Editors’ Note: Hot
From sweaty summer flicks and steamy sex scenes to fictional characters boiling with rage and real footage of our melting world (there’s a reason we’re releasing the HOT issue in December), filmmakers love to get audiences hot and bothered.
But we also can’t ignore the fact that we’re living in a moment of hot, righteous fury: the film industry’s current reckoning with sexual abuse and harassment has been not only on the front page but also front of mind—and not just since the “revelations” began a couple of months ago, but for years. If you work in film (or, perhaps more aptly put: if you’re a woman living with a corporeal form in this world), you’ve encountered gendered abuses of power in some way, which can make scrolling through timelines a minefield of having to relive past abuse and in some cases even engage with past abusers.
Taking this into consideration, we’ve been thinking about how to support those who have spoken up, but also those who don’t yet feel ready to. As Kai Cheng Thom wrote recently in GUTS: “Poor women, women of colour, and trans women in particular are still in danger of being viciously punished for naming people who have hurt us.” It’s always worth restating that privilege protects certain voices more than others, and to ensure the film industry—and broader film culture—really changes means prioritizing, listening to and amplifying voices and perspectives that have historically been marginalized within mainstream feminism. For cléo, this means continuing to look for even more ways to feature and highlight contributors and filmmakers from marginalized communities.
Turning to this edition, we’ve reached something of a milestone: our 15th issue to date! We’re pretty proud of this fact and want to thank all our supporters, past writers, editors and cover artists, our copy editor Jovana Jankovic, grant writer Calina Ellwand and the Ontario Arts Council. There’s no way we would be here without you.
And what do we have in store for the big one-five? Well, Clara Miranda Scherffig talks to director Carla Simón about childhood loss, summer grieving and Catalan influences in Summer 1993. While contemplating the planet’s fragility, cléo editor Kathleen Kampeas-Rittenhouse looks to Kedi’s street cats of Istanbul for comfort and survival strategies, and Elise Moore considers Ida Lupino’s take on the institution of marriage in The Bigamist. Our very own Chelsea Phillips-Carr takes on the art and politics of the makeover through Barbra Streisand’s directorial oeuvre, and founding editor Kiva Reardon dives into desire in Claire Denis’ steamy Vendredi soir. Sarah Fonseca situates Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s neon nightclub musical The Lure within the queer history of mermaid lore, and Hyunjee Nicole Kim talks Peggy Ahwesh, psychoanalytic feminism, and the void as a safe and generative space in an examination of The Deadman. In a cléo first, we have a video interview based on Amanda Barbour’s dialogue with filmmaker Ester Martin Bergsmark.
So take off your glasses, change up your hair, stuff your feet into some painful shoes and prove you’ve been hot all along, baby. 😉
Happy reading and stay warm,
The cléo editors
In (visual) conversation with Ester Martin Bergsmarkamanda barbour
Barbra Streisand: Cinema of AttractionChelsea Phillips Carr