Sight and Sound: the Summer 2024 issue

In this 21st-century cinema special: 25 critics choose an era-defining film from each year of the century, and J. Hoberman asks: what is a 21st-century film? Plus: ten talking points from Cannes – George Miller on Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – remembering Roger Corman with a never-before-seen interview.

Sight and Sound: the Summer 2024 issue

From our vantage point in 2024, we sit one quarter of the way through the 21st century. To acknowledge this milestone, we have enlisted the help of 25 of our finest critics, asking each to nominate a film that is significant within our cinematic era – the kind of film that could be put into a time capsule for the cinephiles of the 22nd century and beyond to marvel at, a movie that is both representative of and a high watermark of the years 2000 to 2024. 

Listed in chronological order, these 25 entries – one from each year – form a fascinating snapshot of our times. With no aspirations to comprehensiveness, this is a subjective, esoteric, perhaps even provocative, collection of films. From the UK to Brazil to China to Lesotho, from independent breakthroughs to Hollywood hits to the utterly uncategorisable, our cover feature celebrates the films of the century so far.


Quintessential 21st century

Quintessential 21st century

The 21st century has seen vast changes in the world, in the stories film tells about it and in how we view those stories, as digital technologies have enabled filmmakers to get closer than ever to reality and pushed viewers further away from it. How do we say what has happened so far, let alone what will happen next? Pass the popcorn. By J. Hoberman.

Cannes bulletin

Cannes bulletin

Money was the big issue of this year’s festival, with films following the lives of some of the billions around the globe who don’t have enough of it, as well as epics made by the few auteurs rich and passionate enough to bet their property empires on art, writes Isabel Stevens. PLUS ten Cannes talking points, including a defence of Megalopolis, our critics’ recommendations, reports on American indie and animation highlights, and an interview with Grand Prix winner Payal Kapadia.

George Miller interviewed

Ozpocalypse now

George Miller’s Mad Max saga has now lasted more than four decades, and has produced some of the most thrilling, wildly imaginative action in modern cinema. With the release of the fifth instalment, Furiosa: A Mad Max Story, the director discusses the radical changes in filmmaking over his career – and how some things never change. By Henry K. Miller.

Roger Corman interviewed

‘I don’t know if auteur’s the right word, but if they say it, I can accept it’

The undisputed king of the American B movie, Roger Corman, who died in May at the age of 98, directed more than 50 films and produced many hundreds more. In this previously unpublished interview from 2013 he looks back on his career and shares his memories of the Hollywood legends he helped along the way. By Matthew Thrift.

From the archive: Elia Kazan

From the archive: ‘There can’t be a fine picture without a fine script’

After a dozen or so hugely successful years as a director, with films including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and East of Eden, Elia Kazan penned this witty, insightful tribute to those unsung heroes, the writers. By Elia Kazan, Sight and Sound, Summer 1957.

Opening scenes

‘Let’s try to create the images they don’t want us to see’

Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border, which examines the brutal treatment of refugees trapped between Belarus and Poland, provoked official outrage, but the director defiantly insists on showing the reality of human survival. By Alex Ramon.

In production: Disaster artist

New films from Ruben Östlund, Jim Jarmusch, Iuli Gerbase and Paul Schrader.

In conversation: ‘The intention, I swear, is never to shock people or make them shut their eyes’

Returning to work with his long-time collaborator Yorgos Lanthimos on the ‘triptych fable’ Kinds of Kindness, screenwriter Efthimis Filippou talks cruelty, self-censorship and visualising characters. Interview by Jonathan Romney.

Festivals: Jeonju International Film Festival

Young South Koreans are lapping up post-war films, including one by the country’s first female director. By Beatrice Loayza.


Flick lit

Almost 50 years on, The Devil Finds Work remains an electrifying tour de force of film criticism. By Nicole Flattery.

The long take

From Alice Guy-Blaché to Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy, watching a female director at work on screen is a rare joy. By Pamela Hutchinson.

TV eye

Why Bafta’s surprise Best International Series winner really is a Class Act. By Andrew Male.

The magnificent ‘74

Chinatown: or how a real 1974 and a fictional 1937 created a timeless, troubling LA legend. By Jessica Kiang.



It’s quarter past the century. What better time for some bold claims about greatness? By Mike Williams.

Rediscovery: Heartbreakers

Attractive stars, a cast with no weak links, a sharp, witty script, a pinpoint recreation of 80s Los Angeles, acclaim at festivals… and yet Bobby Roth’s film has been all but forgotten for nearly 40 years. It could break your heart. By David Thompson.

Lost and found: The Pleasure Pit

This drama of post-’68 disillusionment on the hippie trail to Kathmandu succumbs to a lot of cynical clichés about the downsides of hippie life, free love and drug culture. But it also offers sharp observation and a score to obsess over. By Sophia Satchell-Baeza.

Wider screen

School of rock

Deborah Stratman’s beguiling, awe-inspiring geological portrait of the Earth, Last Things, offers a sustained encounter with otherness, presenting a rich cast of minerals, crystals and stones in the place of people. By Sukhdev Sandhu.

Dawn of the ted

Teddy boys and girls featured in a host of British films in the 1950s and early 60s about youths running riot, as explored in a recent book on the sharp fashions and tabloid moral panics linked to the subculture. By Sophia Satchell-Baeza.

Endings: Straw Dogs (1971)

When Sam Peckinpah’s story about an American academic at sea in rural Cornwall was released, reviewers were shocked by its violence. But the film’s lasting shock lies in a smile. By Kim Newman.



Reviews of: Orlando, My Political Biography, Àma Gloria, The Bikeriders, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Sleep, The Nature of Love, You Burn Me, Hounds, About Dry Grasses, Kinds of Kindness, Sasquatch Sunset, Crossing, Bread & Roses, Gasoline Rainbow, Eternal You, Bye Bye Tiberias, Next Sohee, Fancy Dance, Green Border, Problemista.

DVD & Blu-ray

Reviews of: Pharaoh, Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembène, The Dreamers, Witchfinder General, Slacker, Luminous Woman, Chocolat, Dreams, Hidden City, Footprints.


Reviews of: A Share Cinema: Michel Ciment – Conversations with N.T. Binh, A toast to St Martirià, The Leopard.