Mary F. Corey is a senior lecturer in American history at UCLA specialising in intellectual history, popular culture, and Black nationalism. Amongst many awards, she is a recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. During her career she has served as an editor of Harper’s Bazaar and New American Review magazines. She is the author of The World Through a Monocle: The New Yorker at Midcentury 15currently titled They Stooped to Conquer.
Founded in 1967, Cineaste is today widely regarded as one of the most important film quarterlies published anywhere in the world. The journal’s unique editorial focus is reflected in the in-depth nature of its feature articles and interviews, as well as its reviews, written by leading film critics, journalists, and scholars.
1) Do you remember a specific moment that kickstarted your love of cinema?
My father was a blacklisted screenwriter and a true cineaste. Sadly he had a lot of time on his hands in the 50s and he spent some of that time taking me to what he called ‘armpit’ theaters to see movies that I was too young too really understand, but not too young to experience emotionally. Ikaru and Rashamon were two such films. But perhaps the film that most made me understand what cinema could be and do was L’Enfant Du Paradis. Before the film my father filled me in on its history explaining that it had been made during the Nazi Occupation of Paris, that filming was frequently interrupted, and that actors who were in the Resistance needed their scenes to be shot in secret. I think learning about this convergence of history and filmmaking was the beginning of my love for cinema.
2) Which review that you’ve written for Cineaste are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my reviews of the brilliant Austrian/German film The Great Freedom and my reviews of Summer of Soul and Judas and the Black Messiah. I am currently at work on a review of Nope that I am feeling pretty pleased with as well.
3) Do you have any predictions for how the film industry will change over the next 20 years?
I think filmmaking will become more globalised and democratised because of massive changes in technology. As for the movie theater as a thing, hmmm. I wish the theater-going experience could survive, but as they say, “if wishes were horses then poor men would ride”.
4) In you previous roles, what did you find to be the most challenging part of editing a magazine issue?
I was an editor at Harper’s Bazaar long, long ago, but I cannot really claim to have any recent experience editing a magazine. I am an academic historian who specializes in American Popular Culture.
5) Do you have any work coming out soon you’d like to let our readers know about?
Between my teaching duties and my critical essays I haven’t found a lot of time to work on my longer project which is a book about Black participation in Blackface, currently entitled They Stooped to Conquer. Stay tuned.
Thank you Mary for being part of the #MeetTheContributor blog series!
Digital subscriptions to Cineaste are available in the Exact Editions individual and institutional shop. These include unlimited and fully-searchable access to the modern archive, stretching back to 2014.