Volume 12, Issue 6 / June 2008

From All Over

In this issue

After a long run of thematic issues Offscreen returns with a summer issue consisting of five essays covering an eclectic range of subjects spanning many National cinemas. Up first is Daniel Garrett’s profile of recent Turkish cinema based on a screening of films in Manhattan on June 11-13, 2008. The event also included panel discussions featuring Turkish filmmakers, producers, US distributors, and industry people. While focusing on recent Turkish films, the screenings also featured an earlier classic Turkish film from 1964, The Dry Summer. Known as a Eurasian country, Turkey’s cinema is far less well known in North America than most European cinemas, or the cinemas of other Asian Nations, such as Korea, Japan, Tawian, China, and Iran. The event provided Garrett with his first proper exposure to Turkish cinema, and his discoveries provide an insightful snapshot into contemporary Turkish cinema. This is the first major piece in Offscreen to focus on Turkish cinema, and will hopefully inspire more essays to be written on Turkish cinema in the future. Up next is my own review of the latest film, The Happening, by a director who has had a troubled time making audiences and critics happy since his successful early films, M. Night Shyamalan. In fact in North America he has become a constant target for mainstream critics who seem unwilling to follow Shyamalan on his recent personal, idiosyncratic paths (The Village, Lady in the Water). I argue that The Happening, while certainly flawed, is a return to form for Shyamalan, who uses an old horror/science-fiction theme — nature gone amok— to spin an entertaining double allegory: on the environment (which every critic has picked up on) and (less obviously) on the state of human communication in a society that is increasingly dependent on technologically mediated forms of communication. The third essay is a continuation of earlier essays from Robert Robertson examining the more arcane and esoteric intellectual and cultural influences of Sergei Eisenstein. Robertson’s essay is his second to relate Eisenstein to the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (the first being Testing for Nature’s Equilibrium). Lindsey Rock returns with her second Offscreen essay, which represents another first for Offscreen: an essay featuring Jamaican cinema. Garrett concludes the issue with a review essay on the single film, The Visitor, directed by Tom McCarthy. (ed. Donato Totaro)

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