The universality of the feelings evoked in watching a childhood unfold on-screen is second to none in all of the cinema. Be it in the works of Maurice Pialat, or the films of Ana Torrent, or an unlikely gem from Dennis Hopper’s back catalogue, any number of disparate movies are connected by that one centerpiece: the world projected via the eyes of a child.
While many lesser works flirt dangerously with feelings driven too heavily on nostalgia (for what is more dangerous than the head being led by a heart filled with sentimentality), the films assembled herein are connected by a mutual sense of detachment from the usual tropes of a world portrayed through rose tinted spectacles. Harsh upbringings defined by warfare and the welfare system sit alongside the wide-eyed spectacle of Technicolor childhoods.
Continuing the core theme of the issue we have a number of articles relating to Mark Cousins’ new film, A Story of Children And Film, from both sides of the critical and creative divide. One of the researchers from the project offers an insight in to undertaking such a task, while we review the film too, and Cousins himself offers up his manifesto for the video essay. Elsewhere we have theatrical reviews of two of the most interesting films of the year, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act Of Killing and Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. The latter film is a fascinating inversion of the American dream, which is an idea prevalent throughout several films from this year. In an extensive article we tie together a number of these works, which on the surface may appear to be odd bedfellows but in reality are nothing less than kindred spirits.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief