Sight & Sound

A subforum to discuss film culture and criticism both old and new, as well as memorializing public figures we've lost.
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ellipsis7
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

Sight & Sound

#1 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:44 am

Sight and Sound are launching a new 'the Auteur Series' with the first number JEAN-LUC GODARD: A SIGHT AND SOUND SPECIAL out on 6th July...

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#2 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:56 pm

My first thought was "I guess they're turning into the film equivalent of Uncut." Then I found out not surprisingly that NME's former editor-in-chief took over last summer.

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domino harvey
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#3 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:59 pm

How will I be able to buy an issue? Do I just need to trawl eBay International next week?

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antnield
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:59 pm
Location: Cheltenham, England

Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#4 Post by antnield » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:04 pm

BFI Shop link - also includes full contents.

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domino harvey
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:06 pm

Excellent, thanks!

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:16 pm

zedz wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 4:05 pm
I see the BFI is releasing Peter Wollen's Friendship's Death next month. Finally! It's hard to believe it took a label this long to dig up Tilda Swinton's first star turn, as a Bowiesque 'woman' who fell to Earth. It's an elegant, witty science fiction chamber piece with Bill Paterson (who's also, predictably, great) as her sparring partner.
Unfortunately it looks from the BFI Shop that this has been delayed until December.

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AidanKing
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#7 Post by AidanKing » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:34 am

With regard to heartthesilence's point, I also was a bit surprised at Mike Williams' appointment as 'Sight and Sound' editor, given his apparent lack of experience of anything to with cinema. It looks as if his pitch might have been advising the BFI how it could monetise its assets. I too hope this doesn't result in the main magazine turning into a heritage cinema magazine in the style of 'Uncut' and 'Mojo'.

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domino harvey
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#8 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:15 pm

I mean, I personally love having the opportunity to pick up every Godard article from the last ~60 years collected in one place. Why is this a bad thing?

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#9 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:48 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:15 pm
I mean, I personally love having the opportunity to pick up every Godard article from the last ~60 years collected in one place. Why is this a bad thing?
If there's any concern, it's how the magazine as a whole is being re-structured. If they were simply putting out special editions patterned after Uncut guides, I don't think there would be much objection, but changes to a publication aren't typically limited to the addition of collector's editions. The knock on Uncut, Mojo et al is that their resources and coverage is geared towards curating or evaluating old music - they do a great job at that (and it sells), but it comes at the expense of any decent coverage of new music (or rather music from newer artists).

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AidanKing
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#10 Post by AidanKing » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:52 pm

In reply to Domino, I don't think it's a bad thing in itself but I am a bit concerned about the new editor potentially turning the magazine into a more retro-focused affair. The magazine has always had articles about films of the past, and that is in itself of course no bad thing, but I hope it continues with a primary focus on new world cinema. To be fair to Mike Williams, he hasn't been in post as editor for long and the current circumstances are challenging to say the least. It's probably unfair of me to start criticising him so soon so I apologise for that.

As an addendum, I suppose if 'Sight and Sound' does turn into the 'Uncut' of the cinema magazine world, there's still 'Cinema Scope' and 'Film Comment', at least if the latter manages to survive its current hiatus. I just hope that what could be broadly described as current 'arthouse' cinema manages to retain its only UK champion as it's probably going to need it.

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MichaelB
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#11 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:24 am

The last big piece I wrote for Sight & Sound was simultaneously about a brand new film (The Painted Bird, including an interview with its director) and its historical antecedents, which is a very common approach - not least because it encourages people who are interested in the new film to delve into its roots.

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AidanKing
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#12 Post by AidanKing » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:00 am

And a really interesting, informative and enjoyable article it was too, added to which I'm always really happy to have people pointed in the direction of 'Come and See.' My concern is not with articles about older films per se - there have been some really good articles about Fellini and Kazan recently and two of my favourite articles in recent years have been by Alexander Jacoby on Mizoguchi's contemporary films and Nick James on several films possibly influenced by Tarkovsky - but that I would not want the magazine to concentrate on the film equivalent of 'legacy artists' if it is to the detriment of new cinema.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#13 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:21 pm

antnield wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:04 pm
BFI Shop link - also includes full contents.
I’m guessing this is the best way to get one’s hands on a copy with the high BFI flat shipping rate?

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#14 Post by dda1996a » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:46 am

AidanKing wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:00 am
And a really interesting, informative and enjoyable article it was too, added to which I'm always really happy to have people pointed in the direction of 'Come and See.' My concern is not with articles about older films per se - there have been some really good articles about Fellini and Kazan recently and two of my favourite articles in recent years have been by Alexander Jacoby on Mizoguchi's contemporary films and Nick James on several films possibly influenced by Tarkovsky - but that I would not want the magazine to concentrate on the film equivalent of 'legacy artists' if it is to the detriment of new cinema.
seeing as I would love to read the articles on Mizogichi and Tarkovsky, where can I find them online? And if not, at least on what issues are they?

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AidanKing
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#15 Post by AidanKing » Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:58 am

The Nick James article on Tarkovsky is available on the BFI website here. It was from November 2015. Unfortunately, at the moment, I haven't managed to find the Alexander Jacoby article on the magazine's archive database (it's not available online otherwise) but I will keep looking.

Edit: Unfortunately, I can't find an advanced search function on the Sight and Sound database so I have tried to go through Mr Jacoby's articles as best as I can, but without success. I have a horrible feeling that I may have imagined the article or it may have been by a different writer or it may have been about another Japanese director known for making both contemporary and period films (Kurosawa possibly). What I do remember is that the article (whatever it was) was accompanying a retrospective at the BFI Southbank/NFT in London. Sorry about that.

dda1996a
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#16 Post by dda1996a » Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:51 pm

Don't be sorry! Thank you for your effort :)

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AidanKing
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#17 Post by AidanKing » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:03 am

I hope you find the Tarkovsky article interesting at least. I like the way that Nick James is clear about what he sees as deliberate references to Tarkovsky ('The Banishment'), a more general moulding of time in a similar way ('L'intrus') and influences which he thinks might be tenuous but worth raising anyway ('The Headless Woman').

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Dr Amicus
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#18 Post by Dr Amicus » Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:06 pm

My copy of the Godard special turned up today and looks very nice - apart from a couple of too-magazine graphics (main culprit - a rather pointless, too brief, timeline). Much more convenient and easy to read than the (admittedly free, for subscribers, and very wonderful) online archive. I read in the release notice that future releases will be dependent on sales - possibly why Empire's planned Directors Specials never got beyond the initial, rather good, Spielberg release - likely candidates would surely include Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick, Kurosawa and Fellini.

Concerns that this may dilute the main magazine may be allayed somewhat by remembering that in the 90s several Sight & Sound Readers were published which did essentially the same as these but in standard book format. Maybe the hope is to get these in the 'Bookazine' sections of WH Smiths and reach a wider audience than the more academic market for the readers?

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#19 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:14 pm

Dr Amicus wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:06 pm
Maybe the hope is to get these in the 'Bookazine' sections of WH Smiths and reach a wider audience than the more academic market for the readers?
I imagine so. From what I know of the publishing (magazine) industry from my classmates now working in that field, it's been pretty dire for over a decade now, and as predicted by virtually everyone, revenue has only gotten worse. Granted there's a lot of behind-the-scenes baggage regarding Film Comment's decision to cease physical publication, but that's been the general direction of the entire industry for a long time now. Unless you're in deep denial, there's no getting around the fact that getting a return on a print publication is only getting harder, and this is true for newspapers too, at least in the U.S. (I'm not sure if this is true anymore, but when I visited London for school, it astounded me how the U.K. managed to sell far more print copies of newspapers compared to the U.S.) I personally prefer a print publication over an online publication, but for most magazines, it's financially unsustainable. Again, I'm a little wary of what changes may occur with Sight & Sound, but I also understand the challenges of getting enough people to buy their publication.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#20 Post by Dr Amicus » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:59 pm

I remember when the (quarterly) Sight and Sound and the MFB merged into the monthly S&S with the accompanying editorial (at least, I think it was at this point) saying they'd be paying more attention to the bad new stuff rather than the good old stuff (or similar - I haven't gone back to check exactly). Lots of unhappy long time readers...

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colinr0380
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Re: BFI (British Film Institute)

#21 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:44 am

As with everything else this is also all tied up with the pandemic perhaps. The Sight & Sound magazine itself has gone to bi-monthly or even less regular (though even before this the new Editor was talking about moving to a more digital focus) and perhaps this special edition is also a way of getting a magazine out there when there is just no news and current release cycle going on, or even people to interview about their upcoming films, that would have been the bulk of the usual content. Also speaking as just a customer for magazines, while I subscribe to Sight & Sound so am up to date on what has been produced recently (and they are doing a weekly e-mail blast to subscribers) there are a lot of other magazines that have completely dropped out of my grasp much as I would wish to casually pick up any latest issue (Neo Magazine, or Edge for example) simply because I have not been able to get out to a newsagents for over four months (and have no particular desire to dedicate a venture out just to a newsagent right now either). So I wonder how much of a market there is for a casual WH Smiths browser at the moment?

I have my edition of the Godard special too and have been enjoying reading the contemporary reviews. I particularly like that opening 1958 essay by Louis Marcorelles for placing the French cinema into a pre-Godard context (and only mentioning him in passing) and throwing out a lot of more obscure names such as Claude Boissol, Michel Boisrond and Pierre Kast as potential great hopes for the future.

The one small note of caution I would sound about these 'bookazines' is that you need to get the balance right between commerciality of subject and adding something extra to a conversation. For example I probably would not be all that interested in that Empire Spielberg magazine simply because there is not that much that I really feel as if I need to know about that well covered filmmaker. I had some of the same feelings about this Godard issue, simply just because of the sheer amount of material included on the discs I have of his films that is already available to me, but decided for it more to support S&S during this time. So publications like this need to walk a tightrope between choice of subject and not just repeating already well covered ground about familiar subjects over and over again (though I hasten to add that I do not see the Godard special entirely like that) - they perhaps play much better to an audience member discovering Godard and finding all of this information handily collected together in one place, rather than someone like myself who would have perhaps preferred an edition full of all new writing about Godard! But of course collecting pre-existing writing and getting it available again is a valuable task in itself (as well as surely making such a publication economically feasible, speedy to put together and practical!), so in that argument I would certainly acknowledge that I would be asking for an entirely different type of publication than this was intended as.

I guess what I am saying is that if they were producing another in this series I would rather they shied away from the well covered Antonioni and Bergman and went for celebrating more obscure names. But that ignores completely the need for a saleable name to justify any deluxe publication, so my dreams of a similar publication drawing together all reviews of, say, Claude Autant-Lara orJean Grémillon (which would be much more daring foray into the archives!) are almost certainly and understandably absurd! (There is also the added factor with Godard that he is one of the few remaining filmmakers whose career has covered so many decades up to the very present moment and he is still with us with a recent film to discuss)

However it is nice to have everything about a filmmaker collated together in one publication rather than having to search the archives for it (and it provides a nice physical artefact to hold and read during a train commute!), and it is great to see the development of a director less through their own body of work (though that is the spine of the piece) but instead more through the changing vicissitudes of their times as contemporary critics have different views of Godard at different points of his career. And of course as the critics themselves change and disappear from the conversation themselves and we do not get their insight anymore as we move into later Godard, which is perhaps the most touching aspect of this collection. In the same way that a review eventually comes to say as much if not more about the reviewer as the subject under review, this is valuable if seen as less about Godard than about the critics and the BFI's various publication's contemporaneous views about Godard! (i.e. Tom Milne is aguably the Anna Karina equivalent muse figure for at least the first section of this publication! But does that make Jonathan Rosenbaum into the bare bottomed Brigitte Bardot imported star figure?)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: Sight & Sound

#22 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:17 am

Has anyone in the states received their copy from the BFI shop? I preordered but haven’t received any shipping notification

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colinr0380
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Re: Sight & Sound

#23 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:43 am

Not in the US of course but I ordered through the BFI Shop as well and did not get any further notification beyond my receipt at the time of purchase until the magazine came through the letterbox, so there may not be anything to worry about for a little while.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Sight & Sound

#24 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:50 am

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:17 am
Has anyone in the states received their copy from the BFI shop? I preordered but haven’t received any shipping notification
Not yet, though I waited a few days and missed the presale price so presumably, since the world is always fair, you should get yours before me

Glowingwabbit
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 1:27 pm

Re: Sight & Sound

#25 Post by Glowingwabbit » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:19 am

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:17 am
Has anyone in the states received their copy from the BFI shop? I preordered but haven’t received any shipping notification
I got a shipping notification today. (But I only just ordered it yesterday when this thread reminded me)

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