*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.
By Mark Peranson
Believe me or don’t, but it wasn’t until we started to lay out this issue maybe a week or so prior to my typing this that I realized, hey, we’ve reached Issue 75, three-quarters of the way to a century. I guess some people might consider 75 to be a kind of milestone, but those would be the type of people who actually enjoy celebrating their own birthdays. Some of my mental haze might have to do with my own busy schedule, or the general routine of ups and downs that continue to be associated with putting one of these motherfuckers to bed—trust me, it isn’t getting any easier, even after what’s now close to 20 years. (Has it really been that long? Maybe avoidance explains my lack of self-awareness. Just acknowledging that timespan makes me nauseous.) Or maybe by this point it’s all running on autopilot, if by that I mean a short-circuited autopilot that has problems swerving when a mountain is in its direct path.
So all of this is a preamble to my apologizing that you will find nothing especially celebratory in the following pages, just another example of an issue of a magazine devoted mainly to contemporary cinema that I don’t think has really changed all that much throughout its history in terms of the types of films that are covered—namely, those films that I and/or our writers find interesting, it’s as simple as that—and the kind and quality of writing that is presented. One could argue this expresses a latent conservatism associated with working in what is clearly a dying medium, and that is likely the case, with laziness being a root cause. But, of course, what does continue to change is our cast of contributors, with new folks joining the rotation on a yearly basis. I’m even willing to bet that the median age of our writers has stayed the same, if not decreased, even as I get older by the minute. We vampires need to suck on fresh blood to keep the heart pumping.
That the 75th issue also coincides with the annual Cannesapalooza, and that the Cannes coverage takes up a large percentage of the pages, kind of makes an editor’s note slightly redundant, as you’ll soon enough find me giving another opinionated four-page broken-record reading of this year’s nefarious Croisette goings-on (spoiler alert: there were films and they were great!). Again, I apologize—so Canadian!—if you experience some feelings of déjà vu, but I’ve tried to be more upbeat this time around; if you read between the lines, you’ll have realized by now that it’s part of a 20-year performance piece. And you will also notice that there are some featured articles about films that premiered in Cannes that are placed outside of the Cannes Spotlight proper, but you shouldn’t worry about that too much, I have my reasons.
I will take this significant anniversary to give thanks, though, to the hard-working Cinema Scope staff (who are far, far too numerous to mention by name in this circumscribed space), and also the federal and provincial governments, for without the generous subsidies available in the great country of Canada, none of this would be possible. I realize it sounds like I’m kidding, but truly this is not a joke, even if our incoming provincial government is. Shoot, I may have just intentionally torpedoed my own efforts, so maybe this is the last issue of Cinema Scope; if so, thanks for all the memories, and I’ll see you on the other side. But it would be nice to make it to at least a hundred, because even though it’s been a full 75 issues, we’ve only just Bi Gan.