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A Letter From the Editor

You have on your screen something that, even just a few short months ago, I couldn't have imagined would exist: the debut issue of The Film Journal. This edition has been quite a labor of love, on the part of myself and the great group of writers who came through for me right out of the gate. But I'll thank them in a moment.

As I said, a little while ago, this was just a pipe dream. I was working on my last website, a kind of entertainment site that is common these days: one that wants to be all things to all people. I'd been wanting, for quite some time now, to attempt a more serious project, something that concerned itself more with the culture of cinema than that of entertainment news and box office reporting. I turned to a number of great publications. Some I had been reading for quite a while (Sight and Sound, Film Comment, Filmmaker, Senses of Cinema). Others I have only recently begun studying (Cineaste, Bright Lights Film Journal, Millennium Film Journal, Cinema Scope).

What I had never noticed before in these publications, at least not in any cognizant way, was the great sense of a kind of community. As with any cultural art, there are opposing views to every aspect of cinema. But within that disparity is a knowledge that the art of motion pictures can only flourish through a serious study and appreciation of the medium. The late, great Pauline Kael always felt that critics could play a major role in shaping the ways in which the cinema developed (read her seminal text, I Lost it At the Movies). I don't know if we have that broad of an appeal. Certainly, studio tastes are more effected by test screening score sheets than reviews that come out of press screenings. But I do believe that critics, writers, art-house bookers, museum curators and other proponents and students of cinema have the ability to broaden the spectrum of what is readily available to the public. Just as in the days when general moviegoers (albeit more progressive ones) were just as likely to see a Fellini, Godard or Kurosawa film as one by Lucas, Spielberg or Coppola, I believe audiences are primed to be exposed to the likes of Wong Kar-Wai, Tsai Ming-liang, Kim Dae-sung, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Laurent Cantet...the list of noteworthy contemporary filmmakers is long enough to fill several years' worth of journal issues.

That, essentially, is why I decided to start The Film Journal. There are certainly more well-known and respected publications available right now. I recommend you read all of them. Check out Gabe Klinger's 24 fps; regularly read the personal websites of The Onion's Scott Tobias and Time Out New York's Mike D'Angelo; and definitely subscribe to Sight and Sound, Film Comment, and Cinema Scope and visit Senses of Cinema and Bright Lights Film Journal on a regular basis. You can only further the cause of serious film study by giving these publications your time and energy. However, I also hope you will make The Film Journal one of your permanent destinations. We plan on expanding into a less freeform edition some time in the near future, but in the meantime, I rather like the diversity of the pieces that we have for you here in Issue 1. I hope you do, too.

I'd like to thank this issue's writers for not only morally supporting the journal, but for giving us some really concise, inventive pieces to come out of the gate with. Thank you so much: Dr. Andrew C. Billings, Gerald Peary, Johnny DiLoretto, Richard Armstrong, as well as the Drexel Theaters and the Wexner Center for the Arts for providing meaningful cinematic experiences in Central Ohio.

On a different note, there was to be a centerpiece on Method Acting in this issue, but time constraints prevented us from being able to develop it sufficiently. We hope to revive that project in the near future. Other, more minor, segments have been postponed as well ("Vampires in Film", "Children and Violence in Film").

For now, I hope you enjoy the debut issue. In the July / August issue, you can expect a larger number of reviews, more local and international event coverage, and an in-depth focus on the New Korean Cinema.

Until then,

Richard A. Curnutte, Jr.
Editor, The Film Journal