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Sight & Sound September 2020


Michaela Coel, the face of British television today, talks about her game-changing series I May Destroy You.

Plus Ashley Clark on protest and activism in Black British Cinema; an oral history of the pioneering Black Film Bulletin; the cast and crew of Rocks; and Isaac Julien on Young Soul Rebels, in a classic 1991 interview from our archives.

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In our September issue, we sit down with Michaela Coel, the face of British television today, to talk about her game-changing series I May Destroy You, the daring, funny, shocking drama about abuse, consent and modern millennial life that’s been hailed as the television drama of the year. Coel tells Gaylene Gould about finding her ‘misfit’ voice and constructing the New World of TV. 

Also in this issue: Ashley Clark explores the vital, too often suppressed history of protest and activism in Black British Cinema; the editors of the pioneering Black Film Bulletin talk us through the publication’s history and future; the female cast and crew of the London-set drama Rocks on how they told their own story their own way; and Isaac Julien talks to Amy Taubin about his breakthrough feature Young Soul Rebels in a classic 1991 interview drawn from our archives.

Plus regular features:

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What happens now?
Naomi Obeng talks to workers in and around UK film about racial inequality.

Dream palaces: Rio Cinema, Dalston
With the Rio hit hard by Covid-19 and its future in doubt, filmmaker John Akomfrah pays tribute to the community-led Hackney gem.

Rising star: Fyzal Boulifa
The 35-year-old British director making waves with his debut feature Lynn + Lucy.

Alex Ramon mourns Black British pioneer Earl Cameron.
Nick James salutes the great Ennio Morricone.

Film preservation
Isabel Stevens reports on the threat facing Brazil’s film archive, the Cinemateca Brasileira.

Report from Italy
John Bleasdale explains why outdoor cinema in Rome has had a narrow escape.

Pamela Hutchinson looks forward to the best films and TV due out – touch wood – later this year.

​The numbers: indie cinemas and covid
After a strong start, 2020 has been a record-breaking year for UK cinemas in all the wrong ways. But the situation is far from hopeless. By Charles Gant.

Wide angle

Primal screen: Black voices in silent cinema
In a film industry that was not just white but often explicitly racist, Black writers, directors and stars still made their mark. By Pamela Hutchinson.

Profile: Safe zone
At a time when images of violence against Black people abound, Ja’Tovia Gary does far more than analyse or repeat the problem. By Matthew Barrington.


Films of the month:
The Traitor

plus reviews of
Black Water: Abyss
The Booksellers
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Da 5 Bloods
How to Build a Girl
The Invincibles
Last and First Men
Lynn + Lucy
Make Up
The Old Guard
The Vigil
Wasp Network
A White, White Day

Television of the month
I May Destroy You

plus reviews of
Dark: Season 3
Homecoming: Season 2
Perry Mason
Sitting in Limbo
Welcome to Chechnya

Home cinema features

Three Edgar Allen Poe Adaptations starring Bela Lugosi:
Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven
There’s not much Poe left in Universal’s shockers, but there’s all the insanity, murder and giant killer apes you could ever hope for. By Anne Billson.

Lost and found: The Cruel Sea
The first feature ever made in Kuwait can stand comparison with the great works of post-war Italian neorealism. By Andrew Nette.

Archive television:
The Count of Monte Cristo + The Man in the Iron Mask
Robert Hanks revisits Richard Chamberlain’s mid-70s Dumas phase.

plus reviews of
Cisco Pike
Criss Cross
A Foreign Affair
The Good Die Young
Phase IV
Scorsese Shorts
Spring Night, Summer Night
Story of a Love Affair
3D Rarities: II
Films by Takeshi Kitano
We Don’t Need a Map


The Japanese Cinema Book edited by Hideaki Fujiki and Alastair Phillips (BFI Publishing/Bloomsbury) reviewed by Jasper Sharp

Star Attractions edited by Tamar Jeffers McDonald and Lies Lanckman (University of Iowa Press) reviewed by Pamela Hutchinson


The unforgettable montage of clips that closes Spike Lee’s savage 2000 satire reveals the shameful history of racism at the movies. By Nels Abbey.


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