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2021 Essential Reads

Highlights of the year's film criticism on Notebook, including articles, interviews, video essays, and more.
Despite the pandemic disruption of the film industry around the world, which impacted everything in film from production to simple moviegoing, the vibrancy of cinema culture throughout the year has felt as strong as ever, and fiercely resilient. In our small but passionate way we also have made a show of force. In 2021 alone, Notebook has published over 400 articles. Here are some highlights from the year—and we encourage you to use the "Explore" menu or dive into our archives to find even more excellent work published this year.
  • TikTok meets silent cinema in Caroline Golum's witty essay. Cinematic technology used not for social celebrity but rather for criminal forensics was the focus of an article by Emerson Goo.
  • The French New Wave's Luc Moullet, a guiding light for Notebook, was the subject of two pieces, one about the extraordinary TV show How to with John Wilson, the other a review of the filmmaker and critic's memoirs.
  • A look at other TV highlights of the year include Ryan Meehan on Adam Curtis's Can't Get You Out of My Head, and Elissa Suh on Barry Jenkins' The Underground Railroad.
  • Critics Sean Gilman and Evan Morgan continue their long-running dialogue over the evolving career of South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo with one of his films this year, Introduction.
  • The contentious subject of film restoration in the digital age looked at both home video releases and streaming solutions. Meanwhile, a landmark of the year is the restoration and release of a lost Iranian classic, Chess in the Wind, as Bedatri D. Choudhury writes. Related, living in a film material and immaterial world is a subject of Christopher Small's review of the book Scratches and Glitches, by curator Jurij Meden.
  • An ode, in art and words, to the Mexican cypress and Portuguese director João César Monteiro in "The Baron Under the Tree," one of Patrick Holzapfel and Ivana Miloš's Full Bloom columns.
Festival coverage being our bread and butter, you can find extensive festival writing throughout the year:
We conducted over 30 interviews, but where to start?
BEST OF 2021


Essential ReadsEssential Reads of 2021Best of 2021
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