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Sight & Sound October 2020


The inside story of Tenet; plus Charlie Kaufman, Miss Juneteenth, The Devil All the Time and Gloria Swanson in her own words

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Our October issue runs the rule over Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s slippery fish of a time-twisting blockbuster and the movie Hollywood is hoping will save cinema as we know it. James Mottram goes inside Nolan’s dazzlingly ambitious high-concept film to ask if it can bear the weight of expectation.

Also in this issue, we talk to Charlie Kaufman about his new book Antkind and film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, to Antonio Campos about his adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time, to Channing Godfrey Peoples about his tenderly authentic debut Miss Juneteenth and to Lilting director Hong Khaou about his expat gay love story Monsoon.

We also look at the impact of coronavirus on both international archives and the box office for drive-in cinemas; road-test the BFI diversity standards; investigate the rich strain of anarchist cinema; bid goodbye to the late Alan Parker and Linda Manz; and reprint a classic 1969 interview with Gloria Swanson to mark the 70th anniversary of Some Like It Hot.

Plus regular features:

Back to the future


The lovely bones
Francis Lee discusses excavating an unconventional palaeontologist’s life and queering the British period genre in his new film Ammonite. By Isabel Stevens.

“It’s been challenging programming into a void”
BFI London Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle on this year’s event.

Costume design: ensemble performance
As Clueless turns 25, Mona May explains how she created show-stopping outfits for the classic fashion-forward comedy. By Abbey Bender.

Diversity: Raising the bar

The new Diversity Standards for measuring representation on and off screen must go further in pursuit of equality. By Clive Nwonka.

Dream palaces: Showcase Cinema, Nantgarw, Cardiff

Actor and writer-director of Eternal Beauty Craig Roberts recalls Heath Ledger, pick ’n’ mix and the all-American cinema experience in Wales.

Rising star
White Riot’s Rubika Shah

Covid fallout: “Weeks of closure did their damage”
The coronavirus pandemic has had serious consequences for international archives and our global film heritage. By Isabel Stevens.

The numbers: Drive-in cinemas
This summer, exhibitors turned to vintage inspiration amid the privations of lockdown – but can they keep the motor running? By Charles Gant.

Wide angle

Political film: Against the rules
For Hollywood – as for Trump – ‘anarchist’ is often shorthand for violent agitator. But there is also a rich strain of anarchist cinema.

Primal screen: The neoreal deal
As both director and star of the 1915 Neapolitan melodrama Assunta Spina, Francesca Bertini was decades ahead of her time. By Tamsin Cleary.

Profile: Stephen Broomer
Chemically and digitally transforming found footage, the Canadian filmmaker creates looping, hypnotic new works. By Ben Nicholson.

Film of the month
She Dies Tomorrow

plus reviews of
Eternal Beauty
Get Duked!
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Matthias & Maxime
Les Misérables
Miss Juneteenth
White Riot
Young Ahmed

Television of the month
Lovecraft Country

plus reviews of
I Hate Suzie
Mrs America
The Plot Against America
A Suitable Boy
The Umbrella Academy: Season 2

Home cinema features

Ghosts of Christmas past: The Woman in Black
This made-for-TV adaptation of Susan Hill’s terrifying novel has lost none of its power to paralyse its audience in fear. Reviewed by Trevor Johnston.

Revival: Britannia Hospital
Critics loathed Lindsay Anderson’s vicious, incoherent satire. How right they were and also, how very wrong. Reviewed by Robert Hanks.

Audie Murphy Collection: The Duel at Silver Creek / Ride a Crooked Trail / No Name on the Bullet
Puppyish Audie Murphy made for an unlikely movie cowboy, but his soft face belied the instincts of a fierce combatant. Reviewed by Nick Pinkerton.

Lost and found: Blessed Event
Lee Tracy, forgotten star of the 1930s, lets rip as a scandalous gossip columnist in this fast and furious Pre-Code comedy. By Rick Burin.

Plus reviews of
Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection
Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) – Our Hospitality/Go West/ College
The City Without Jews
Five Graves to Cairo
The Juniper Tree
The Mad Fox
Watermelon Man


Made Men: The Story of GoodFellas by Glenn Kenny (Hanover Square Press) reviewed by Christina Newland

Chasing the Light: How I Fought My Way into Hollywood: From the 1960s to Platoon by Oliver Stone (Monoray) reviewed by Nick James

Unquiet by Linn Ullmann, translated from the Norwegian by Thilo Reinhard (Penguin Books/Hamish Hamilton) reviewed by Hannah McGill


The close of Kurosawa Akira’s 1950 classic shows that truth is as elusive and unknowable as the mysteries of the human heart. By Kambole Campbell.



Additional Information
More Information
SKU SSOctober2020
Publisher(s) BFI
Format Paperback
Original publication date 28/08/2020
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