Sight & Sound: the December 2019 issue

Eyes Wide Shut at 20: we revisit and reappraise Stanley Kubrick’s last film and its portrait of male power and privilege, talk to his collaborators and delve into the Kubrick archive.

Plus Jesse Armstrong’s Succession, Mati Diop’s Atlantics, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Jérémy Clapin’s I Lost My Body and Netflix’s animation gold rush, and a fresh look at the radicalism of the movie musical.

In print and digital from 4 November 2019. Get the digital editionbuy a print edition or .

On the 20th anniversary of Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick’s dark portrait of sexual jealousy, Hannah McGill re-examines the director’s dreamlike examination of male power and privilege.

Screenwriter Frederic Raphael remembers collaborating with Kubrick, assistant Anthony Frewin discusses the film’s costumes, producer Jan Harlan recalls a flying visit to Venice to collect masks, Katharina Kubrick celebrates her father’s exacting genius and Georgina Orgill outlines the joys of being head of the Kubrick archive.

Plus Mati Diop’s bold supernatural drama Atlantics, Jesse Armstrong’s HBO series Succession, Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story, the disruptive spectacle of the musical, Jérémy Clapin’s cosmically strange animated tale I Lost My Body and Netflix’s entry into making animated movies.



Eyes of the beholder

On the 20th anniversary of Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick’s dark portrait of sexual jealousy, Hannah McGill asks whether the passage of time, and recent events, have helped to bring the director’s dreamlike examination of male power and privilege into sharper focus.

From the Kubrick archive: ‘A modern hell

The film’s executive producer Jan Harlan recalls one of the concrete problems in realising Kubrick’s abstract vision.

From the Kubrick archive: Kubricks films have never lacked interpretations

Anthony Frewin, Kubrick’s assistant, explores masks and meanings.

From the Kubrick archive: ‘When you hold a mirror to society it rebels’

Katharina Kubrick talks about her early poster designs for the film – and why her father thought it was his greatest work.

From the Kubrick archive: ‘Images sometimes gather significance

Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut co-writer Frederic Raphael recalls a mix-up with the great director over a fake FBI dossier.


From the Kubrick archive: ‘People find it amazing that they can look at something so iconic in real life

Head of the Kubrick archive Georgina Orgill describes the joy of curating the relics of an astonishing career.


Scions of the times

The jostling for position among the maladjusted offspring of a billionaire media magnate in New York provides the fuel for Jesse Armstrong’s HBO series Succession, a bleakly comic portrait of corrupt power that owes much of its charm to its distinctly English sensibility. By Hannah Mackay.

+ Logan’s run

Brian Cox on Succession.


Ghost stories

In Mati Diop’s bold supernatural drama Atlantics, the tale of a young woman haunted by an absent lover, the Senegalese city of Dakar is inhabited by the spirits of a lost generation of men drowned trying to cross the ocean to Europe. By Simran Hans.


All that glitters

Often dismissed as cosy and conventional, the film musical has actually been a defiantly radical form since its very beginnings, embracing difficult subjects and championing diversity as it shatters traditional narrative structures with its extravagant experimental spectacles. By Pamela Hutchinson.

+ Seven great choreographers


‘Life doesn’t stop for divorce’

With his trademark bittersweet comic touch Noah Baumbach explores the humiliations and torments of a couple going through a gruelling separation, in Marriage Story. Here he talks to Christina Newland about compassion, shame and why the Kafkaesque legal process at the heart of divorce infantalises and criminalises the feuding parties.

+ Ten films about marriage on the rocks


Hand on the run

A severed hand scuttles through Paris in search of its owner, in Jérémy Clapin’s cosmically strange animated tale of love in its different forms. Here the director and the producer Marc du Pontavice explain the art of creating a characterful hand that didn’t conjure up troubling memories of spiders. By Alex Dudok de Wit.

+ Cash of the titans

Alex Dudok de Wit on the Netflix animation gold rush.





The Marvel/Auteur face-off



Our Rushes section

Our Rushes section


‘Movies last forever’

A fantastic year at the BFI London Film Festival was capped by a live discussion with Robert De Niro, examining his career, his method and his new film The Irishman.


Interview: Costume drama

Sandy Powell, costume designer by appointment to Derek Jarman and Todd Haynes, talks about designing for The Irishman. By Isabel Stevens.


Scorsese on… film noir

The Irishman echoes many film noirs in its focus on the difficulty faced by soldiers returning from World War II in readjusting to civilian life, and how they slide into the gangster world. Here, Martin Scorsese talks to Philip Horne about his relationship with the genre.


BFI London Film Festival: First time’s a charm

A series of bold, distinctive works from debut directors proved to be a highlight of this year’s BFI London Film Festival. By Matthew Thrift.

+ Directors’ cuts: filmmaker quotes from the LFF


Rising star: Phillip Youmans


Dream palaces: New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles

Rian Johnson, the director of Brick and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, recalls rats and Rita Hayworth in the dingy sanctuary of LA’s revered revival cinema.


Festival: Portrait of some ladies on fire

A film festival run by and for women and a golden retriever as mayor – Idyllwild, CA’s Women Under the Influence festival lives up to its name. By Leonie Cooper.


Profile: Something like a phenomenon

From YouTube to the mountain top – how Andrew Onwubolu aka Rapman, a rapper with a camera and a vision, took the film industry by storm. By Will Massa.


Interview: Pride, prejudice and zombis

Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child resurrects the idea of the undead to examine slavery, colonialism and the pomp of the French state. By Jonathan Romney.


The numbers: Fleabag

The dazzling box-office success of NT Live’s Fleabag underlines the ever-growing popularity of live theatre shows at UK cinemas. By Charles Gant.


Films in production

New projects for George Miller, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, musicals from Dee Rees and Richard Linklater and TV series from Dario Argento and Baltasar Kormákur.


Wide angle

Our Wide Angle section

Our Wide Angle section


Primal Screen: The lady is a Tramp

Cross-dressing was a long-established music-hall tradition, but Charlie Chaplin used it to open the door to something queerer. By Tamsin Cleary.


Profile: Malcolm LeGrice

Playful and mysterious, the British artist filmmaker challenges our idea of cinema and our perceptions of what is real. By Ela Bittencourt.


Soundings: The sound of silence

The Spanish composer Carles Santos’s five-decade collaboration with Pere Portabella is haunted by his fascination with silence. By Sam Davies.



Our Reviews section

Our Reviews section


Films of the month

Here for Life
Knives Out

plus reviews of 

The Addams Family
The Aeronauts
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary
Back Roads
Black and Blue
Blue Story
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Darkness Visible
A Dog Called Money
Earthquake Bird
The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil
Gemini Man
Heimat Is a Space in Time
I Lost My Body
The Irishman
Judy & Punch
Le Mans ’66
Little Monsters
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Marriage Story
Meeting Gorbachev
The Nightingale
The Report
Shooting the Mafia
The Street
Zombi Child
Zombieland: Double Tap


Home cinema features 

Our Home Cinema section

Our Home Cinema section


Plump action: Three films with Sammo Hung

A graceful athlete who has always played his bulk for laughs, Sammo Hung has been a source of sheer delight for more than 40 years. Reviewed by Nick Pinkerton.


Outsider art: The Inland Sea

Donald Richie’s leisured, meditative travelogue became the basis for a bewitching film about Japan, and about being a stranger. By Jasper Sharp. 


Streaming: Unbelievable

Netflix’s true detective series is an object lesson in how to turn journalism into drama – and make drama with a message. By Sheila O’Malley.


plus reviews of

The Bells of St Mary’s
The Dark Half
The Fate of Lee Khan
Films starring Tony Hancock: The Rebel, The Punch and Judy Man
Legend of the Witches / Secret Rites
Ray Meets Helen
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
That’ll Be the Day / Stardust


Archive television

Robert Hanks on The Old Devils and Landscapes of England



Our Books section

Our Books section


She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Bloomsbury Circus) reviewed by Pamela Hutchinson

Second Sight: The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones by Adam Mars-Jones (Reaktion Books) reviewed by Ryan Gilbey

Picture by Lillian Ross, with a foreword by Anjelica Huston (New York Review Books Classics) reviewed by Sam Davies



Our Endings section

Our Endings section




The Beyond

The apocalyptic close of Italian director Lucio Fulci’s horror classic sees its protagonists trapped in a purgatory of infinite time and space. By Violet Lucca.


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