Sight&Sound - 05.2020

(Jacob Rumans) #1
May 2020 | Sight&Sound | 5

Nothing puts life into perspective more than a very
real threat to it, and so above all else, as you read this
issue of Sight & Sound, I hope you’re safe and well.
The scale of the Covid-19 pandemic is difficult
to grasp. I’m writing this from my attic on a sunny
Thursday morning near the end of March. Our offices
at the BFI are closed until further notice, as are all the
shops on the high street I wandered down earlier, trying
to clear my head and work out what to say on this
page. For reasons of distribution and retail, it may be
weeks later that you’re reading this. The landscape will
have changed again, the situation may have improved
or may be much worse. So rather than talk about
what’s happening, I’ll talk about what happens next.
This issue didn’t start life with La Haine on the cover.
Almost every release we had written about for the
issue, our intended cover-story included, was pushed
back indefinitely, peripheral victims of the virus. No
grand statement was intended, no prescience about
the dramatic reordering of society that Covid-
would bring about was involved, when we chose to
upgrade Kaleem Aftab’s thought-provoking interview
with director Mathieu Kassovitz to the cover. But
as I walked through the empty East London streets,
I thought about the final scene of La Haine: Vinz
dead, slumped against a car, shot by a cop. Hubert’s
gun pointed in the cop’s face, the cop pointing back.
Saïd on the other side of the car, the camera moving
towards his face. His eyes close, the screen turns
black, and a single shot is heard. Remembering the
voiceover that talks us through those last few seconds,
I felt a tingle down my spine. “It’s about a society on
its way down. And as it falls, it keeps telling itself:
‘So far so good... So far so good... So far so good.’ It’s
not how you fall that matters. It’s how you land.”
It’s how you land. The thing that will define this crisis
is how we land. The film industry is in turmoil – the
genie is out of the VOD bottle, and to try to pretend
otherwise as our cinemas start to open again in the
coming weeks and months would be ridiculous. Read
what Guy Lodge and Charles Gant have to say on where
things stand on pages 7 to 9, and remember, that what
will define the future of cinema is not the fall, but
the landing. Physical media – magazines very much
included – have been struggling to adapt to the digital
world for almost two decades. The Covid-19 crisis will
have a serious impact on the world of physical media,
and not to face up to that reality would be naive. The
effect on many publishers will be devastating. As many
of us isolate, digital media are our salvation, keeping
us connected with loved ones, niche interests and
social discourse, and our collective love of cinema is an
important element of this: watchlists are being shared
far and wide, watch-alongs happen almost nightly
and the daily swamp of doom-laden think-pieces

about the death of the industry are being replaced by
rose-tinted nostalgia pieces about the life-changing
power of film and the unique escapism it offers. It’s
a beautiful distraction, but we can’t turn the clock
back, and we all saw this coming. So far so good. So
far so good. Don’t focus on the fall, but the landing.
What does all of this mean for Sight & Sound? We
are committed to making a magazine, not least for our
loyal base of subscribers, who keep us going through
thick and thin, but in the short term we expect some
upheaval to our schedule. We’ll communicate clearly
any changes that need to be made, and trust that
you’ll stick with us and forgive any disruption to your
monthly routine. To fill any gaps, we’re launching a
weekly newsletter called the Weekly Film Bulletin:
a mixture of features, reviews, recommendations,
analysis and opinion, it will arrive in your inbox
every Friday. We plan to publish more content on our
website too, and to be much more visible on social
media. However you find us over the coming months,
we want to make sure we’re there for you. Of course,
the best way to never miss an issue of Sight & Sound,
whatever might be going on outside your door (and
in the process support us in the most effective way
you can), is to subscribe. If you don’t already, give it
a go and help us to help each other through these
uncertain times. Look after yourselves and each other
as we all try and land safely on new ground. Viva
cinema, viva magazines! Now wash your hands.

THE LAY OF THE LAND


EDITORIAL
Editor-in-chief
Mike Williams
Deputy editor
Kieron Corless
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James Bell
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Robert Hanks
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Mar Diestro-Dópido
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Patrick Fahy
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James Piers Taylor
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chrisbrawndesign.com
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Rhapsody
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Walstead UK
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‘ It’s about a society on its way down.


And as it falls, it keeps telling itself:


“So far so good... So far so good...


So far so good.” It’s not how you fall


that matters. It’s how you land’


ILLUSTRATION BY SIMON COOPER AT WWW.COOPERILLO.COM/PORTRAIT BY ETIENNE GILFILLAN


Editorial Mike Williams

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