Classical virtues: Shindo Kaneto and Yoshimura Kozaburo

Japanese director Shindo Kaneto, famed for ghost classic Onibaba, died on 29 May at the age of 100. To mark a BFI season, Alexander Jacoby pays tribute to the director and his long-term collaborator Yoshimura Kozaburo

The battle of Chicago:
The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Adapted by Sam Greenlee from his autobiographical fantasia about a token black CIA operative turned liberation leader, The Spook Who Sat by the Door might long have been recognised as one of the great African-American calls to arms – had it not been suppressed by the FBI, says David Somerset

#The mark of Kane
The greatest films of all time?

With S&S’s Greatest Film of All Time poll looming, David Thomson launches a series of occasional debates on the canon, here wondering whether Citizen Kane will – or should – retain its top spot. From our January 2011 issue

#Blood and sand: Beau Travail
The greatest films of all time?

In the latest of our essays making the case for contenders in S&S’s poll to find the Greatest Film of All Time, Hannah McGill revisits Beau Travail, Claire Denis’s rapturous 1998 exploration of male identity in crisis

#Garlands and cobwebs: Vincente Minnelli’s ecstatic vision The directors

The greatest window-dresser in the movies, MGM star director Minnelli at his best made his gilded surfaces resonate with the undercurrents of his characters’ inner lives. Keith Uhlich picks out the gems from the trinkets

#The great escape: La Grande Illusion
The greatest films of all time?

In past S&S polls of the greatest films of all time, Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion has lost out to his later, allegedly more personal film La Règle du jeu. It’s time to reconsider, says Ginette Vincendeau

#Maciej Drygas: a forensics of the public unconscious Reworking the archive

Leading light of a new generation of Polish filmmakers, Maciej Drygas is a modern master of archive documentary. Basia Lewandowska Cummings tracks his development

#The hand that rocked the Kremlin:
Czech animation master Jirí Trnka

Born 100 years ago, the Czech artist Jirí Trnka spent his career bringing fairytales magically to life, in book illustrations and puppet animation – until his last film turned his talents to a devastating allegory of Stalinism. Peter Hames surveys his career

#Where the mountain meets the street: Terayama Shuji Portrait

Poet, playwright and avant-garde filmmaker maudit, Terayama Shuji was both infamous and ubiquitous in late 60s and 70s Japan, and remains unforgettable there today. Tony Rayns recalls a legend

#Light my fire: The Hour of the Furnaces The greatest films of all-time?

As S&S counts down to the September issue’s once-a-decade poll to find the Greatest Film of All Time, French critic Nicole Brenez makes the case for one of the key revolutionary activist films of the 1960s

#Only a dream: Gene Tierney
The actors

More than just one of the most beautiful actresses in movies, Gene Tierney didn’t so much act as embody the mysterious heroines of three unforgettable 40s films. By Dan Callahan

#History in the making: Black Gold and the Jasmine revolution Location report

Long a dependable location for desert film shoots, Tunisia was the natural choice for Jean-Jacques Annaud, Antonio Banderas et al to stage their fictional epic about a 1930s Arab uprising. Then the country’s own revolution exploded around them. Ali Jaafar was on set

#Remain in light: Mulholland Dr. and the cosmogony of David Lynch
The greatest films of all-time?

As our ten-yearly poll to find the Greatest Film of All Time gets ever closer, B. Kite considers David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. in the light of the Vedanta-inspired spiritual philosophy that underpins all the director’s work

#Jean Vigo: Artist of the floating world The greatest films of all-time?

Vigo’s sole full-length feature bridged the surrealism of 1920s French cinema and the poetic realism of the 1930s. Graham Fuller proposes it for S&S’s forthcoming ‘Greatest Films of All Time’ poll


#The Gilbert Adair files: The Nautilus and the nursery Spring 1985

Roland Barthes’s [sic] April Fools paean to the Carry On cycle, from our Gilbert Adair tribute trove

#The Gilbert Adair files: The rubicon and the rubik cube Winter 1981/82

The late critic and author on exile, paradox and Raúl Ruiz, from our Gilbert Adair tribute trove

#Faust and furious: Alexandr Sokurov

A surprise winner of the top prize at the recent Venice Film Festival, Aleksandr Sokurov’s Faust has divided critics, leaving some groping for superlatives. Here Ian Christie places the film in the context of European high culture’s previous tellings of the tale

#The Singing Detective: 25 years on
Out of the archive

Is Dennis Potter’s singalong noir miniseries the all-time pinnacle of television drama? Graham Fuller thinks it is

#Clash of the wonderlands: 3D cinema

Two years on from Avatar, audience fatigue and critical scepticism may be peaking just as genuinely adventurous 3D work is coming our way. Don’t write off 3D yet, says Ian Christie

#Divining spirits: Chick Strand Portrait

Vera Brunner-Sung on the mind-bending ethnographic forays of the late experimental master

#Tarnished angel: Miss Bala

The story of a would-be beauty queen who falls foul of Mexico’s drug gangs, Miss Bala is more than just another document of Latin America’s social ills, says Paul Julian Smith

#The man with the scalpel: mad movie plastic surgeons

Antonio Banderas’s doctor in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In is only the latest in the movies’ proud heritage of gothic medics. By Kim Newman

#Green screen: what’s happening to Irish cinema

The economy may be shattered, but Ireland’s filmmakers continue to come up with the goods. Trevor Johnston surveys the current Irish scene

#Red skies: Soviet science fiction

From heroic propagandist tales of space exploration to post-apocalyptic dystopias of the Chernobyl era, the history of Soviet sci-fi from the 1920s to the 1980s mirrors the rise and fall of the USSR. James Blackford probes the lost world unveiled in a new BFI season

#Listen to Britain: British folk cinema

A new DVD collection of films documenting British folk culture evokes a vanishing world for Philip Hoare

#Down the Bunka: Japanese underground cinema of the 1960s

Jasper Sharp dives down the rabbit hole with the experimental Theatre Scorpio and its multimedia performance collectives

#The old soldier: Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme

More than half a century after Breathless first catapulted him on to the world stage, Jean-Luc Godard is still challenging cinematic norms with his politically charged, poetic essay Film Socialisme. Gabe Klinger jump-cuts through key moments in the director’s life

#A love-hate relationship:
French cinema and boulevard theatre

Director François Ozon’s Potiche turns a 30-year-old farce into a riot of 1970s kitsch. Ginette Vincendeau looks back over the love-hate relationship between French cinema and boulevard theatre

#Spanish spring: cinema after Franco

The end of Franco’s dictatorship spawned a remarkable flowering of Spanish cinema at the end of the 1970s. With the revival of Carlos Saura’s Cría cuervos, Paul Julian Smith looks back at key films of the era

#How to tell a true war story

Nick Pinkerton on how Hollywood’s auteur generation distilled the Vietnam War into a new form of vigilantism

#Criss cross: Spy films of the Cold War

The post-war intrigue between East and West Europe hothoused a rich new strain of spy cinema, on both sides of the divide. Michael Brooke dons his trenchcoat and snoops around

#Hidden visionaries: 50 years of the ‘other’ Spanish cinema

Mar Diestro-Dópido picks out three blazing highlights of a touring exposition of Spanish experimental discoveries

#Bernardo Bertolucci: Just like starting over

To mark a comprehensive Bertolucci retrospective, Tony Rayns looks back at the early 1960s, when the great Italian director hit his stride and emerged from the shadow of his mentors, Pasolini and Godard

#The pride and the passion: 25 years of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

After a groundbreaking quarter of a century, the LLGFF is still relevant, says programmer Brian Robinson

#What goes around:
Margarethe von Trotta’s history plays

Sophie Mayer on the indefatigable feminist of the once-New German Cinema

#Howard Hawks: Slim and the silver fox

The years Howard Hawks spent with his second wife Nancy – aka ‘Slim’ – were the richest of his film-directing career, as her style and influence inspired him to live out a recurring dream of their relationship on film. By David Thomson

#Memento mori: Of Gods and Men

Based on the true story of a group of monks in Algeria, Of Gods and Men is one of several recent films to examine links between French and Islamic culture. But it’s the film’s evocation of the monks’ inner state that really resonates, says Jonathan Romney


#Leonard Rossiter: a conviction in comedy

As Tripper’s Day, Leonard Rossiter’s final comedy, is released on DVD, Gary Mills remembers the competitive, uncompromising star who was Reggie, Rigsby, flatulist and farceur

#Capra before he became ‘Capraesque’

Celebrated each Christmas for the ‘Capracorn’ of It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra deserves reappraisal as a director in the light of the restoration of his 1920s silents and his luminous talkies of the early 1930s. By Joseph McBride

#English pastoral: Robinson in Ruins

Robinson in Ruins marks the return of director Patrick Keiller – and a new green sensibility in his work. By Mark Fisher

#Joe Dante: serious mischief

Always one to go his own way, Joe Dante combines 3D technology with a return to a subtler, more family-oriented brand of horror in his new film The Hole. Tom Charity tracks Dante's anarchic streak through a 40-year career of filmmaking

#The life and death of the UK Film Council

From ‘Cool Britannia’ to coalition cold comfort, Geoffrey Macnab unravels the circumstances surrounding the recently announced demise of the UK Film Council

#One for the road: Bob Rafelson and ‘Five Easy Pieces’

Forty years ago, ‘Five Easy Pieces’ made Jack Nicholson a star, and seemed to promise a new era of thoughtful American film-making. David Thomson looks back at a masterpiece, and talks to its director, Bob Rafelson

Deborah Kerr

Discovered by Michael Powell, Deborah Kerr essayed an extraordinary range of roles from here to Hollywood, says Quentin Falk

#Frantisek Vlácil: Out of the past

Less celebrated internationally than his near contemporaries Forman and Menzel, the late Czech director Frantisek Vlácil’s visionary medieval epics have recently been rediscovered in the West. But there was more to him than that, finds Michael Brooke

#Alberto Cavalcanti: Britain’s secret Brazilian

More than any other director bar Hitchcock, the Brazilian Alberto Cavalcanti had a profound influence on British film-making in the 1930s and 40s. But he remains an unjustly overlooked figure, says Nick James

#Lost and forgotten: British cinema of the 70s

In British film as in pop music, the late 1960s and 1970s marked a watershed of shifting cultures and identities, as Mark Sinker discovers in a selection of the era’s ‘forgotten’ films

#The man who wasn’t there:
Polanski’s The Ghost

Roman Polanski’s thriller about an ex-prime minister haunted by past crimes has acquired an extra twist of intrigue in the light of the director’s own arrest. Philip Horne unravels the tangled web of The Ghost

#Italian Cinema: Maestros and mobsters

Cinematic nostalgia, endemic corruption and the deadening hand of Silvio Berlusconi have prevented Italy’s real story from being told on film for 30 years, says Nick Hasted. But now a new generation of film-makers is finding its voice

Dorothy ArznerDorothy Arzner: Queen of Hollywood

Star-maker and pioneering female director, Arzner brought women to the fore in Hollywood when it really counted, says Sophie Mayer

Content Celestial mail: Polish documentaries

A 14-minute mini-masterpiece reminds Michael Brooke of a history of correspondences between the British documentary school and its great Polish counterpart

#Alice through the lens

Mark Sinker compares the various artistic visionaries - from John Tenniel to Dennis Potter to Jan Svankmajer - who have put their stamp on Alice since 1865

#Island of lost souls: Shutter Island

Scorsese’s Shutter Island may be a faithful adaptation of a bestseller, but it’s also his deeply felt homage to the cinema of the 1940s and 50s, says Graham Fuller, and a return to the paranoid interior world of Taxi Driver

The Blonde: icon, stereotype, concept Screen blondes

Victim, femme fatale, sexual object... just what is it that fascinates film-makers about the blonde, asks Lucy Bolton

#Sergei Parajanov: out of the shadows

Sergei Parajanov was imprisoned by the Soviets and his films were suppressed, but his magical vision and his bold championing of folk tradition endure long after the fall of the USSR. Ian Christie celebrates a unique film-maker

#Ozu Yasujiro, tofu maker

Ozu is often perceived to be a uniquely Japanese director with a fascination for the domestic, but in fact he was a wide-ranging movie fan who started out aping US films and rarely had real experiences to parallel the lives of his protagonists. By Tony Rayns

#Josef von Sternberg: six chapters in search of an auteur

The six films von Sternberg made with the star he ‘created’, Marlene Dietrich, are a triumph of pure style and sensual excess over novelettish plots. David Thompson celebrates the master of light


Jean EustacheJean Eustache: He stands alone

Revisiting the forgotten films of the renowned Jean Eustache

#Unexpected tenderness:
The White Ribbon

Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winner is a tale of cruelty set in a north German village in 1913. Despite its monochrome austerity, Catherine Wheatley sees hints of a new softness in the director’s work

Joseph StrickSlow bloom: Joseph Strick’s Ulysses

Joseph Strick’s four-decade-long journey to bring his adaptation of James Joyce’s ‘unadaptable’ modernist masterpiece to the screen

#Electric ‘Underground’

Director Anthony Asquith has long been dismissed as a lightweight. But his restored 1928 silent is a revelation, says Jay Weissberg

Wojciech HasWojciech Has: curiouser and curiouser

Nick Roddick blew his mind in the early 1970s. He tracks down the culprit, the late Polish director Wojciech Has

#Going underground

Billy Elliot screenwriter Lee Hall digs into the BFI National Archive’s extraordinary collection of films about the mining industry, which offer a provocative and often moving celebration of everyday labour

#Serenity: Pedro Costa and Fontainhas

Miguel Gomes explains how Pedro Costa found a home to film as his own with the inhabitants of Fontainhas on the margins of Lisbon

#The wild bunch

They make films that are uncategorisable, in which cinematic language, taste and even reality itself are bent to their will. Mark Cousins hails the 50 revolutionary auteurs from around the world whom we have dubbed the ‘Wild Bunch’

#In the realm of Oshima

Best known in the west for the period co-productions In the Realm of the Senses and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Oshima’s finest works are the fiercely modern Japanese films he made in the 1960s, says Alexander Jacoby

#Gangsters special, part 3: Thunder roads

Since the 1960s, independent-minded US film-makers have been revisiting the Great Depression. Michael Atkinson explores the era’s enduring appeal

#Seeing red: restoring The Red Shoes

With a little help from its greatest fan Martin Scorsese, Powell and Pressburger’s 1948 masterpiece The Red Shoes returns to the screen in full Technicolor glory. But what does a restoration project on this scale really involve, asks Ian Christie

#Inflammable desires

As Kenneth Anger’s legendary ‘Magick Lantern Cycle’ rises again on DVD, Tony Rayns unpicks the hidden themes and influences that made his work so groundbreaking

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Last Updated: 31 May 2012