Summer 2021

Everybody Is a Star: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson on Making His Oscar-Winning Doc, Summer of Soul

This interview with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson about his Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) appeared on the cover of our Summer, 2021 print edition and is being reposted following the film’s winning Best Documentary at last night’s 2022 Academy Awards. — Editor On June 29, 1969, Sly and the Family Stone delivered an electrifying performance at Mount Morris Park in Harlem, New York. Fusing the revolutionary fervor of the Black Freedom movement with the collectivist spirit of West Coast counterculture, the iconic band wowed the audience with rousing renditions of  “Everyday People,” “Sing a Simple Song” “You Can Make It […]



The Longhand Film

For the past six years, I sought out amateur travel films made by women in the first half of the 20th century, which I collected in an all-archival essay film, Terra Femme. In the process, I watched dozens of hours of footage of everything under the sun: biblical gardens, women doing laundry, ice fields, a tapir, mounds in a cemetery. Occasionally, there is a handwritten intertitle. “Crossing the Equator” reads one, and the filmmaker has added little serif marks to the letters in “Equator.” What follows is footage shot onboard a boat during a line-crossing ceremony, in which Poseidon and […]

  • A Colander in the River of the World: On Decolonizing Film Studies

    American film studies and production programs are undergoing a major structural overhaul. A long-burgeoning movement comprised of academics and filmmakers are calling for the full decolonization of syllabi and cinematic offerings within these courses, which have historically foregrounded work by straight, white men as the pinnacle of what’s worth studying and emulating. Many academics and scholars hesitate to use the term “decolonize” broadly for fear of rendering it into a tepid buzzword (or worse, deflating the term to a borderline-meaningless liberal t-shirt slogan), yet it’s become an essential framework for many who wish to make meaningful changes within the confines […]

  • Across Time: Filmmakers Reflect on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror

    The year after I graduated college, I’d go to Andrei Tarkovsky double bills a lot. In the New York of the mid-1980s, there would be a Tarkovsky retrospective every few months at Film Forum and now-shuttered spots like the Thalia and Metro Twin. The Russian director’s 1975 Mirror would always be the second film on the program—Andrei Rublev and Mirror, Stalker and Mirror, Solaris and Mirror—so, I wound up seeing Mirror many times. This was partly due to fatigue. My day job was writing grants for a nonprofit. I’d see these movies after work and would invariably drift off during […]

  • Dial-up Connections: All About Lily Chou-Chou at 20

    Twenty years after the release of All About Lily Chou-Chou, I can’t think of a film that better depicts what first drew people to the internet, and certainly none that matches its expressive use of content-type header errors. Director Shunji Iwai evokes the gaps and hesitancy in early internet communication through the depiction of character encoding across the screen. Posts on an online forum devoted to Lily Chou-Chou, a mysterious pop singer, first appear in a mojibake jumble of accented Latin characters. We can hear the clack of an old keyboard and another tap to refresh. The BBS code is […]


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