James Quandt is Senior Programmer at TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto and a regular contributor to Artforum. He has edited monograph volumes on Robert Bresson, Shohei Imamura, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Kon Ichikawa.
 (November 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

China’s Lower Depths

Cao Zonghua, a survivor of the Anxi-Shigong camp, with his wife in Wang Bing’s Dead Souls

Dead Souls

a film by Wang Bing
The literature on the Chinese documentary filmmaker Wang Bing teems with terms of immensity. He is said to make “monster films,” “films fleuves,” and films of “leviathan extremes”—phrases that attempt to measure the enormity, in both ambition and running time, of the director’s many epic investigations into his country’s traumatic …

Filmmaker by Accident

Montage: Life. Politics. Cinema.

by Mrinal Sen, with photographs by Subhash Nandy
Over almost a century, the Bengali film director Mrinal Sen has witnessed mass famine, the partition of his homeland and the ceding of his birthplace to another country, deadly street battles between Maoist guerrillas and the police, and the rise to power of right-wing nationalists in his traditionally leftist state. Sen responded to historical calamity by cultivating what he called “rough edges,” a rejection of the formal refinement and tonal subtleties of his Calcuttan compatriot and inspiration Satyajit Ray. Humane, intellectual (but, he claims, not at all erudite), religiously agnostic and politically radical, contradictorily inclined to blunt appraisal and cunning ambiguity, Sen gradually transformed from a polemicist to a poet committed to incertitude.