Sight and Sound: the Summer 2023 issue

In this special, bumper issue: Wes Anderson on Asteroid City, Cannes 2023 in review, David Thomson on action movies and Fyzal Boulifa on The Damned Don’t Dry. Plus: Anderson delves into the S&S vaults and selects vintage articles on Bette Davis, Satyajit Ray, Wim Wenders and more.

13 June 2023

Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound: the Summer 2023

“Feeling bamboozled by a Wes Anderson film is not a new occurrence – but that sense of exhilaration is something unique in his filmography, with the giddy sense it creates of watching a universe unfold in front of you.” So writes Isabel Stevens to introduce her cover interview with Anderson, whose newest creation Asteroid City is as detail dense and painstakingly conceived as ever. Their in-depth conversation results in what Stevens calls “an Asteroid City almanac.”

From Asteroid City to… Archive City. We handed Anderson the keys to the Sight and Sound vaults, allowing him to select articles from the magazine’s 91-year history. Most of his choices directly relate to his latest film, while others are included because they are about filmmakers he has long admired – such as Satyajit Ray, whose work he has acknowledged has helped make him the director he is today.

Elsewhere in a bumper double issue: all of the latest from Cannes, including: interviews with Warwick Thornton and Cate Blanchett for The New Boy, and Jim Jarmusch for his new scores for Man Ray films; looks at new films from Scorsese, Erice and Godard; and all of our recommendations, discoveries and disappointments from the festival.

Plus: a look at how AI is impacting cinema; David Thomson on action movies and masculinity; Fyzal Boulifa on his sophomore film The Damned Don’t Cry; and much more below.


Wes Anderson interviewed

Wes Anderson’s guide to his galaxy

There is far more to Wes Anderson’s world-building than the pastel palettes and symmetrical framing of myriad TikTok parodies. As Asteroid City arrives in cinemas, he talks about the joy of writing, the challenges of directing actors, and America’s place in the universe. Words by Isabel Stevens. Photography by Julian Ungano.

+ How the west was done

Wes Anderson and his production designer Adam Stockhausen on how they recreated 1950s south-western America outside Madrid.

Archive city: Wes Anderson delves into the Sight and Sound vaults

Wes Anderson selects a number of articles from Sight and Sound’s vast 91-year archive – among them interviews, profiles, filmmaker diaries and on-set reports.

James Cagney: top of the world

James Cagney: top of the world

In your face and light on his feet, a bundle of pugnacious energy, Cagney made the ideal little-boy-lost turned tough in any number of highly crafted and elegant studio pictures from Hollywood’s golden age. He was ‘the whole damn country squeezed into one pair of pants’, as Simon Louvish wrote in our July 2004 issue.

The screwball touch

Subverting social norms and viewer expectations, screwball comedies in the Golden Age saw fast-talking couples trade barbs and brickbats in the name of true love. Back in 2013, Michael Koresky revisited a genre of films that makes no excuses for outrageous behaviour.

Portrait of an actress: Bette Davis

Portrait of an actress: Bette Davis

Almost 75 years after the critic Gavin Lambert visited the set of Another Man’s Poison to watch the star in action, we revisit his deft portrait of her remarkable career to date, and his shrewd exploration of the nature of stardom, the mechanics of acting and the rare gifts that helped her to light up the screen.

Satyajit Ray on Pather Panchali

A long time on the little road: Satyajit Ray on the making of Pather Panchali

On release in 1955, Satyajit Ray’s first film Pather Panchali – ‘The Little Road’ – established him immediately as a director of international importance. In our Spring 1957 issue, he looked back on the long process of shooting on location in rural Bengal, and considered  what he had learned both about making films and about his own country.

On set with Billy Wilder

On set with Billy Wilder

In October 1956 the critic John Gillett joined Billy Wilder, Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn during the shooting of Love in the Afternoon, one of the director’s lightly comic tributes to Ernst Lubitsch.

The Paris, Texas chronicles

The Paris, Texas chronicles

In a piece for our Autumn 1984 issue, John Pym traced the thematic and stylistic links between Wim Wenders’ 1974 film Alice in the Cities and his heartbreaking Palme d’Or-winning portrait of love, loss, trauma and fractured families starring Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski.

+ ‘I want to introduce Saint Jack to as many people as possible’

In our September 1999 issue, Wes Anderson sang the praises of Peter Bogdanovich’s brilliant 1979 portrait of a smalltime American hustler in Singapore in the early 1970s.

Cinema ex machina

Cinema ex machina

The rapid development of artificial intelligence looks set to transform every aspect of film production, from screenwriting and visual effects to the ability to cast dead actors in new roles, but each brings with it a host of ethical and practical challenges. By Dominic Lees.



The manliness of action film heroes has always been a fragile pretence, undermined by the daring of the stuntmen who make it possible. When our view of masculinity has become more ambivalent and green screens have removed the stars even further from the action, how can the pretence be kept up? By David Thomson.

Fyzal Boulifa interviewed

Sweat and tears

In just two films – 2019’s Lynn + Lucy and now The Damned Don’t Cry – Fyzal Boulifa has established himself as one of the UK’s most thoughtful, original and exciting filmmakers. Here he talks about the inspiration his Moroccan family supplied for his latest film, the industry’s thirst for novelty and defying expectations. By Hannah McGill.

The Cannes bulletin

The Cannes bulletin

No one could fault the quality of many of the films this year, writes Isabel Stevens,
but with a wider ban on protests is the festival in danger of cutting itself off from
its radical past?

Killers of the Flower Moon is a late-Scorsese highlight

After long delays, and weighed down with expectation, Martin Scorsese’s epic about the murders of members of the Osage tribe in oil-crazy 1920s Oklahoma did not disappoint. By Jessica Kiang.

Scandalous women take the spotlight

Though it may have seemed at points in this year’s festival that the ‘transgressive woman’ was becoming too common a spectacle to shock, there were still films – by women directors – offering rich, surprising variations on the theme.

The return of Víctor Erice

The premiere of the great director’s fourth feature in 50 years, exploring grief and loss, was an event to savour, marred only by Erice’s absence. By Thomas Flew.

Viva Godard

The director’s final fragment was as enigmatic, aphoristic and poetic as anything he made. By Nicolas Rapold.

Warwick Thornton and Cate Blanchett on The New Boy

Director and star discuss the film’s long gestation and how to lend complexity to a portrayal of the vexed history of the Roman Catholic Church and Australian Aboriginal people.

Jim Jarmusch: the secret surrealist

The director of Mystery Train and Paterson has long had a sideline as a musician, and his most recent project finds him adding soundtracks to the pioneering silent films of Man Ray. Could it be that his heart belongs to Dada?

Molly Manning Walker’s Cannes diary

The first-time director, triumphant in the Un Certain Regard section for innovative storytelling, talks about the background to her film and takes some shots of – and at – the festival. Introduction and interview by Lou Thomas.

+ Recommendations, discoveries and disappointments from the festival

Opening scenes

Opening scenes

Entering the forbidden zone: Bette Gordon’s Variety at 40

A new restoration is screening at Bristol’s Cinema Rediscovered alongside films inspired by post-punk New York in the 1980s and a strand of blacklisted directors. By Rachel Pronger.

In production: Memories of murder

New films by Lucrecia Martel, Martin Scorsese, Karim Aïnouz and Zach Cregger. By Lou Thomas and Thomas Flew.

News: Empire strikes

David Lynch on the new remaster of Inland Empire. By Sam Wigley.

In conversation: Danny and Michael Philippou

Talk to Me is a supernatural horror debut by twin Australian directors. Interview by Lou Thomas.

Festival: Documenta Madrid

The most recent edition of the Spanish documentary film festival, now entering its third decade, brings stories of police brutality and Russian rebels. Report by Kieron Corless.

Obituary: Pema Tseden, 1969-2023

In his 53 years, Pema Tseden did more than anyone else to forge a modern Tibetan film culture. By Tony Rayns.

Tribute: Kenneth Anger, 1927-2023

Kenneth Anger, who died on May 11 in Yucca Valley, California, produced a body of work unique in cinema. By William E. Jones.

The score: Sally Potter

The Orlando director has made a Dylan-influenced minimalist album – her first. By Lillian Crawford.



The long take

Time passes in mysterious ways in the dark of the stalls, and ‘slow’ certainly doesn’t have to mean dull. By Pamela Hutchinson.

TV eye

Some television screenwriting is already so clichéd we might not even notice when AI starts to take over. By Andrew Male.

Poll position

The film of the year rarely ends up on the list of all-time greats. What makes the difference? By Kevin B. Lee.

Flick lit

In a Lonely Place and My Face for the World to See share a dark, unsettling moral: don’t trust anyone. By Nicole Flattery.




Wes Anderson should be cherished. He makes social media almost bearable. By Mike Williams.

Rediscovery: Naked Lunch

Perhaps David Cronenberg is just too at home with injury, penetration, decay and madness to understand the torment of William Burroughs. Still, his adaptation of the novelist’s best-known book offers some peculiar delights. By Hannah McGill.

Archive TV: Out

Tom Bell’s authoritative central performance, as an ex-con tearing up bits of south London on a quest for revenge, ensures that this distinctly unglamorous slice of 70s crime fiction can still grip the attention. By Robert Hanks.

Lost and found: The Heartbreak Kid

Elaine May’s bleak anti-romantic comedy is overshadowed by the Farrelly brothers’ crude 2007 remake. About time this masterpiece of disillusion, self-loathing and destructive daydreaming was seen on its own account. By Simran Hans.

Wider screen

Wider screen

The emotional entanglements of Billops and Hatch

The restoration of Camille Billops and James Hatch’s short autobiographical documentaries exploring abuse, addiction, racism and family offers a welcome opportunity to celebrate the duo’s powerful work made between 1982 and 2002. By Matthew Barrington.

Troubles in mind

Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon’s fine film opera History of the Present explores the turbulent legacy of political unrest in working-class Belfast. By Laura Staab.

Endings: There’s Always Tomorrow (1956)

Douglas Sirk’s desolate melodrama, about a husband in a dull suburban marriage who falls for another woman, offers a happy ending in which everything is fine and no one is happy. By Guy Lodge.




Our critics review: The Super 8 Years; Asteroid City; My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock; The Damned Don’t Cry; Inland; Mother and Son; Pretty Red Dress; Greatest Days; Chevalier; Joy Ride; Name Me Lawand; Shabu; War Pony; While We Watched; Small, Slow but Steady; Paris Memories; Smoking Causes Coughing; Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis; La Syndicaliste; Talk to Me; Stars at Noon.

DVD and Blu-ray

Our critics review: Magic, Myth & Mutilation: Michael J. Murphy; Smooth Talk; Yakuza Graveyard; The Sunday Woman; I Am Weekender; The House that Screamed; The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu & The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu; The Son of the Stars; The Man on the Roof; The Kiss Before the Mirror.


Our critics review: Brian, Memories of Underdevelopment, Jacques Rivette and French New Wave Cinema: Interviews, Conversations, Chronologies.


Other things to explore