupert Davies’s peerless portrayal of the Parisian inspector for the first time in more than in 50 years. By Robert Hanks.

Lost and found: Messidor

A road-movie with nowhere to go, Thelma & Louise as conceived by Beckett, Alain Tanner’s film is a low-key masterpiece of female resistance. By Michael Atkinson.

This month in… 1991

Sight and Sound became a monthly magazine for the first time since 1951, when in May 1991, under the editorship of Philip Dodd, it amalgamated with the Monthly Film Bulletin. To mark that moment of acceleration in its coverage of international cinema, we look back at the Sight and Sound issue for October that year, which reveals that two giants of queer cinema, Derek Jarman in the UK and Todd Haynes in America, were under the critical spotlight.

Endings: All About Eve

The final shot of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s glorious, barbed 1950 masterpiece sneakily suggests that the real villain is not Eve Harrington herself but female ambition in general. By Jessica Kiang.

Our Reviews section


  • Balloon reviewed by Tony Rayns.
  • Sabaya reviewed by Becca Voelcker.
  • Gagarine reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
  • Wildfire reviewed by Madeleine Wall.
  • A Brixton Tale reviewed by Alex Davidson.
  • Sweetheart reviewed by Clara Bradbury-Rance.
  • Prisoners of the Ghostland reviewed by Tony Rayns.
  • Copilot reviewed by Gabrielle Marceau.
  • Herself reviewed by Catherine Wheatley.
  • The Story of Looking reviewed by Michael Brooke.
  • Pig reviewed by Jonathan Romney.
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin reviewed by Jason Anderson.
  • Oliver Sacks: His Own Life reviewed by Guy Lodge.
  • Candyman reviewed by Kaleem Aftab.
  • Sweet Thing reviewed by Leigh Singer.
  • Respect reviewed by Nadine Deller.
  • Rose Plays Julie reviewed by So Mayer.
  • Demonic reviewed by Anton Bitel.
  • The Nest reviewed by Philip Kemp.
  • Misha and the Wolves reviewed by Lisa Mullen.
  • Gunpowder Milkshake reviewed by Nikki Baughan.


  • The Chair reviewed by Rebecca Harrison.
  • The North Water reviewed by Hannah McGill.
  • The White Lotus reviewed by Kate Stables.
  • Katla reviewed by Kim Newman.
  • Uprising reviewed by Alex Ramon.

DVD & Blu-ray

  • Great Noises That Fill the Air reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu
  • Siberia reviewed by Brad Stevens.
  • Films by Penelope Spheeris reviewed by Hannah McGill.
  • Ingmar Bergman Volume 1 reviewed by Michael Brooke.
  • Ken Jacobs Collection Vol. 1 reviewed by Michael Atkinson.
  • Honeymoon reviewed by David Thompson.
  • The People Next Door reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
  • The Big Fix reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
  • Films by Noucha van Brakel reviewed by David Thompson.
  • Corruption reviewed by Trevor Johnston.

Wider screen

  • Tales from the crypto. By Becca Voelcker.
  • Living history. By Pamela Hutchinson.


  • Ghibliotheque reviewed by Kate Stables.
  • The Magic Box: Viewing Britain Through the Rectangular Window reviewed by Kim Newman.

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