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The art of Randy Thom

 Sound designer (FW35)

Critical Moments: A history of film magazines (part 7)
Sight and Sound from the 70s to the 90s
Critical Moments: A history of film magazines (part 7). By
Richard Armstrong

In Part 1 of this survey we noted that the British magazine Sight and Sound was the product of a shift towards serious film appreciation beginning with the appearance of Sequence in the late-40s. But if Sight and Sound’s international focus, its commentary on Britain’s film industry, its close filmic analysis betrayed the influence of Sequence and later, Movie, by the late-80s the magazine was being shaped by wider forces on the British socio-cultural landscape.
In commentator John Caughie’s words, since the late-40s Sight and Sound has been “the rock of official film culture against which succeeding waves and new waves have crashed” (Encyclopedia of European Cinema, Ed. Vincendeau, 1995). The organ of the British Film Institute since 1933, this “International Film Quarterly” was in the postwar decades an erudite and sober voice dedicated to promoting international film culture. From its earliest days, the magazine celebrated the creative director while baulking at cults of personality. When veteran editor Penelope Houston famously wrote in 1960 that “cinema is about the human situation, not about ‘spatial relationships’”, she voiced a level scepticism about critical trends that persisted in the lukewarm reception given the Dogme 95 development in the 1990s.