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Holiday Reading

Manuel Abramovich’s Light Years (2018) is a portrait of Lucrecia Martel made during the making of Zama (2017)

Whether you’ll be at home or on the road this holiday season, stay safe. And here are five items to take with you into these short days and long winter nights.

  • The new issue of Senses of Cinema opens with a dossier on Latin American cinema, Senses’ first international collaboration with another journal—Revista Icónica, based in Mexico City—and its first joint bilingual special feature as well. With Lucrecia Martel’s Zama ridinghigh on so many best-of-2018 lists, you might want to turn first to Jens Andermann’s assessment of the current state of Argentine cinema. Issue 89 also features a dossier on Cleverman, a television series that melds Australian Indigenous culture with the superhero mythos. Isao Takahata, the late giant of anime and cofounder of Studio Ghibli, and pioneering Soviet filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko have been added to Senses’ indispensable collection of director profiles. And of course, this issue’s teeming with insightful articles, festival reports, and book reviews.
  • I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987) stands as a milestone for both Canadian cinema and feminist filmmaking. In the new issue of cléo devoted to Canadian women filmmakers, director Patricia Rozema tells Cathleen Evans that the film “was a desperate attempt to disengage myself from not only artistic, but also religious and emotional, sets of absolutes that I’d grown up with.” Rozema’s latest work, Mouthpiece, premiered in Toronto last fall and features two female leads as well as a female cinematographer, editor, production designer, and costume designer. In Cinema Scope, Girish Shambu argues that “the collective and collaborative nature of the entire project from start to finish cries out to be viewed as a counter-model, a rebuke, to the ‘lone male auteur genius.’”
  • Looking back on a year littered with projects aimed at winning over female audiences, Buzzfeed’s Alison Willmore understands “the desire to take comfort in uplifting, streamlined messages of women’s unity and to find solace in stories of women’s cheery triumphs . . . But what I find myself craving more and more is discomfort—depictions of how messy and complicated and difficult it is to be a woman or a girl in this world.” As an admirer of Karyn Kusama’s work, Willmore was a little heartbroken when she caught up with Destroyer and saw Nicole Kidman “pistol-whip people and burst in guns-a-blazing as LAPD detective Erin Bell . . . I felt an intense pang for something I yearn for and am still not finding as often as I'd like—art by and for and about women that doesn't feel the need to prove it can keep up with the boys, because it doesn't worry about what the boys think at all.”

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