“Videotapes are one of the most durable things that we’ve ever created to store a movie in. You have to take a hammer and fuck up a VHS tape.” For our cover feature, Quentin Tarantino pays tribute to home entertainment’s least fashionable format, speaking to Farran Smith Nehme about his and Roger Avary’s new podcast, in which they reminisce about their formative years working in a video shop.
Elsewhere in this issue: we spotlight some of the finest film podcasts and hear from You Must Remember This’s host Karina Longworth; Baz Luhrmann on his dizzying biopic Elvis; Warren Ellis about his collaborations with Nick Cave, Andrew Dominik and Lucile Hadžihalilović; and Panah Panahi on Hit the Road, his blistering and beautiful debut feature.
The Tarantino tapes
In the age of streaming and Blu-ray, why watch films on the clunkiest, chunkiest of all home cinema formats, VHS? Former video store clerks Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary have thousands of good reasons, and they’re sharing them with the world in a vastly entertaining new podcast. By Farran Smith Nehme.
+ The video shop around the corner
Thomas Flew surveys the UK video shop scene.
In pod we trust
It’s a crowded listening market, with seemingly no end of cinephiles, famous and otherwise, hosting podcasts. Here we give you some carefully chosen starting points to complement your celluloid needs. Introduction by Michael Leader.
+ You must listen to this
Film historian Karina Longworth’s superb podcast offers a wealth of fascinating, painstakingly researched tales exploring Hollywood’s first century. Interview by Christina Newland.
‘Elvis was the original punk’
Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling Elvis has a style and verve that makes musical rivals feel limp in comparison. Here he explains how he crafted a biopic fit for a King. By Isabel Stevens.
Ellis in wonderland
With scores for a trio of films out in the UK this year – Earwig, The Velvet Queen and Blonde – the Dirty Three violinist and long-time Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis explains why letting go is key to composing and why he has learned always to defer to the director. By Andrew Male.
‘The only way out is exile’
Panah Panahi’s piercing debut feature Hit the Road is a bittersweet road movie exploring the political tensions in modern-day Iran. Here the director explains how he escaped his famous father’s shadow. By David Thompson.
+ Influences and passions
Panah Panahi on the films and filmmakers who have left an indelible mark on Hit the Road.
From the archive: Georges Méliès: the silver lining
On the 120th anniversary of Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, we look back at an article the great French director wrote for Sight and Sound shortly before his death in January 1938, detailing a series of comic mishaps behind the scenes of his pioneering films.
Black Film Bulletin
In this issue, we celebrate the foundational milestones of Black queer filmmaking, look beyond colonial archives with Egypt’s Jihan El-Tahri and revisit the Reel Black Filmmaker Retreat in the Suffolk countryside.
Queer and Black: the illuminated screen
Retracing the defining moments of the queer Black screen, Rico Johnson-Sinclair, the BFI’s race equality lead and director of Birmingham’s CineQ, examines the complex line between voyeurism and the authentic gaze.
Jihan El-Tahri: renaissance woman
In this interview with writer Onyekachi Wambu, Egyptian filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri discusses her latest project, ‘People’s Stories – Past & Present: Bridging the Silenced and Liminal Spaces of African Imagery’.
Hosting leading talents from across the transatlantic diaspora – including Sir Steve McQueen, Tabitha Jackson, Black Film Bulletin founder Dr June Givanni and Netflix’s Reva Sharma – in the heart of the Suffolk countryside in May, the Reel Black Filmmaker Retreat was the first of its kind. Nadia Denton, Beyond Nollywood founder, impact producer and the curator of the retreat, reflects on the highlights
‘It’s all history if we only remember’
Fifty years on, the Edinburgh International Film Festival celebrates its landmark 1972 Women’s Event. By Rachel Pronger.
Recommendations from the Sight and Sound team.
In production: Spinal destination
The sequel to This Is Spinal Tap (1984) will begin filming next year ahead of a hopeful release in March 2024 to coincide with the first film’s 40th anniversary, according to director Rob Reiner. Plus new films by Andrew Haigh, Nia DaCosta and Victor Erice. By Lou Thomas and Thomas Flew.
News: Czeching in
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival was back to its usual slot of early July for the 56th edition, after the pandemic necessitated a more subdued August affair last year. By Carmen Gray.
In conversation: Babak Anvari
The director of Under the Shadow on his Hitchcockian home-invasion drama I Came By. By Leila Latif.
Obituary: James Caan
Jimmy Caan got a raw deal, writes David Thomson.
Dream palaces: Cineteca Nacional de Mexico
Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Beshir, whose mystical documentary Faya Dayi is out now, talks about watching films in a Russian military camp and being inspired by Mambéty. Interview by Avanish Chandrasekaran.
Festival: Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna
The archive film festival in northern Italy illuminates obscure delights by directors Mikko Niskanen and Arby Ovanessian. By Philip Concannon.
The long take
Rare indeed is the celluloid reel that dies with dignity in its farewell performance. By Pamela Hutchinson.
In Ticket of No Return the camera observes a woman’s trip to oblivion through glass, darkly. By Phuong Le.
We need new African directors in the Top 100: let’s start with Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese. By Oris Aigbokhaevbolo.
In life as with video tapes, rewinding can sometimes be a good idea. By Mike Williams.
Rediscovery: Execution in Autumn
Taiwan’s cinema in the 1970s was doubly afflicted: by the home audience’s diminishing interest in weepies and war movies, and by the tidal wave of martial-arts movie imports from Hong Kong. But there were sparks of renewal. By Tony Rayns.
Archive TV: Mark Saber
The urbane London-based PI was the hero of hundreds of episodes churned out by the Danziger brothers – cheapskate Americans abroad with a flare for talent-spotting. By Robert Hanks.
Lost and Found: The Line, the Cross & the Curve
Gotta dance! Dismissed as a failure even by its creator, Kate Bush’s Powell and Pressburger-inspired film rewards reappraisal with its bold visuals and witty cinematic references. By Alex Ramon.
Wider screen: Tsuchimoto Noriaki: politicising public relations
The documentarian’s powerful films about the brutal effects of modernisation in Japan are marked by a desire to make films with and not about vulnerable people. By Becca Voelcker.
Endings: Woman of the Dunes
The close of Teshigahara Hiroshi’s haunting 1964 fable, about a man imprisoned at the bottom of a deep pit, offers some gloomy parallels with the modern world. By Violet Lucca.
- Queen of Glory reviewed by Clara Bradbury-Rance.
- All Light, Everywhere reviewed by Laura Jacobs.
- McEnroe reviewed by David Parkinson.
- Faya Dayi reviewed by Leila Latif.
- Maisie reviewed by Ben Walters.
- Eiffel reviewed by Caspar Salmon.
- Akilla’s Escape reviewed by John Bleasdale.
- Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time reviewed by Adam Nayman.
- Anaïs in Love reviewed by Ginette Vincendeau.
- It Snows in Benidorm reviewed by Hannah McGill.
- Where Is Anne Frank reviewed by Alex Davidson.
- Prizefighter reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Mad God reviewed by John Bleasdale.
- The Feast reviewed by Anton Bitel.
- Leave No Traces reviewed by Michael Brooke.
- Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash reviewed by Tony Rayns.
- The Deer King reviewed by Andrew Osmond.
- My Old School reviewed by James Lattimer.
- Blind Ambition reviewed by Violet Lucca.
- Elvis reviewed by Simran Hans.
- Her Way reviewed by Elena Lazic.
- Irma Vep reviewed by Catherine Wheatley.
- Sherwood reviewed by Kate Stables.
- The Baby reviewed by Leila Latif.
- Black Bird reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- The Suspect reviewed by Katherine McLaughlin.
- Loot reviewed by Nikki Baughan.
DVD and Blu-ray
- Pickpocket reviewed by Catherine Wheatley.
- Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- Ilya Muromets reviewed by Michael Atkinson.
- Get Carter reviewed by Nikki Baughan.
- One for the Road reviewed by Hannah McGill.
- The Appointment reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Frieda reviewed by Philip Kemp.
- Larks on a String reviewed by Nikki Baughan.
- Pastor Hall reviewed by Trevor Johnston.
- Man Without a Star reviewed by Robert Hanks.
- Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory by Sarah Polley, reviewed by Hannah McGill.
- The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer, reviewed by Henry K. Miller.
- Tale of Cinema by Dennis Lim, reviewed by Tony Rayns.