Latest Issue — Winter 2023

Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) stands in a room surrounded by glass figurines on black pedestals.

Outsmarting the Disruptors: Greg Mottola Interviews Rian Johnson on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

In August, Rian Johnson was among the directors with Netflix projects invited to show works that inspired them at the company-owned Paris Theater in New York City. Among the movies Johnson selected were two whose influence is directly perceptible on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the first of two sequels to his 2019 hit the writer-director is making for the streamer. From his 1973 favorite The Last of Sheila, Johnson borrows the opening set-up: A dangerously wealthy man invites a group of friends (or are they just parasites?) to join him for a week of elaborate games amidst beautiful […]

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Features

A masked Alexei Navalny waves as he boards a plane while passengers take photos and videos of him.

Hit & Misses: The 2022 Releases of Six Recent Sundance Features

In just three (admittedly, very momentous) years, the marketplace for independent films has completely changed. During previous turning points over the decades, executives would use words like “waves” or “cycles” to describe instances of upheaval, but what’s happening now is more like a comprehensive reset. In a recent online article titled “The Sky is Falling, Take Shelter,” producer Rebecca Green wrote, “This year is unlike anything I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been working in this business.”  If Sundance and its films are a barometer for the independent film industry, consider this comparison: The pre-pandemic class of Sundance 2019 […]

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  • A Black woman sits in a courtroom, wearing a brown sweater and straight black hair pulled back in a low ponytail. After the Tide Went Out: Isabel Sandoval Interviews Saint Omer Writer/Director Alice Diop

    “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” is how the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein closes his early work The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In Alice Diop’s Saint Omer, Laurence Coly (played by Guslagie Malanda) is a Senegalese immigrant to France on trial for the murder of her 15-month-old daughter, who she left on a beach to be washed out to sea by the outgoing tide. A student, Coly is writing her thesis on Wittgenstein, an academic detail she’s shamed for at the trial. (Why didn’t she write on the work of “someone closer to her own culture,” a professor wonders […]

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  • The 24 Features of 2022 Shot on 35mm

    The main poster for Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans displays its characters within the frames on three strips of celluloid: young Steven Spielberg stand-in Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) holding a 16mm camera, mom Mitzi (Michelle Williams) dancing in car headlights, etc. This makes sense for the “childhood of a 1970s filmmaker” plot, and it tracks technically as well. Like every Spielberg feature—save the digital-world portions of Ready Player One, the CG of The BFG and the mocap experiment of The Adventures of Tintin—The Fabelmans is shot on 35mm. But look closely and this key art doesn’t make any sense: The vertical […]

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  • Seeing Eye to Eye: Color Correction Styles Across Today’s Film Restorations

    Going to the cinema to see a 4K restoration or buying a Blu-ray of a beloved classic from a boutique publisher, one is never quite sure what one will get, colorwise. Frequently, a distinctly tinted veil seems to have fallen over the screen from the first frame. Sometimes, this is a chilling greenish blue, one that bronzes flesh tones and adds a steely, Melvillean atmosphere to the proceedings. On other occasions, it is yellow, as if golden hour had found a way to fall day and night, indoors and out, then curdled from its newfound monotony into a stubborn, pissy […]

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Also: Daydreaming, Neuroscience and Screenwriting: The Imaginative Teaching of Mary Sweeney The Carrier Bag Theory of Nonfiction Filmmaking: What Documentarians Can Learn from Ursula K. Le Guin Editor’s Letter

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