Beneficial Shock – issue 5 review

The Secrets & Lies issue

Editor Gabriel Solomons

Published by Beneficial Shock! Ltd. ISSN: 2399-5173

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster

“I wasn’t interested in “illustrating” them in the usual literal way, which I’ve always regarded as redundant and insulting to a viewer’s intelligence and imaginative capacities. I was more interested in the possibilities of apparently disparate juxtapositions and the new worlds that might emerge.” Russell Mills

Issue Five of the pioneering cinematic publication has arrived and it continues to build upon the campaigning strategy “to see more creative editorial expression” through the exploration of meaning within filmmaking and cinema. Early on in the magazine the publishers make statements of intent which are worth mentioning as others should note them too: 

On page 2, “We aim to retain independence in order to support creative collaboration and provide professional opportunities for young and emerging creative talent.”

On page 3, “We aim to challenge the traditional role of the visual creative from a content servicer to that of an author researcher and content ‘driver’ – adding value and responsibility as a visual communicator.”

The theme for this issue is SECRETS & LIES. The contents page has its structure divided into Covert on the left and Untruths on the right. The Features articles drill down into the conceits that are inherent in the very structure of film, and how classic and modern narratives are shaped by geo-political, cultural and societal upheavals. The writing is impeccable as all concerned are passionate about communicating ideas that are underpinned by artistic rigour. 

Once again Art Director Phil Wrigglesworth’s wraparound cover illustration is an epic scene containing visual references mined from the entire contents of the magazine. We see images from the Coen Brothers oeuvre, a recumbent Statue of Liberty with a deflated Superman and some naked figures descending into darkness. All of this detail displayed using a palette of only three colours.

I have continued to refine my own critical appreciation of film since I reviewed issue one of this magazine, so I was looking for a challenge and I was not disappointed. Notable for me are the articles ‘Not So Super After All’ by James Charisma & Jason Raish, ‘Once Upon A Dream’ by Neil Fox & Ryan Jackson, ‘The Parent Trap’ by Thomas Puhr & Ryan Snook and Jonny Hannah’s ‘Anarchy In The UK: Ealing Comedies’ a combination of energetic print techniques and droll commentary with text as image, or is that image as text?

At 80 pages the magazine has grown, but not through the addition of advertising that plagues many other periodicals. I’ve noticed that the articles advance a more polarized viewpoint that reflects the tensions between the power of old patriarchy and something that appears much freer and progressive on the surface.

The diversity of the source material drawn upon is also something I find to be very positive. Who knew that the real force behind ‘The Man With the Movie Camera’ was a woman? The editorial stance seems less shocking this time and more contemplative, which I think suits this complex theme. I’m glad that the magazine has endured as we are possibly at a crossroads that might do away with the cinema altogether. However, that said I look forward to reading issue six which takes as its theme COURAGE & STRENGTH – something that we all need right now.


12th January 2021
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