Sight and Sound: the October 2022 issue

We uncover the myth of David Bowie as seen in dazzling new documentary Moonage Daydream. Plus: Andrew Dominik on Monroe biopic Blonde; Cronenberg and Crimes of the Future; and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me at 30

2 September 2022

Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound October 2022

“There are countless books about Bowie; there’s nothing else I can offer in terms of biography – but there is something intangible that can happen in a cinema, and that’s what I’m interested in exploring.” Brett Morgan, quoted here from his cover interview with Jonathan Romney, stretches to breaking point the boundaries of the music documentary with his kaleidoscopic Bowie portrait Moonage Daydream. In celebration of the shape-shifting star, we gain insight from Dylan Thomas on Bowie’s comic potential, hear from Jeremy Thomas about Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and look into the story behind Derek Jarman’s abortive Bowie-starring project Neutron.

Elsewhere in a packed issue: Andrew Dominik peels back the layers of unreality behind his Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde; Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me editor Mary Sweeney looks back on the critically reclaimed Lynch film; George Miller and Tilda Swinton on the dizzying Three Thousand Years of Longing; and David Cronenberg and Crimes of the Future examined by Iain Sinclair.

Features

Hooked to the silver screen

Hooked to the silver screen

Brett Morgen’s spectacular Moonage Daydream makes electrifying use of the singer’s private archive to create a visual and sonic celebration of the life of David Bowie. The director talks to Jonathan Romney.

Cracked actor

Bowie spent more than four decades in films and on television, whether starring or making creditable cameos. His appearances ranged from landmark to forgettable to just plain fun. A rundown of the highlights of a second life on the screen, by Jonathan Romney.

Chameleon comedian

From David Bowie’s fascination with Buster Keaton, Peter Cook and Spike Milligan to his performances in Extras and Zoolander, comedy played a central but undervalued role in his dazzling career. By Dylan Jones.

“He was happy to be buried up to his neck in the sand for nights on end”

David Bowie’s performance in Ōshima Nagisa’s 1983 film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is among his very best. Here the producer Jeremy Thomas recalls their time shooting in the South Pacific. Interview by Liz Tray.

Neutron

Storyboards from Derek Jarman’s proposed film with David Bowie. Words by William Fowler. Designs by Christopher Hobbs.

Andrew Dominik interviewed

“She was the Aphrodite of the 20th century and she killed herself. So what does that mean?”

Andrew Dominik’s Blonde offers meticulously recreated fragments from the tragic life of Marilyn Monroe. Here the director explains to Christina Newland why his portrait, like every other version of the star, is inevitably a fantasy and why his film functions more like a piece of music than a work of narrative fiction.

+ There’s something about Marilyn

Andrew Dominik picks out five films from Monroe’s back catalogue.

Portrait of the girl on fire

Portrait of the girl on fire

When David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was released 30 years ago, critics and audiences, in love with the quirkiness of Twin Peaks the TV series, were dismayed by the film’s frank portrayal of incest and abuse – but the intervening decades have seen its reputation transformed. Here the film’s editor Mary Sweeney talks to Nicole Flattery.

+ “As an editor you have to be a car mechanic and a poet”

Mary Sweeney shares her thoughts on editing and screenwriting.

The imaginarium of Doctor Miller

The imaginarium of Doctor Miller

George Miller’s supernatural fable Three Thousand Years of Longing has little in common with his Babe or Fury Road – or has it? He and star Tilda Swinton explore the stories behind stories with Isabel Stevens.

Death masques and Crimes of the Future

Death masques and Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg’s tale of a pair of avant-garde celebrity artists putting on performances of live surgery resurrects a script he wrote quarter of a century ago, a ‘posthumous dream’ in which the director confronts the inevitability of disease and death, writes Iain Sinclair.

From the archive: Orson Welles

From the archive: Orson Welles – the third audience

In 1953, a couple of years after shooting Othello, Orson Welles was invited to give a speech at the Edinburgh Festival by the BFI’s Summer Film School. Here we revisit his still relevant observations on the struggle between art and commerce that lies at the heart of filmmaking and why television just might be the future of film.

Opening scenes

Opening scenes

London calling

Running from 5-16 October, the BFI London Film Festival is back in full force with films by Joanna Hogg, Guillermo del Toro and Asif Kapadia. By Thomas Flew.

+ Eyes on the prize

The London Film Festival competition gathers the best of world cinema, with gems such as Hit the Road, Monos and Another Round among recent winners. This year Sight and Sound is delighted to present the official competition in association with the festival. Here we give the lowdown on the eight films selected.

In production: Life hands you Lemmons

Leila Latif speaks to Kasi Lemmons about her upcoming Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

News: It’s story time

Across the UK, history has come to life on the streets where it occurred thanks to StoryTrails. By Thomas Flew.

In conversation: Tom George

The director of BBC3’s This Country on his debut feature, an Agatha Christie-inflected period comedy whodunnit, See How They Run. By Trevor Johnston.

Obituary: Bob Rafelson, 1933-2022

One of the last of the red-hot American New Wavers, Bob Rafelson was a central figure in New Hollywood, particularly during its 1969 to 1971 breakout years. By Michael Atkinson.

Festival: Locarno

The lakeside Swiss festival had an eyecatching Douglas Sirk retrospective and a new artistic director still bedding in. By Neil Young.

Talkies

Talkies

The long take

Eadweard Muybridge was a man capable of almost anything, including stopping time. By Pamela Hutchinson.

Cine wanderer

Concrete brutalism meets a London that’s run out of swing in Straight on till Morning. By Phuong Le.

Director’s chair

In memory of Mamoun Hassan: a poem by Terence Davies.

Poll position

Speak up for Sweetback and Dielman, but are we ranking the films or ourselves? By B. Ruby Rich.

Editorial

Regulars

Editorial

Moonage Daydream bottles Bowie’s spirit, and points music docs in the right direction. By Mike Williams.

Rediscovery: The Saphead

Despite the rather fusty melodrama at its heart, Buster Keaton’s first feature film displays all the star’s luminous magnetism and hints at the sleek, sparkling comedy he would pioneer over the decade that followed. By Nick Bradshaw.

Archive TV: Elizabeth Taylor in London/Sophia Loren in Rome

Loren’s city symphony offers all the intimacy and fun that the Taylor lacks, in this pair of mid-60s travelogues by two of the biggest stars in the world at the time. By Robert Hanks.

Lost and found: Le Viager

Pierre Tchernia and René Goscinny’s delightful tale, about a greedy family waiting for a man to die so they can inherit his house in Saint-Tropez, is one of the best loved of all French comedies. By Philip Kemp.

Wider screen: Black Film Matters

In the year since its launch, Maya Cade’s Black Film Archive has become an essential online resource bringing together Black films made between 1915-1979 that are available to stream online. By Alex Ramon.

Endings: The Last Detail

The close of Hal Ashby’s classic 1973 buddy movie, which follows a pair of US Navy officers escorting a likeable young seaman to prison, leaves its protagonists disillusioned by their inevitable reckoning with authority. By Nicole Flattery.

Reviews

Reviews

Film

  • Both Sides of the Blade reviewed by Catherine Wheatley.
  • Nope reviewed by Ben Walters.
  • Bodies Bodies Bodies reviewed by Anton Bitel.
  • Silent Land reviewed by Katherine McLaughlin.
  • The Score reviewed by Leigh Singer.
  • Hatching reviewed by Anne Billson.
  • The Gold Machine reviewed by Ben Nicholson.
  • Dry Ground Burning reviewed by Ela Bittencourt.
  • Catherine Called Birdy reviewed by Nikki Baughan.
  • Strawberry Mansion reviewed by Philip Kemp.
  • In Front of Your Face reviewed by Thomas Flew.
  • Funny Pages reviewed by Adam Nayman.
  • Crimes of the Future reviewed by Kim Newman.
  • Intimate Distances reviewed by Nick Bradshaw.
  • Official Competition reviewed by Jonathan Romney.
  • After Yang reviewed by Jessica Kiang.
  • Moonage Daydream reviewed by Sam Davies.
  • It Is in Us All reviewed by Nikki Baughan.
  • Bullet Train reviewed by Rebecca Harrison.
  • The Forgiven reviewed by Jonathan Romney.
  • Three Thousand Years of Longing reviewed by Leigh Singer.

Television

  • The Sandman reviewed by Leila Latif.
  • Bad Sisters reviewed by Tara Judah.
  • Paper Girls reviewed by Gabrielle Marceau.
  • Under the Banner of Heaven reviewed by Philip Concannon.
  • Atlanta: Season 3 reviewed by Tony Rayns.
  • Surface reviewed by Rafa Sales Ross.
DVD and Blu-ray

DVD and Blu-ray

  • Putney Swope reviewed by Hannah McGill.
  • L’Argent reviewed by Philip Kemp.
  • Hearts and Minds reviewed by Nick Bradshaw.
  • Coming Apart reviewed by Michael Atkinson.
  • Running out of Time/Running out of Time 2 reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
  • Two Films by Vojtěch Jasný reviewed by Michael Brooke.
  • Among the Living reviewed by Kim Newman.
  • Universal Terror: Karloff reviewed by Philip Kemp.
  • The Molly Dineen Collection: Volume 4 reviewed by Hannah McGill.
  • The Initiation of Sarah reviewed by Kim Newman.

Books

  • The Afterimage Reader reviewed by Erika Balsom.
  • The Cinema House & the World: The Cahiers du cinéma Years, 1962-1981 reviewed by Henry K. Miller.
  • The Twilight World reviewed by Tony Rayns.