*The Land of the Unknown: Roberto Minervini on What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? By Jordan Cronk. “Poetry floats up in my memory like sailboats in the fog”:Alexei German’s Khrustalyov, My Car! By Daniel Witkin. With Forever Presence: Jonathan Schwartz (1973-2018). By Max Goldberg. *Soft and Hard: Claire Denis on High Life. By Adam Nayman.
Hurricane season in Toronto means the rush is on to cram in as many films as possible in a four-week period, the build-up to the cinematic smorgasbord that is the Toronto International Film Festival. One such period over a decade ago saw the founding of this magazine, with an issue devoted solely to previewing TIFF. It still gives me nightmarish flashbacks, and with the tight deadlines required for presenting a package like that, we’a.ve opted for more modest festival previews in the fall issues since. This one’s no exception, with the print issue of Cinema Scope 48 featuring reviews and interviews for films that aren’t exclusively showing at TIFF, but also premiering at Venice, New York, Vancouver, and many other stops on the road to being downloaded in pirated fan-subtitled versions.
But in the interim, something else was invented: the internet. Okay, not literally, but rather the acceptance of the internet as a vehicle for the prompt and cheap delivery of film reviews, a development that many claim represents a death blow to Film Criticism As We Know It. But why can’t we all get along? For this year’s TIFF—hopefully some of you already realize this before reading the next sentence—we decided to throw together a balls-to-the-wall, old-school style, anti-celebrity film-festival preview package at Cinema Scope Online. This is yet another labour-intensive endeavour done with none-to-little preparation and just as much of a budget, i.e., in the true spirit of the internet. As I type with fingers crossed, I think it might turn out to be the best festival package in the Toronto-based media, not only because the word Oscar goes unmentioned. (I don’t think there’s a film in TIFF this year directed by someone named Oscar.) If you’re reading this online, just click on over, even if it’s after the festival. If you’re reading it in print, why the hell did you buy a magazine? You can get half of it for free online!
To my mind, we’ve done such a good job the last few issues covering the important films to date—including the highlights on our mini-TIFF-website focus—that I’m changing up my yearly ritual a bit. Instead of recommending films that we haven’t previously covered in the magazine, here are ten films I’m looking forward to seeing. This also allows me the opportunity to reveal that, yes, I don’t get to preview everything before the rest of you, and sometimes I do other things than watching films: namely, writing emails to people about them. Look for me slumped in the audience, brain dead and half-asleep.
4:44 Last Day on Earth (Abel Ferrara)
Almayer’s Folly (Chantal Akerman)
Alps (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Century of Birthing (Lav Diaz)
Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies)
Un été brûlant (Philippe Garrel)
God Bless America (Bobcat Goldthwait)
Killer Joe (William Friedkin)
Stateless Things (Kim Kyungmook)
Twixt (Francis Ford Coppola)
Next year: ten films I have no desire to ever see in my life. This issue is dedicated to Raúl Ruiz, seen in the picture above on the set of the great Mysteries of Lisbon (2010).