Letter from the Editors: Goodbye, 2021

To the
Bright Wall/Dark Room community,

Around this time of year we usually like to send out some reflections on the year that was, and some hopes for the year to come. Last year, we were ready to leave 2020 in our dust, and we expressed a cautious optimism about what 2021 had in store. 

How’d that work out for us?

As it turned out, 2021 seemed like a series of false rock-bottoms (oops, all rock bottoms!). But this year also brought us a lot of joy, some of it from the art we turn to when we need to give shape to all this mess, but just as much from the writers who blessed Bright Wall/Dark Room with their talents, and the readers who give that talent a purpose. Any time 2021 seemed like too much to bear, we could remember there was an essay on The Royal Tenenbaums or Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Klute or Batman Returns, or something else just as surprisingly perfect just around the corner. The thrill of preparing and sharing those essays became an anchor for our staff, and we can’t thank you enough for supporting another year of the sort of writing you won’t get anywhere else.

We used the word “community” above, and we used it deliberately. The goal has always been for Bright Wall/Dark Room to be a space, not just a site—a place to gather and discuss, debate, and celebrate this art we all hold so dear. Once upon a time, we dreamed of recreating the feeling we used to find at the video store, but after the past two years, we’re longing for any sense of community at all, and it’s never felt harder to find. 

So that’s our New Year’s Resolution: in 2022, you’ll see new efforts to connect with our readers, and connect our readers with one another. No matter what else the year brings, whatever chaos and calamity the universe might have in store, you can count on 12 months of eclectic considerations of movies, TV, and what it means to be a person living on a (potentially cursed) planet. We couldn’t do it without your care and support, and so, once more for auld lang syne: thank you, and happy New Year.

– The Bright Wall/Dark Room editorial staff

PS: We made you an end-of-year playlist, featuring some of the best music used onscreen in 2021, to tide you over until our January issue—The Best of 2021—kicks off next week!