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September 2016 Sight & Sound September 2016 Sight & Sound

Isabelle Huppert opens up in the Sight & Sound career interview. Plus Mia Hansen-Løve on Things to Come, Pedro Almodóvar on Julieta, Todd Solondz on Weiner-Dog, Jaume Collet-Serra’s genre chops, the origins of Ingrid Bergman and the abiding inspiration of Abbas Kiarostami. Isabelle Huppert opens up in the Sight & Sound career interview. Plus Mia Hansen-Løve on Things to Come, Pedro Almodóvar on Julieta, Todd Solondz on Weiner-Dog, Jaume Collet-Serra’s genre chops, the origins of Ingrid Bergman and the abiding inspiration of Abbas Kiarostami.
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“Cinema’s most fearless actor,” boldly proclaims this month’s Sight & Sound cover featuring Isabelle Huppert, and who would disagree? The French star has been constantly pushing away at the boundaries of her chosen art in the company of many of the world’s greatest directors, and captivating audiences with her courage, intelligence and versatility, ever since her screen debut back in 1971. S&S editor Nick James sits down with Huppert for an in-depth and revealing look back over her career, while Catherine Wheatley, in the company of Huppert’s latest director Mia Hansen-Løve, ponders their Things to Come, in which Huppert plays a sixtysomething philosophy lecturer coping with multiple losses and the difficult to negotiate freedoms they bring in their wake.

The career of another female acting legend, Ingrid Bergman, also comes under scrutiny in this issue, particularly her formative years in Sweden and later Germany which shaped the Hollywood icon we’re more familiar with. Pamela Hutchinson looks back on those early steps in the industry, in particular the film Intermezzo, which caught the attention of none other than David O. Selznick and instigated that famous phone call to Hollywood. The rest is celluloid history.

Speaking of celluloid history, few directors are more steeped in it than Pedro Almodóvar, especially its more melodramatic offerings. Although saying which, his exquisite new film Julieta, which explores guilt, memory and secrets through the life-story of a Madrid teacher of classics, feels like something of a departure for the Iberian magician – fewer fireworks and directorial flourishes, instead something more spare and stripped-down. Maria Delgado peels back the thematic layers of what is arguably Almodóvar’s best film for some time.

Another Spanish director, Jaume Collet-Serra, is lauded by Nick Pinkerton for carving out a niche for himself in the US making high-quality, mid-budget genre pics, of which his latest, The Shallows, is a typical example. It’s a hugely entertaining shark attack thriller starring Blake Lively as the would-be victim fighting for her life just off a cloistered beach in Mexico. As Pinkerton attests, it’s a film for those of us “who gravitate towards the pleasures of free invention and sound craftmanship”; qualities too rarely encountered in American cinema’s mid-budget generic offerings.

US indie auteur/gloom-merchant Todd Solondz is about as far removed from genre as it’s possible to imagine; more of a genre unto himself, perhaps, one in which prejudice, disaffection and ennui provide the typical foundations. His latest offering, Wiener-Dog, stars Greta Gerwig and it split into four loosely connected tales connected by a dachshund. Jonathan Romney explores with Solondz what some critics have described as his most extreme film to date.

And last but by no means least, a tribute to recently deceased Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami. “Cinema begins with Griffith and ends with Kiarostami”, Godard once famously said. We sincerely hope not, but nevertheless one of the all-time greats of the medium has gone. To mark his passing, Geoff Andrew asked various other directors – Jim Jarmusch, Victor Erice, Mike Leigh, Shirin Neshat, John Akomfrah, Nicolas Philibert – to share their insights into the enduring qualities that make Kiarostami’s films so special and unique.

“Cinema’s most fearless actor,” boldly proclaims this month’s Sight & Sound cover featuring Isabelle Huppert, and who would disagree? The French star has been constantly pushing away at the boundaries of her chosen art in the company of many of the world’s greatest directors, and captivating audiences with her courage, intelligence and versatility, ever since her screen debut back in 1971. S&S editor Nick James sits down with Huppert for an in-depth and revealing look back over her career, while Catherine Wheatley, in the company of Huppert’s latest director Mia Hansen-Løve, ponders their Things to Come, in which Huppert plays a sixtysomething philosophy lecturer coping with multiple losses and the difficult to negotiate freedoms they bring in their wake.

The career of another female acting legend, Ingrid Bergman, also comes under scrutiny in this issue, particularly her formative years in Sweden and later Germany which shaped the Hollywood icon we’re more familiar with. Pamela Hutchinson looks back on those early steps in the industry, in particular the film Intermezzo, which caught the attention of none other than David O. Selznick and instigated that famous phone call to Hollywood. The rest is celluloid history.

Speaking of celluloid history, few directors are more steeped in it than Pedro Almodóvar, especially its more melodramatic offerings. Although saying which, his exquisite new film Julieta, which explores guilt, memory and secrets through the life-story of a Madrid teacher of classics, feels like something of a departure for the Iberian magician – fewer fireworks and directorial flourishes, instead something more spare and stripped-down. Maria Delgado peels back the thematic layers of what is arguably Almodóvar’s best film for some time.

Another Spanish director, Jaume Collet-Serra, is lauded by Nick Pinkerton for carving out a niche for himself in the US making high-quality, mid-budget genre pics, of which his latest, The Shallows, is a typical example. It’s a hugely entertaining shark attack thriller starring Blake Lively as the would-be victim fighting for her life just off a cloistered beach in Mexico. As Pinkerton attests, it’s a film for those of us “who gravitate towards the pleasures of free invention and sound craftmanship”; qualities too rarely encountered in American cinema’s mid-budget generic offerings.

US indie auteur/gloom-merchant Todd Solondz is about as far removed from genre as it’s possible to imagine; more of a genre unto himself, perhaps, one in which prejudice, disaffection and ennui provide the typical foundations. His latest offering, Wiener-Dog, stars Greta Gerwig and it split into four loosely connected tales connected by a dachshund. Jonathan Romney explores with Solondz what some critics have described as his most extreme film to date.

And last but by no means least, a tribute to recently deceased Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami. “Cinema begins with Griffith and ends with Kiarostami”, Godard once famously said. We sincerely hope not, but nevertheless one of the all-time greats of the medium has gone. To mark his passing, Geoff Andrew asked various other directors – Jim Jarmusch, Victor Erice, Mike Leigh, Shirin Neshat, John Akomfrah, Nicolas Philibert – to share their insights into the enduring qualities that make Kiarostami’s films so special and unique.

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