December 9, 2022

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The Edge

News from Iranian Women, in Their Own Voices

Zillah Eisenstein shares correspondence with a group of Iranian women after word of disbanding the “Morality Police.”

“No, we are not feeling relieved, not at all,” they said. “Nobody is feeling good about the news because first, we know that women still won’t be able to wear what they want at work or governmental organizations like banks.”

“We are worried that this news would make the world think that it is over. As I mentioned before, hijab laws and restrictions are like the Berlin wall for the Islamic regime. Our people would never be finally free as long as this regime is ruling.”

Read their full statement on The Edge.

FIFA World Cup: One Love Through the Arab Lens

At one of the many outdoor venues where people in Abu Dhabi can gather to watch the World Cup games on a big screen, football fans gripped the sides of their chairs when Canada scored in Friday night’s game against Morocco. The TV announcer said, “It’s ok, ok. Let’s not worry. We’re still ahead by a goal. It’s ok. Don’t worry.”

The TV announcer wasn’t comforting the players, but rather the audience. This is the personalized, passionate style of game commentary in the Arab-speaking world in general. But this time it felt different.

I have little doubt that most of the Arab audience watching that game also dream of having Canadian citizenship, having a place to live permanently where they would be free of wars, crushing poverty, corruption.

Read Alia Yunis on the narrow focus of the One Love campaign during the World Cup.

On Rebuttals and Ballots for Sight and Sound’s ‘Greatest Films of All Time’ List

The Edge has leapt into the debates ignited by the December 1 publication of the Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time 2022 list currently crackling across social media.

We’re not just publishing rebuttals to the list. We are also publishing the nominations of different film scholars and cinephiles to the poll that proposed a more expansive view of cinema.

Not many scholars, distributors, journalists, or programmers seem overly excited about many of the films of the list, either ignoring it entirely or determining it is status quo or old-fashioned as modes of cinema have expanded beyond features and the art cinemas of the Global North arts/industrial matrix.

Read the full editorial on The Edge.

The World Is Burning — Whatever Tops the BFI’s ‘Best Films of All Time’ Won’t Help

The British Film Institute (BFI) just released its Best Films of All Time poll for 2022 to much fanfare and self-congratulation among liberal whites. This year’s poll marked the first time since 1952 when the once-a-decade poll was debuted that a woman topped the list of 100 films, with Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.”

When I saw the announcement, I sensed a disconnection with reality by people who voted in the poll and thought they are making positive change. This reality is that the world is burning. I wondered about the state of field of film and media studies, if this poll is what administrators think those of us in the field do. It’s fandom and marketing, not scholarship.

Dale Hudson proposes a new framework for “best” films lists, as an alternative to the “white-Western imperial nostalgia” this one celebrates.

Read Hudson’s full commentary on The Edge.

August Ballot Nominated Non-Canonical Picks for BFI’s ‘Greatest Films’ List

Identifying the “Greatest Films of All Time” requires reconsideration in 2022, for at least two reasons.

We now have knowledge of and access to many types of films not readily available before: nontheatrical, amateur, sponsored, and other orphaned works. Are some great? Yes. We also better understand that previous canonization took place under circumstances that limited views of the possible as well as the great.

My ten selections are mostly non-canonical, even unfamiliar.

Most are not feature films and not the work of auteurs. However, each is great, which is to say well-wrought, highly creative, distinctive, original, memorable.

Read Dan Streible’s nominations for Sight and Sound’s “Greatest Films of All Time” list on The Edge.

Mainstream Coverage Downplayed Voter Suppression amid Record-Breaking Turnout in Georgia Runoff

On December 6, Georgia held its runoff election, in which Democrat Raphael Warnock secured a narrow victory over Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker.

Warnock’s election is not only historic in that he has become the first Black senator to be elected to a six-year term in Georgia, but it also marks a critical victory for Democrats, giving them a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Despite record turnout, voter suppression had a major impact on citizens’ ability to vote in the runoff election. Journalist Greg Palast reported extensively on the widespread difficulties voters encountered, but mainstream media omitted the suppression they overcame to elect Warnock.

Read the full report on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Indiana abortion doctor drops lawsuit against attorney general over 10-year-old rape case | The Independent

2. Why the Far Right Is Fixated on Drag Queens | The Atlantic

3. Judge Dismisses First Attempt To Sue Over Texas’ Citizen-Enforced Abortion Ban | HuffPost

4. US Senator Kyrsten Sinema says she will leave Democratic Party | BBC

5. Revealed: group shaping US nutrition receives millions from big food industry| The Guardian

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The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.