Volume 13, Issue 3 / March 2009

Mixed Bag

In this issue

After several thematic issues Offscreen returns with a pleasant mixed bag issue. I considered myself fortunate to catch the screening of the rare Chinese film The Song at Midnight at Montreal’s Cinémathèque québécoise during this past winter (and subsequently revisited it on a poor DVD copy). As a self-professed fan of the genre I was intrigued by the description of it in the catalogue as the “first Chinese horror film,” and was not disappointed by this bizarre, fascinating film. My thoughts on it start the issue off. Up next are interviews with Canadian living legend Michael Snow, and Latvian documentarist Dzintra Geka. Offscreen has already treated Snow to a special issue in November 2002, and is pleased to welcome him back seven years later. Offscreen welcomes Anna Syrtsova, who interviewed Dzintra Geka while she was in Montreal with her film, John Dored’s Island. For most readers this will probably be their introduction to Geka, and their interest will hopefully be tweaked by the discussion of her biographical documentary on the fascinating figure of John Dored. This is followed by Betty Kaklamanidou’s fourth Thessaloniki International Film Festival coverage, edition 49 (in anticipation of next year’s 50th?). The issue concludes with Daniel Garrett’s “Once More, with Feeling: Denzel Washington’s film The Great Debaters and Robert Rosenstone’s book History on Film/Film on History.” In this review essay Garrett tackles the age-old question of how history is represented in fiction by discussing the film The Great Debaters, based on the real life story of the great black debating team from Wiley College in the 1930s, coached by the famous black poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (played by Denzel Washington). Differing perspectives on this issue are then reflected through a reading of well known film historian Robert A. Rosenstone’s book History on Film/Film on History. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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