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  • Editorial
  • Drake Stutesman

New perceptions of old material is the theme that runs throughout this issue. The first three essays focus on three unique women—the iconic performer and American expatriate, Josephine Baker; the 1960s Albanian filmmaker, Xhanfise Keko; and 1920s American screenwriter, Gertrude Atherton. In Shadow Lives: Josephine Baker and the Body of Cinema, Katherine Groo argues that Baker's longest films—La Sirène des tropiques (Henri Étiévant and Mario Nalpas, FR, 1927), Zou Zou (Marc Allégret, FR, 1934), and Princesse Tam-Tam (Edmond Gréville, FR, 1935)—reflect far more about Baker's own intentions to "muddle[] the distinctions between index and icon, reality and representation, subject and screen" than has been considered previously. Bruce Williams' essay, Two Degrees of Separation: Xhanfise Keko and the Albanian Children's Film, charts the tricky political world, from the 1950s through the 1980s, in which Keko made her films, in two incarnations—one as well-trained citizen for the state and one as a creative director who innovatively constructed her films. Anne Morey, in "The Gland School": Gertrude Atherton and the Two Black Oxen, uncovers the strategies that Gertrude Atherton, the 1920s novelist and screenwriter, used to convey women's desire.

In the dossier, Architects on Film: Architects on the Frame, guest edited by Diane Lewis, ten architects were asked to examine a single film still and to write about it in a single page in whatever manner they chose. Each piece, with a personal, almost dreamy, quality, is distinct. At times the still is discussed on its own; at times [End Page 5] supporting images are used. Some pieces have a journal-like tone, others seem like a reflection, others are meditative, and others an exegesis. Each is its own "house."

The essays look at an architectural element in a film and the film itself. This appears as the wall in Soy Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov, CU/SU, 1964), the beach house in Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, US, 1955), the cathedral implicit in the Hollywood metaphor of the epic as cathedral in Good Morning, Babylon (Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani, FR, 1987), the spatiality in Nostalgia (Andrei Tarkovsky, IT/SU, 1983), the blurry horizon of Le mépris/Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, FR/IT, 1963), the slice of a building and slice of personal separation in Medianeras/Sidewalls (Gustavo Taretto, AR/ES/DE, 2011), the gray and white tone of the day inside a church in Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman, SE, 1963) the relationship in 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, US/UK, 1968) of cold, infinite outer space to earthly living space and more. Many of these cinematic details have been noted often by cinephiles but here these details are seen as pieces of a larger world frame where, arguably, film is as organic to our societies, as buildings are. [End Page 6]



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