What happens to working class talent in British cinema? A special issue on the Class Ceiling.
Plus Mike Leigh on Peterloo, Gaspar Noe on Climax, Desiree Akhavan on The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Kogonada on Columbus, Chloé Zhao on The Rider, Bart Layton on American Animals, the comic genius of Elaine May, Jackie Chan, LFF highlights and much more.
“Where are the working-class stories and talent in UK cinema culture today?” asks Danny Leigh in the cover story of our October issue. Rewind to the Woodfall era of the 1960s, and working-class actors and directors were revitalising British filmmaking. But over 50 years on, Leigh finds their equivalents struggling to take hold in the industry.
Meanwhile the subject of class has been ignored in many of the debates around privilege and identity in cinema. Leigh explores those working-class filmmakers and stories that have made an impact, the ones that should have made more and explores what needs to change. Meanwhile Anna Coatman argues that since the 90s, women have been key to reimagining the scope of working-class cinema beyond social realism.
Continuing the class theme of the issue, Matthew Sweet talks to Mike Leigh about his new film Peterloo, the first fiction feature to be made about the 1819 massacre of peaceful protesters demanding parliamentary reform: “I grew up a 15-minute bus ride from where this happened,” says Leigh. “But we didn’t know about it. And loads of folk working on the ﬁlm, who were from up north, had never heard of it.” Sweet surveys how Leigh’s work has work has “already shown us the future to which Peterloo leads” while the director tells of his battles against cliché and his own revolt against suggestions to change his working methods.
As cinema’s marmite provocateur Gaspar Noé takes on the dance movie with Climax, Anna Bogutskaya talks to him about his bacchanalian frenzy of sex and violence and how he wants Rainer Werner Fassbinder to be proud of him.
Carrie Rickey revisits the remarkable career of Elaine May, the overlooked comedienne, director and screenwriter who skewered male vanity with relish.
With LGBTQ+ rights in the US increasingly under threat by the Trump administration, Desiree Akhavan discusses her timely 1990s-set tale of a woman sent to a rural gay conversion therapy centre The Miseducation of Cameron Post with Anna Coatman.
“Few recent films capture the spirit of place as deeply, or as idiosyncratically, as Columbus,” posits Jonathan Romney as he talks to the film’s director, Kogonada. S&S readers will know Kogonada from his various video essays; his debut feature is a love letter to the serene elegance of modernist architecture.
A number of Jackie Chan’s films being released on Blu-ray provides the perfect excuse for Nick Pinkerton to revel in the astonishing courage, lunatic stuntwork and sheer fun of the action maestro’s best films.
Also this issue: Catherine Wheatley reassesses the career of Angela Schanelec; Hannah McGill takes aim at Peter Biskind’s musings on film and extremism; Chloé Zhao talks about The Rider; Bart Layton discusses American Animals; a preview of the BFI London Film Festival; a report from the Locarno film festival; reviews ofFaces Places, The Little Stranger, A Northern Soul, Wajib;and much more.