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At the Movies

March 2011

Now showing: a celebration of film around the world. We’re offering a double bill of documentaries and features, with memoirs from international directors and screenwriters complemented by tales of characters immersed in a world of film. From close-up to wide angle, on location and off in a dream world, these writers provide a panoramic view of the cinematic world. In two stories of film’s international reach, Ryu Murakami’s yakuza finds a soulmate in small-town Texas, while João Paulo Cuenca’s Brazilian slacker aspires to la dolce vita. Montreal’s Robert Paquin describes the delicate art of dubbing profanity. Japanese director Nishikawa Miwa recalls the nightmare origins of her Sway, and Michelangelo Antonioni’s assistant director Flavio Niccolini shares his diary from the set of the masterpiece Red Desert. Strega Prize-winner and screenwriter Domenico Starnone recounts the beginning of his lifelong infatuation with film. And the great Saadat Hasan Manto pens an amused portrait of the Pakistani star Noor Jehan. We hope you’ll find this issue a blockbuster.

Elsewhere, in poetry from three continents, Algeria’s Habib Tengour reflects on exile and identity, Australia’s Cobbin Dale spins an Aboriginal folk tale, and Vietnam’s Nguyen Phan Que Mai moves between earth and sky. In the second installment of “Our Man in Madrid,” Peruvian Jorge Eduardo Benavides depicts a society caught in the grip of a deadly presence. In another story of menacing elements,  Eom Jeong-Hui and Ko Im-Hong return with the second chapter of their graphic novel The Secret of Frequency A.

Making a Scene
By Domenico Starnone
This tiny, tiny kid shot down the right aisle, then under the screen, then popped up the left aisle, to the back of the theater, and started all over again—propeller going all the while.
Translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris
Noor Jehan
By Dan Bevacqua
I think I first saw Noor Jehan in the film Khandan. They called her Baby in those days, but believe me when I say that she didn’t look like a baby. On the contrary, her body had every feature that…
Translated from Urdu by Dedi Felman
By Gabriela Wiener
Ravenna, October 15, 1963 Finally, after a year’s delay, we are in Ravenna. Just a week left before the first take. The Red Desert will be born after a long and difficult gestation. Those of us…
Translated from Italian by Carmen Ollé
The Delayed Arrival of the Writer: An Interview with Jorge Eduardo Benavides
In our second installment in WWB's Our Man in Madrid series, Jonathan Blitzer speaks to Jorge Eduardo Benavides, whose story "The Reckoning" appears in the March issue of the magazine. Read…
Translated from Spanish
The Reckoning
By Jorge Eduardo Benavides
That Presence—long feared—was once again in our midst.
Translated from Spanish by Jonathan Blitzer
By The Ministry of Culture of Peru
I The one that swaddles us the purest and the most defiled stilled sea, no admittance devourer of seven prompted by overweening daring or by chance to listen to the sirens’ song dive into the sulfur…
Translated from French by José Tola
From the Deep Earth
The day you came, the world knew how to breathe, earth worms suddenly knew how to sing, and the earth's surface trembled with life. My mother had kept my embryo inside for days and months where I…
Translated from Vietnamese by Antonia Windsor & Maggie Riggs
Freeing Myself
By Nguyen Phan Que Mai
One day the wind lifts me highso I look down and see an antimprisoned in a multi-folder email box,in a mobile phone ringing from time to time.One day the wind lifts me highso I look down and see a bird…
Translated from Vietnamese by Nguyen Phan Que Mai & Bruce Weigl
By Cobbin Dale
Long, long ago Thangara camefrom the East,dangerous, half horse, half man.He roamed the land eating men.Magicians gatheredto find the wisest among them:they threwtheir magic crystals at a tree.One magician…
Translated from Yindjibarndi by Shon Arieh-Lerer
Mastroianni Day
By João Paulo Cuenca
The classic “Mastroianni Day” requires a three-piece suit, dark sunglasses, and, preferably, a hat.
Translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar
Director’s Notes on “Sway”
By Nishikawa Miwa
The man might not escape the death penalty. And I had become deeply involved with him and with his crime.
Translated from Japanese by Linda Hoaglund
(Bleep), You (Bleeping) (Bleep): Dubbing American Films into Canadian French
By Robert Paquin
The full quote is: “(Bleep), you (bleep) (bleep), I’m ‘onna (bleep) kick your (bleep) (bleep) to (bleep) kingdom come!” This is a typical excerpt from the dialogue of an American…
The Last Picture Show
By Ryu Murakami
It felt funny being called a delinquent by a yakuza.
Translated from Japanese by Ralph McCarthy