Mark Peranson

Cinema Scope Magazine 92: Editor’s Note

we shouldn’t forget the reasons why we all got into this job in the first place, which is the promotion of film as an art form. The impact that festivals have on general art-house distribution should not be overlooked; of course, as touched on above, sometimes it’s the distributor who decides to skip festival screenings for certain films, because everyone has their reasons.
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TIFF 2022 | Pacifiction (Albert Serra, France/Spain/Germany/Portugal) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson Published in Cinema Scope #91 (Summer 2022) The prototypical wild-card Cannes Competition selection—albeit one with a French star, almost entirely in French (with a smattering of Portuguese and English), and kind of “about” French colonialism and politics, in a satisfyingly murky kind of way—Pacifiction landed as a life-saving UFO to reveal much…
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The Natives Are Restless: Cannes’ Diamond Jubilee and Albert Serra’s “Pacifiction”

By Mark Peranson The 75th anniversary celebration of Cannes was very much a “celebration of cinema,” a my-God-it’s-full-of-stars-studded affair intended as a show of power that, rightly, would make any other such movie-based event jealous. As witnessed by its anniversary trailer, which added (seemingly via Photoshop) the names of Cannes-branded auteurs like Federico Fellini, Xavier…
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CS91 Editor’s Note

It’s that time again. Over the last two decades in these pages I’ve spent way too much time (at great personal anguish) trying to come to grips with the experience of the Festival de Cannes even if by this point in the history of film journalism, a few weeks after the fact everything anyone could say about Cannes has already been said. But I know that many readers take vicarious pleasure from reading my report, so as long as we keep going, or until Cannes hires me, I guess I’m stuck doing it. 
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CS90 Editor’s Note: Top Ten of ’21

Every single one of the films listed in this year’s top ten premiered at a film festival in 2021, in particular, either Berlin (four), Cannes (both six in Official Selection and two in Quinzaine), or Venice (two). And not only did all the films premiere at festivals, but every single one of them also had a theatrical release in North America (or, in the case of Hong Sangsoo and a few others, will have one in 2022; as typical of recent years, 12 months cannot conceivably contain the Hong output for said year). 
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CS89 Editor’s Note

An editor’s note is a safe space that is wholly devoted to allowing me to write about that which I want, and I did consider coming up with some words on the most impressive moving-image event for me in 2021—which, of course, is Peter Jackson’s jaw-dropping The Beatles: Get Back, the Out 1 of music documentaries (release the 40-hour Jackson cut!).
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Cannes 2021: L’empire contre attack

France this past July, the answer is a resounding “no.” And thankfully it was a sweltering summer, for if an event like the one Cannes mounted was to take place mostly with indoor dining, the film world would see numbers the size of Florida.
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Issue 88 Editor’s Note

After a year’s hiatus from the Croisette, we’re back with our first ever fall issue devoted to Cannes, which took place in July in the middle of a pandemic, in case you forgot. Because it was summer and travel was permitted, I followed the many, many movies I saw at Cannes with a relaxing vacation on a COVID-free, beach-heavy island, where the only film I watched was, appropriately, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old.
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TIFF 2021 | Drive My Car (Hamaguchi Ryusuke, Japan)

By Mark Peranson Published in Cinema Scope #88 (Fall 2021) Throughout his filmography, tracing back to Happy Hour (2015), Ryusuke Hamaguchi has been intrigued by the place of women in Japanese society: their awareness of how they are supposed to behave and how they either choose to live by the rules or break out on…
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Editor’s Note: Cinema Scope Issue 87

Perhaps it’s premature to proclaim “Cinema is back!” to quote a certain French festival director, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it never went away. Even though theatres are only now reopening in many countries (at the time of writing indoor cinemas remain closed in Toronto, unfortunately), I dare say that over the past year we were all exposed to more moving images (and alcohol) on a regular basis than at any other moment in human history…some of it, yes, not exactly cinema as we are used to defining it.
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Editor’s Note: Cinema Scope Magazine Issue 86

Is pandemic cinema a trend? Sure, because it ain’t a genre, and, one day—like a miracle—it will disappear. Pandemic cinema is appealing because anything can be pandemic cinema, and indeed everything now is. We can turn anything into PC because that’s what we desire, thanks in no small part to a culture that has fully accepted conspiratorial thinking. In this issue, though, there are films covered that one can point to as expressing something that hits on the contemporary condition and sticks—films that are mainly interior (people trapped in enclosed spaces, people’s lives subjected to strict regulation, both of which apply to the latest from the Zürcher brothers, The Girl and the Spider), or exterior (people expressing our collective will to be free of said enclosed spaces or ideologies and roam free, as in Dominik Graf’s Fabian), or both (Denis Côté’s Hygiène sociale, the ur-pandemic text, a term I use just to raise the hackles of its author).
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Editor’s Note Cinema Scope Magazine Issue 85

The idea of a festival as a firewall seems to be stating the obvious, but 2020 has answered the question: what if you throw a film festival and nobody shows up?
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The Act of Living: Gianfranco Rosi on Notturno

“The night scares me so much,” confesses a courageous Yazidi pre-teen girl to a therapist, remembering the period when she and her younger sister were captured by ISIS. Anyone who was seen crying would be killed, they were told; it turned out to be a vacant threat, but the sisters were still beaten, and now they are attempting to exorcise their memories by drawing pictures of them. Does it help? We never find out.
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Issue 84 Editor’s Note

As this strangest of years plods not-so-merrily along, so as well do we, much lighter in the pocketbook but with all the resilience of an army of Mulans. (I think that metaphor makes sense, as I cannot currently afford to pay $30 to see a Disney film on Disney+ on my Apple computer).
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TIFF 2020: Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi, Italy/France/Germany)

By Mark Peranson Published in Cinema Scope #84 (Fall 2020)  “The night scares me so much,” confesses a courageous Yazidi pre-teen girl to a therapist, remembering the period when she and her younger sister were captured by ISIS. Anyone who was seen crying would be killed, they were told; it turned out to be a…
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The Land Demands Your Effort: C.W Winter (and Anders Edström) on The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

Though the process of watching the onset of life’s end yields gut-wrenching moments, some recorded, some reconstructed, it makes little sense to extract one scene from the whole picture, as the film’s ultimate strength lies in its refusal to privilege, well, anything: an image of a tree means as much as a visit to an onsen, three people walking in the dark, a farmer hoeing her land, or a black screen with no image at all, only an intricately composed soundscape (as the quote introducing the film reads, “Until the moment you are dead you can still hear”). Make no mistake: though mortality is front and centre, this is a salute to the possibilities provided by cinema, a celebration of life.
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Cinema Scope 83: Editors Note

When the history of 2020 is written, if we make it that far, the disruption of the usual mechanisms of exhibition, production, and distribution of cinema will (rightly) appear as a footnote, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are more important crises to manage, but here’s not the place to deal with them in any satisfying way. If the last issue appeared just as COVID-19 was locking us all indoors, this one is born as people are emerging onto the streets, not to head back to normalcy, but to express anger.
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Cinema Scope 82: Editor’s Note — Best of the Decade

And so goes the decade, and perhaps all of humanity as we know it—it was fun while it lasted. As a supplement to the Top Ten lists published here, which semi-scientifically summarize the privately expressed preferences of our regular contributors, I decided to do something a little different to glance back at the past ten years. By the time of publication you can find numerous examples of excellent writing on all of the films in our decade-end list, both in previous issues of Cinema Scope and also in other publications, in print and online, on the occasion of revisiting the past ten bountiful years in cinema.
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Cinema Scope 81: Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson Let’s call this one “Notes Towards an Editor’s Note.” I know that some of you think I’m funny like a clown and I’m here to amuse you, so I hate to disappoint those fair readers looking for the usual belly laugh or two in this quarterly missive. But to be totally honest…
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Cinema Scope 80: Editor’s Note

Having been in Locarno at the premiere of Vitalina Varela, I can testify that every single one of the 3,000 people who remained in the Fevi for the duration of the film were overwhelmed by the power Costa’s vision, and leapt to their collective feet in standing ovation as the credits rolled. That’s just as believable a scenario as, say, a cadre of radical critics and programmers imposing their beliefs on a bunch of uneducated suckers by sheer will, which is essentially what the Variety argument implies—a bunch of suckers, mind you, that includes a jury of rather experienced filmmakers, watchers, and actors, all of whom as far as I can tell are sentient beings with brain stems unconnected to the cinephile Matrix.
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The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania/France/Germany) — Masters

By Mark Peranson An entertaining film-festival outlier, Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Whistlers seemed to have been punished at Cannes for being a change of form for Porumboiu: it’s a rollicking film that, on its surface, doesn’t appear to fit into any dominant narrative, whether we are talking the historical development of the Romanian New Wave or…
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Issue 79 Editor’s Note

Excuse me if I come across as discombobulated, it’s not because of any movie I’ve watched recently. No, I’m talking about far more important things than cinema: this issue is in the process of being closed while deep in the throes of Raptors mania, to be precise, the incredible goings-on of Game 4.
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Issue 78 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2018 1. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo) 2. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard) 3. La Flor (Mariano Llinás) 4. Transit (Christian Petzold) 5. What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini) 6. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan) 7. Happy as…
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Issue 77 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson  And now, a few thoughts on the occasion of attending the revitalized Marrakesh International Film Festival and the industry Atlas Workshops on African and Middle Eastern cinema that, you might be surprised to learn, was sponsored by none other than Netflix. Soon after arriving in Morocco I had the occasion to attend…
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Issue 76 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson.  The night that Mariano Llinás arrived in Locarno, I ran into him drinking with his producer Laura Citarella and a few friends, occupying a few tables in a streetside café. Soon after I joined them, I asked Llinás the most pressing question in my mind about his 14-hour La Flor: “What’s the…
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What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini, Italy/US/France) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson Judging from the early reviews of What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, which spurred me to write these fast and loose impressions, Roberto Minervini seems to have painted himself into multiple monochrome corners—a white Italian man (albeit one who lives in Texas) making a film named after a spiritual…
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Walking on Water (Andrey Paounov, Italy/US) — TIFF Docs

By Mark Peranson In June 2016 on Lake Iseo in Italy, the Bulgarian-born artist Christo at last realized The Floating Piers, an orange-coloured, three-kilometre walkway on top of the lake that allowed people the experience of metaphorically becoming Jesus. The rollicking documentary Walking on Water takes us through the process of the execution of The…
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RAY & LIZ (Richard Billingham, UK) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson In Richard Billingham’s stellar debut feature RAY & LIZ, the Turner Prize-nominated photographer draws on his childhood to vividly recreate the actions and sensations of dysfunctional life on the margins of Birmingham in Thatcher-era Britain. Ray and Liz are Billingham’s parents, the subjects of the series of photographs Ray’s a Laugh, which…
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Cannes 2018: The Debussy Cramp

By Mark Peranson Like all Cannes film festivals, the 71st began brightly for this correspondent with the highest of hopes and expectations—and by that of course I am referring to Paulo Branco’s lawsuit against the Festival de Cannes to block the closing-night screening of Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Say what you…
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I Like America and America Likes Me: An Interview with Lars von Trier

By Mark Peranson Cinema Scope: One of the biggest stories in Cannes this year is your physical return and the controversy that is associated with it, but, call me crazy, I want to talk about the film that you made, which is about a serial killer. Last time out, in Nymphomaniac (2013), you made a…
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Issue 75 Editor’s Note

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…
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Issue 74 Editors Note: The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2017

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2017 1. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch) 2. Western (Valeska Grisebach) 3. Zama (Lucrecia Martel) 4. On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sangsoo) 5. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson) 6. Good Time (Josh & Benny Safdie) 7. Streetscapes [Dialogue] (Heinz Emigholz) 8. Jeannette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc…
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CS73 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson It’s true that the bulk of the films that are covered in any particular issue of this magazine first show publically at film festivals, and, in many cases, only show at festivals. Thus, once again in this last issue of the year, we present a small selection of reviews from films that…
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CS72 Editors Note

By Mark Peranson As the world continues to implode at an alarming pace, for what it’s worth we still have cinema and, at this time of year, film festivals to distract us from whatever puerile nonsense is being tweet-stormed on any given morning. A fair number of articles in Issue 72 (and others from recent…
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Redoubtable (Michel Hazanavicius, France) — Special Presentations

By Mark Peranson Which film was the worst at Cannes this year? It’s hard to know where to begin analyzing that rogues’ gallery and the lousy awards bestowed on them, but on behalf of cinephiles everywhere I feel the need to say something brief and to the point about Michel Hackavanicius: can Netflix pay this…
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Cocote (Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias, Dominican Republic/Argentina/ Germany/Qatar) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson Rare is the feature film from the Dominican Republic, for sure, but even rarer is a film like Cocote. Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias’ fascinating opus, made under the dual sign of Glauber Rocha and Roberto Bolaño, begins in Santo Domingo, where Alberto works as a private gardener. Alberto learns his…
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Cannes at 70: Bad Times, Good Time

By Mark Peranson To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Cannes aggressively, yet clumsily, inserted itself into all kinds of contemporary debates over that age-old question: What is Cinema? The first answer to this question: the cinema is Cannes. On the organizational side, this was evident in the reworking of the festival trailer that runs prior to…
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CS71 Editors Note

By Mark Peranson Listen guys, I’m as tired of writing about Cannes as you are reading me on it, but c’est la guerre. Some people have it in their heads that I’m entering this annual game primed for self-one-upmanship, but that’s not the case; if anything, I usually set the bar too high. This year,…
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Cinema Scope 70 Editor’s Note: Top Ten of 2016

Once more by popular demand (and against my better wishes), the Cinema Scope writers and editors have spoken, and, as predicted—no fix was in, I swear—here we go on record with the year’s top ten, a.k.a. Toni and the Gang.
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Cinema Scope 69 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson We interrupt our regularly scheduled depressed editor’s note to instead speak from a place of anger-tinged despondency. Usually at this late point in the editorial schedule I’m wracking my brain to think of something interesting to say, and would likely complain about the lack of interest in the unprecedented reviews of 190+…
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Cinema Scope 68 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson While wracking my brain about how to fill this space, I came across two realizations, one perhaps more obvious than the other, which I will explicate briefly below. This is a good year for debut films. Bulgarian director Ralitza Petrova’s Godless was the somewhat surprising winner of the Golden Leopard in Locarno.…
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Blind Sun (Joyce A. Nashawati, France/Greece) — Vanguard

By Mark Peranson In a festival with almost as many world premieres as Canadian Tim Hortons franchises, Joyce A. Nashawati’s debut feature Blind Sun is an anomaly in that it premiered all the way back in Thessaloniki last November (and played numerous semi-illustrious international and fantasy festivals since). So, then, is this a special case,…
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I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, UK/France/Belgium) — Special Presentations

By Mark Peranson Not that anyone cares at this point, but this year’s Palme d’Or went to probably the best film of Cannes’ sorry lot of award winners—and when we’re talking about Ken Loach, you know that lot is pretty sorry. The first questioner at the jury press conference hit the nail on the head…
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The Ornithologist (João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France/ Brazil) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson In Trás-os-Montes, the majestic part of northeastern Portugal where António Reis used to make movies, solitary ornithologist Fernando (the body of Jason Statham lookalike Paul Hamy, the voice of director João Pedro Rodrigues) kayaks along a river peering through his binoculars in search of rare birds, especially the endangered black stork. Distracted,…
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Hermia & Helena (Matias Piñeiro, Argentina/US) — Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson In Matias Piñeiro’s most surprising and breezy “Shakespearette” to date, he circles the Bard’s work via the issue of translation, an idea mapped onto the project in its entirety: the comedy Hermia & Helena (the title comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) is Piñeiro’s first film shot overseas, a large percentage in…
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Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, Germany) — Special Presentations

From Cinema Scope #67 (Summer 2016) A Battle of Humour: Maren Ade on Toni Erdmann By Mark Peranson Of all the notable omissions in the Cannes awards this year, zilch for Maren’s Ade’s third feature Toni Erdmann stands out as the most egregious in the 15 years I’ve been attending the festival. To nobody’s surprise,…
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A Battle of Humour: Maren Ade on Toni Erdmann

By Mark Peranson Cinema Scope: Everyone Else premiered in Berlin in 2009, and now seven years later your third film is finally receiving its debut in Cannes. What took so long? Maren Ade: Directly after Everyone Else, I started working as a producer. I have a company called Komplitzen Film with Janine Jackowski and Jonas…
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Cannes 2016: Gentlemen, We’ll Do Better Next Time

By Mark Peranson “Messieurs, nous ferons mieux la prochaine fois.”—Fagon, Le mort de Louis XIV The already established conventional wisdom is that 2016 saw a strong Cannes Competition ruined by a set of awful awards from a dunderheaded jury of circus clowns led by third-time’s-a-charm George Miller—and while I certainly agree with the latter contention,…
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Issue 67 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson Forestalling the inevitable but for a paragraph, one development that might strike some regular readers as being unique to this issue is a detour into the world of television criticism. But let me say that a kind of a mini TV focus that appears here is mainly a factor of coincidence—both in…
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Editor’s Note: The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2015

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2015 1. Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 2. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes) 3. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) 4. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson) 5. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo) 6. Visit, or Memories and Confessions (Manoel de Oliveira) 7. Lost and Beautiful (Pietro Marcello) 8.…
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Issue 65 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson Not to toot one’s own horn, but merely to point out a fact that might have flashed by or eluded many: again this year over at www.cinema-scope.com (where, truth be told, you are likely reading this), we endeavoured to provide, at great effort and comparatively large expense, a wide-ranging survey of the…
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Issue 64 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson Let us pause a brief moment to consider and celebrate the career accomplishments of one Hong Sangsoo, on the long overdue occasion of his winning a main prize at a major international film festival. Is the Golden Leopard-winning Right Now, Wrong Then a masterpiece? The best film in the Locarno competition?  Is…
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TIFF 2015 | Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, Canada)—Wavelengths

By Mark Peranson Wherein Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson give Paul Gross’ wannabe populist war epic Hyena Road a right and proper cuadecuc-ing. Who would have thought Pere Portabella’s legendary experiment shot on the set of Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970) would inspire not one, but two films at this year’s TIFF—well, three,…
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TIFF 2015 | Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke, China)—Masters

By Mark Peranson At the start of JZ’s new joint, following the forest-green Chinese Film Bureau censorship logo and toot-tooting fanfare comes the admonition to “Go West” from the Pet Shop Boys, in good old 1.33. I doubt the Boys ever though they’d be addressing the Chinese masses yearning to break free, together, of the…
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TIFF 2015 | The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson, Canada)—Wavelengths

Lost in the Funhouse: A Conversation with Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson on The Forbidden Room and Other Stories By Mark Peranson Originally published in Cinema Scope 63 (Summer 2015). Like being sloppily slapped by a wet salmon to the point of submission, such is the impact of Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s inventive, audacious,…
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TIFF 2015 | Te Prometo Anarquía (Julio Hernández Cordón, Mexico/Germany)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Mark Peranson Ciudad de México. Skateboarding compadres and casual lovers, Miguel and Johnny have known each other since they were kids—Johnny’s mother, Brenda, is still the maid for Miguel’s well-off family. The two kids spend most of their wasted days skating through the streets of the city, along the overpasses and through the markets…
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TIFF 2015 | Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/ France/ Germany/ Switzerland)—Wavelengths

Cock and Bull Stories: Miguel Gomes on Arabian Nights By Mark Peranson Originally published in Cinema Scope 63 (Summer 2015). Cinema Scope: Miguel Gomes, you need no introduction to the readers of this magazine. Here you are back in Cannes with a three-part, six-hour epic inspired by the Arabian Nights. There’s general consensus among critics…
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Cock and Bull Stories: Miguel Gomes on Arabian Nights

By Mark Peranson Cinema Scope: Miguel Gomes, you need no introduction to the readers of this magazine. Here you are back in Cannes with a three-part, six-hour epic inspired by the Arabian Nights. There’s general consensus among critics that it’s one of the best things here, but some people seem concerned that in today’s distribution…
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Cannes 2015:  My God, It’s Full of Stars!

By Mark Peranson Well, at least the weather was good. Every year another leak threatens to spring in the dam, but the Festival de Cannes is not going to die a death of a thousand, or even a million, cracks. I started to vomit up the Kool-Aid at least a decade ago, and harbour no…
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Issue 63 Editor’s Note

Let me begin with a series of overdue apologies, because film critics never apologize, and we all know they make mistakes on a regular basis. First, I apologize for the late arrival of this magazine, especially to our valued overseas supporters—but I’m not in charge of Canada Post, yet, so the blame really lies elsewhere.…
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Lost in the Funhouse: A Conversation with Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson on The Forbidden Room and Other Stories

By Mark Peranson Like being sloppily slapped by a wet salmon to the point of submission, such is the impact of Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s inventive, audacious, and outright hilarious tour de force whatzit. Sure to ride roughshod over numerous territories following its premieres in Sundance and the Berlinale Forum, The Forbidden Room takes…
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Issue 62 Editor’s Note: Top Ten of 2014

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2014 1. Horse Money (Pedro Costa) 2. Adieu au langage (Jean-Luc Godard) 3. P’tit Quinquin (Bruno Dumont) 4. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso) 5. Phoenix (Christian Petzold) 6. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson) 7. The Kindergarten Teacher (Nadav Lapid) 8. Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa) 9. Journey to the West…
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Issue 61 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson It’s taken an abnormally long while for me to find the will to pound out the missive this time around, due to something like a combination of mounting exhaustion and world-weariness. Let me try and explain. Living in what is clearly a golden age of popular-culture availability, with far too much available…
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Issue 60 Editor’s Note

As we put Issue 60 of this magazine to bed, where, as a matter of fact I am now typing—like Proust, I like to write in bed and muse about better times—Twitter informs me that most of the people I follow will be off to the Toronto International Film Festival, and are preparing their schedules…
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TIFF 2014 | Phoenix (Christian Petzold, Germany) — Special Presentations

By Mark Peranson In a loose adaptation of Hubert Monteilhet’s 1961 novel Le Retour des cendres, Berlin School stalwart Christian Petzold has decided to move further back in history, leaving East Germany behind (a fine decision as far as I’m concerned) for Germany 1945, and asking what it takes to rise from the ashes in…
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TIFF 2014 | Kabukicho Love Hotel (Hiroki Ryuichi, Japan) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Mark Peranson Not-so-fun times abound in this love hotel over the course of 24 hours. A sad-sack manager, who aspires to something more than cleaning up used tissue paper and stained sheets in his black Adidas jumpsuit, is the victim of a perfect storm of sexual embarrassment: his girlfriend shows up to sleep with…
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L’avventura: Pedro Costa on Horse Money

By Mark Peranson I walked with a zombie I walked with a zombie I walked with a zombie Last night   Horse Money, the first new “fiction” feature from Pedro Costa in almost a decade, begins with a silent montage of poignant photographs from the Danish-born Jacob Riis of New York tenement dwellers in the…
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Cannes 2014: Who Let the Dogs Out? 

...another Cannes film festival whose lineup reads like it could have been cobbled together by a computer programmed with Frémaux DNA...
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Issue 59 Editor’s Note

Another year, another two weeks wasted on the Riviera, but at least I got a tan. By now there’s no need to dwell on my feelings about the Festival de Cannes—any regular reader of this esteemed magazine knows them well enough. Yet despite my annual fear of repetition—and by this point there’s little I can…
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Issue 58 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2013 1. L’inconnu du lac (Alain Guiraudie) 2. Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz) 3. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke) 4. What Now? Remind Me (Joaquim Pinto) 5. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zürcher) 6. Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang) 7. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel…
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Issue 57 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson I haven’t had much time or energy to watch many films since late August, having been preoccupied with other fruitless, time-consuming endeavours, fending off vicious personal attacks, and moving around far too much. (Here’s a secret: after more than a decade of gallivanting, film festivals mostly suck.) So a thousand pardons if…
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TIFF 2013 | When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Mark Peranson As celluloid threatens to go the way of the dodo, a number of filmmakers have been impelled to make work that takes the disappearance of 35mm head on, arguing for what will be lost when the world has gone digital. Comprised of 17 shots, none longer than the 11 minutes of a…
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The Beauty of Horror and the Horror of Beauty: An Encounter with Albert Serra

By Mark Peranson “It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.”—Salvador Dalí, Diary of a Genius (1964) Cinema Scope: Let me repeat what I wrote about your film, namely that for me Story…
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TIFF 2013 | João Pedro Rodrigues & Alain Guiraudie on Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France)

From Cinema Scope #55, Summer 2013 Sex, Death, and Geometry: A Conversation Between Alain Guiraudie and João Pedro Rodrigues on L’inconnu du lac There’s not much physical intercourse (a mere two hardcore sexual acts) in Alain Guiraudie’s L’inconnu du lac, but, still for, say, 80 percent of the film his camera looks at (but doesn’t…
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Cinema Scope 55 Editor’s Note

Through the muddy fog of mental and physical exhaustion, Issue 55 of Cinema Scope is brought into the world, and my weary womb bears multiple scars. This number holds a special place in my heart as I was born at 5:55 in the afternoon (55 was my high-school basketball number), and I was up until…
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Cannes 2013 | Lovers in a Dangerous Time: La vie d’Adèle—chapitre 1 & 2, Inside Llewyn Davis, L’inconnu du lac

By Mark Peranson Yeah, you’re thinking to yourself, where does our correspondent go now? Will he make an at-long-last about-face and christen the S.S. Frémaux with a bottle of Dom Perignon, to celebrate, after 13 years of puddling about in the shallow waters off the Côte d’Azur, its maiden voyage into the high seas of…
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Cinema Scope 54 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson First of all, apologies for the quality of this issue, and this editor’s note in general. I take full blame when things go wrong at Cinema Scope headquarters, which for the better part of six weeks has been in hotel and conference rooms in Rotterdam, Berlin, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Austin, oh,…
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Cinema Scope 53 Editor’s Note

By the time you read this, the world will likely have ended. It’s unfortunate that the end of the Mayan long count (or b’ak’tun) will fall on December 21, because if it were to have fallen, say, on November 21, I could have avoided having to write this Editor’ Note, or indeed, editing the magazine…
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CS52 Editor’s Note

As far as I’ve been able to tell—from having had the misfortune to watch some or all of close to a thousand films so far this year—the quality of product available to festivals in 2012 is inferior to 2011. But that doesn’t excuse some of the stinkers that are making their way over to North…
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CS51 Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note Back to business as usual, which means being crabby about Cannes and printing long articles about filmmakers nobody has heard of. We’ll get to Cannes later on, with pieces dispersed throughout Issue 51 and also resting in the typical centre-square spotlight. For now I would rather devote my allotted space to some observations…
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Cannes 2012: The Forecast Calls for Pain

By Mark Peranson This year’s 65th anniversary Festival de Cannes provided the only logical answer to one of the persistent questions in any veteran journalist’s go-to kit: How can Cannes get any worse? Festival-wise, we have a rough idea of what we’re in for under the decade-long reign of Thierry Frémaux: a parade of (mainly)…
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Film Criticism After Film Criticism: The J. Hoberman Affair

By Mark Peranson In a subconscious sense, the impassioned cris de coeur that rippled through the internet following the shocking, but not surprising, dismissal of J. Hoberman from his position as senior film critic for the Village Voice on January 4, 2012, are evidence of an anxiety that springs from the changing nature of the…
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Festivals | Berlin: A Few Crazy Thoughts on Tabu

By Mark Peranson “The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”—A.F. Bell, Portugal (1912), by…
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CS50 Editor’s Note

A crisis in film criticism does not exist, as film criticism has never been in such a vibrant, healthy state, and should really be reconfigured as a crisis signalling the end of modern media (e.g., the newspaper, the alt-weekly). When Cinema Scope was founded 13 years ago, the need for a printed fulcrum around which…
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CS 49 Editor’s Note

To combat the onset of seasonal affective disorder, in between editing articles and tearing out my hair I like to pre-hibernate and play critic as opposed to programmer, by watching all of the Hollywood releases that I’ve missed over the past year. I try to legitimize this stupefying act with the words “for your consideration,”…
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CS 48 Editor’s Note

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.…
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Crazy Horse (Frederick Wiseman, France/US)

By Mark Peranson Over the last decade, I’ve realized that Frederick Wiseman devotees are incapable of critical thinking when it comes to their master. They fail to see (or refuse to acknowledge) that in composing his career-long grand narrative analysis, Wiseman sometimes loses sight of the particularities of the institution under observation; at times, he’s…
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Cannes 2011 | This Is Not a Film Festival

By Mark Peranson Cannes, France, Planet Melancholia—“We have a saying in Iran,” said Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, referring to the impetus for his not-a-film made with banned director Jafar Panahi, “that when hairdressers get bored they cut each others’ hair. That is what we were doing: filming one another.” My friends, yet again you are about to…
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CS46 Editor’s Note

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2010 1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 2. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu (Andrei Ujica) 3. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz) 4. Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard) 5. Winter Vacation (Li Hongqi) 6. The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira) 7. I Wish I…
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Berlin 2011 | Not Political Cinema: Ulrich Köhler’s Sleeping Sickness

By Mark Peranson The gleeful bloodsport of Berlinale-trashing by journalists has reached the point where it’s hard not to defend the honour of the weary, bloated festival—complaining about the quality of the Competition is like beating a dead bear, or, in the case of this year’s runner-up, flogging a dying horse. So, for the seasoned…
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Berlinale 2011: Twenty Questions for James Benning on Twenty Cigarettes

By Mark Peranson 1. When was the first time you smoked a cigarette? I was about eight years old. My parents weren’t at home. I lit up one of my father’s Camels using the kitchen stove and burnt my eyebrows. 2. When was the last time you smoked a cigarette? I never smoked again. My…
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Beyond the Fringe

Officials struggling to identify chemicals that forced evacuation VANCOUVER SUN—September 20, 2010 Health, fire and Vancouver city officials admitted Monday they are struggling to identify the chemicals emitting from the crippled Electra tower that forced the evacuation of the entire 21-storey building. As a result, it could be days before residents and businesses will be…
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Columns | CS45 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson In previous missives from this MacBook, I’ve expressed the belief that the less writing about film there is in the world, the better. Such an attitude can be mistaken for a kind of cynicism, making this magazine, consequently, a kind of personal fiefdom. So because I have nothing else to do, it’s…
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Spotlight | El Sicario Room 164 (Gianfranco Rosi, France/US)

By Mark Peranson The contemporary rebirth of the documentary is surely a reaction to the failure of the media to engage in proper investigative journalism (WikiLeaks aside). But most of these newly celebrated works—far too obsessed with content over form—fail to distinguish themselves aesthetically from the television they seek to one-up. The point at which…
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Columns | Editor’s Note 44

I’m usually hard on myself, but I’m pleased to say that this issue is pretty solid, which is even more surprising to me when I realize that there are so many interviews and articles in here on Canadian film—and one piece on a somewhat controversial film made by a Canadian that doesn’t qualify, for bureaucratic…
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Spotlight | Ghost in the Machine: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Letter to Cinema

By Mark Peranson and Kong Rithdee CINEMA SCOPE: Let’s begin by contextualizing Uncle Boonmee within the multi-platform Primitive project. The project seemed to be moving you in a more explicitly political direction. Even if in Uncle Boonmee, one can—and I do—argue that the politics is always there in the background, that the communists are always…
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Columns | Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note Oh, the burdens of following up “Stupid, Adjective….” Once again, the time has come for me to admit that “summarizing” Cannes is a bit of a pointless task at this time of year, when I’d be rather watching soccer than thinking about what went on a few weeks ago in that dinky fishing…
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Spotlight | Cannes 2010: The Year We Made Contact

By Mark Peranson As violent 30–foot waves were crashing along the shores of Nice and Cannes, destroying fancy beach-side restaurants and flooding the streets, the Icelandic volcano continued to spew airplane-averting ash into the lower atmosphere, wind gusts blowing the cloud closer and closer towards southwestern Europe; this oddsmaker listed Eyjafjallajokull as the early favourite…
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Columns | Editors Note: Cinema Scope Top Ten Films of 2009

Cinema Scope Top Ten Films of 2009 1. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu) 2. Everyone Else (Maren Ade) 3. To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues) 4. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino) 5. Sweetgrass (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash) 6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson) 7. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine) 8. Alamar (Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio) 9. Vincere…
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