Brought to you from under home quarantine conditions, our May issue revisits the break-out thrills of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine on its 25th anniversary, with the director himself looking back at his fizzing depiction of French urban discord.
Posted to subscribers and available digitally 6 April
“It takes generations to make people change,’ he tells Kaleem Aftab. “You inspire the kids. I get 15-year-old kids coming up to me every day talking about the ﬁlm. I’m very proud of that. Because that’s what you want when you’re a director, you want to inspire, and to know that your movie is not forgotten.”
We also explore contemporary banlieu tensions in Ladj Ly’s debut Les Miserables, and the hard truths of a present-day French jazz club in Damien Chazelle’s new series The Eddy. Mark Cousins introduces us to his history of female filmmaking Women Make Film, and David Thomson essays the enigmatic numbness and alienation of the modern style of film acting.
Twenty-five years after Mathieu Kassovitz’s incendiary portrait of disaffected youth La Haine burst on to the screen, the director talks to Kaleem Aftab about the powerful legacy of the film, what he stole from the great directors and why Spielberg needs to turn down the music in his films.
+ The art of the steal
Mathieu Kassovitz on graffiti culture, stealing from Scorsese and Scarface, and thinking in black and white.
+ Predicting a riot
Kaleem Aftab on Do the Right Thing and La Haine.
+ The sound and the fury
Steph Greene on rap, reggae and resistance in La Haine.
“Film is a tool. It changes things.”
An explosive tale of police brutality and racial tensions on the margins of French society, Ladj Ly’s gripping Les Misérables revisits life in the Parisian banlieues 25 years after La Haine. Here he talks to Elena Lazic about fighting to create a space for filmmaking outside the country’s often insular mainstream channels.
+ Good cops, bad cops
Three actors on playing the policemen in La Haine.
What is happening to acting? What has acting done to happening?
As viewers grew more sophisticated in the 1950s and cottoned on to the artifice at the heart of all movies, they started to wise up to self-important attempts by actors to reflect emotional truth. But as acting evolved and performances grew more enigmatic, a numbness crept into them – the origins of a seductive culture that feels lifelike but now threatens to displace life itself, writes David Thomson.
Swingtime in Paris
Netflix drama The Eddy, featuring two episodes by La La Land director Damien Chazelle, punctures the romantic myths of jazz culture by exploring the gritty reality of the lives of musicians and staff in a club in modern-day Paris. Jonathan Romney tunes in.
+ All that jazz
Ten key jazz films to watch.
Women with a movie camera
The 14-hour documentary Women Make Film explores the art of cinema through a compilation of clips from some of the world’s greatest films. Its director, long-time S&S contributor Mark Cousins, explains the project’s genesis and picks ten images that highlight the full range of its eclectic treasures.
Physical media after the pandemic
Like every other part of life, the business of making and showing films has been disrupted in extraordinary ways – and nobody knows what the future will bring. By Guy Lodge.
With UK cinemas shut, and a nation of couch potatoes glued to Netflix and Curzon at home, the way people watch films may be changing forever. By Charles Gant.
Covid-19 in focus: The new virtual reality
Rather than cancel, Denmark’s nonfiction film festival CPH:DOX pivoted in mere days to an extensive online presentation. By Nick Bradshaw.
#MeToo: Fury road
Can film and television, which have so long thrived on using the pain of women for entertainment, find a way of treating it honestly? By Rebecca Liu.
+ System failure
Kitty Green on The Assistant.
Interview: Up close and personal
For actors and crew, filming sex scenes can be – who knew? – a deeply uncomfortable experience. Enter the intimacy coordinator. By Christina Newland.
The actor who gambled with Death in Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 The Seventh Seal energised both arthouse and blockbuster cinema. By Michael Brooke.
Dream palaces: Filmoteca di Catalunya, Barcelona
The Fire Will Come director Oliver Laxe recalls a miraculous screening of Ordet and explains why viewers must always watch films with their skin.
Rising star: Mariana Di Girolamo
Soundings: Electronic dreams
Fatima Al Qadiri’s score for Mati Diop’s contemporary ghost story Atlantics feels like folksong, and it feels like the future. By Frances Morgan.
This year’s Berlinale, the first under new leadership, was an understated affair, but there were unmistakable signs of promise. By Jessica Kiang.
Global spotlight: Tehran taboo
Presenting awards to persecuted Iranian filmmakers may make Western juries feel good, but what else does it achieve? By Ehsan Khoshbakht.
Primal screen: Across the century
The year 1920 marked the beginning of modern cinema, with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari the most famous among a host of remarkable films. By Bryony Dixon.
+ 12 film highlights of 1920
Films of the month
Promising Young Woman
plus reviews of
Brahms: The Boy II
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Family Romance, LLC.
Finding the Way Back
The Invisible Man
It Must Be Heaven
The Lady in the Portrait
The Roads Not Taken
Sonic the Hedgehog
Who You Think I Am
Why Don’t You Just Die!
Home cinema features
London particulars: Sunday Bloody Sunday
John Schlesinger’s drama about a bisexual love triangle is both a post-Swinging London period piece and curiously modern. By Nick James.
Rediscovery: Hammer Volume Five: Death and Deceit
A new collection of swashbucklers and spy flicks shows a surprisingly unhorrifying, even thoughtful side of Hammer Films. By Trevor Johnston.
Streaming: The great indoors
Cinemas may be in lockdown, but with a host of streaming sites offering films old and new, there’s never any reason to be bored.
Lost and found: High Tide
Gillian Armstrong’s fourth feature is a revelatory portrayal of complex, flawed women, and an Australian classic. By Graham Fuller.
plus reviews of
Beat the Devil
Buster Keaton: 3 Films Volume 2
Cyrano de Bergerac
The Elephant Man
Pink Films Vol. 1&2
Robert Hanks on The David Susskind Archives (Interview with Nikita Krushchev, Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Truman Capote Tells All)
She Found It at the Movies: Women Writers on Sex, Desire and Cinema edited by Christina Newland (Red Press) reviewed by Nikki Baughan
Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar by Oliver Craske (Faber & Faber) reviewed by Andrew Robinson
Derek Jarman and the art of nature
Berwick Kaler down the years
Dark Waters livestock corrected
Our Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher westerns timeline corrected
Covid-19 and dream palaces
Covid-19 and H.P. Lovecraft
The Portrait of a Lady
The conclusion of Jane Campion’s 1996 adaptation subverts the idea of the kiss as the fulfilment of female destiny and screen romance. By Alex Ramon.