Issue 9 Editorial

Sidestepping questions of whether or not it marked the beginning of a new millennium, let alone a new century, the beginning of a new year has come and gone. As the smoke clears from the new year’s eve fireworks, contemporary millennial technophobia has had to find new objects of fear and loathing, and we at Screening the pastheave a sigh of relief that our server suffered no ill effects.

And so to issue 9, which has no particular theme, but contains a wealth of material nevertheless. The breadth of material is demonstrated in the first release section in which articles range from Alan McKee’s examination of the reception of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to Kendall Phillips’ analysis of the British television documentary, The trial of Enoch Powell. One of the central figures in Powell’s own rhetoric was a particularly narrow conception of Englishness, and an obsession with the threat, as he saw it, of the other to the unified nation. Questions about the unified nature of “Englishness” are taken up in John West’s discussion of the Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, in which West reads the film against the background of a more diverse nation in the era of Tony Blair.

Helen Grace’s exciting essay Hegel’s Grave uses photographs and video files to reflect on Sergei Eisenstein, Marfa Lapkina and the fate of the mass hero.

Issue 9 also contains a very strong review section, including an extensive and comprehensive review essay by William D. Routt, For Criticismwhich resonates nicely with Helen Grace’s essay, dealing as it does with Nicole Brenez’s De la figure en général et du corps in particulier: l’invention figurative au cinéma. In a second review essay Adrian Martin provides a comprehensive discussion of Tag Gallagher’s The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini. Linked to Adrian Martin’s review is a fragment of The adventures of Roberto Rossellininot previously published in English, which has generously been provided by Tag Gallagher. (One of the joys of electronic publishing is the ability to publish such extended pieces of writing as these review essays.) Like Adrian Martin and William D. Routt in their review essays, Geoff Mayer extends his review of Thomas Doherty’s Pre-Code Hollywoodto provide more contextualising discussion of the historiographic treatment of the early 1930s in Hollywood. There are an additional 21 reviews of new titles, including a review by Guillaume Ollendorff of Chris Marker’s CD ROM Immemory, among the reviews of books on new media, film and television.

So this issue contains articles drawing on a number of theoretical perspectives, including various forms of textual analysis and director / author studies in media as diverse as cinema, television and CD ROM. prompting intriguing speculation on the degree to which there will be a continuity of theoretical approaches between cinema and the new media. In our next issue the major articles concentrate on the work of Robert Aldrich and his associates, however as usual the review section will deal with a diverse range of media from an equally diverse range of perspectives.

Peter Hughes
March 2000