Samuel La France

The Limits of Control: Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel’s Caniba

By Samuel La France / December 19, 2017

By Samuel La France “The person we love we dream only of eating. That is, we slide down that razor’s edge of ambivalence.”—Hélène Cixous, Love of the wolf To begin with a spoiler, Caniba concludes with a miracle—or at least this is how the film’s subject, the infamous Japanese cannibal Sagawa Issei, describes the sudden…

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Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece)

By Samuel La France / December 21, 2015

By Samuel La France It’s an irony surely not lost on Athina Rachel Tsangari that her Chevalier won the “Best Film” prize at the London Film Festival, considering that its story is built upon an obsessive quest to attain an even greater superlative. But even though the film finds six mostly well-off, middle-aged-and-up males pursuing…

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Canadiana | Put the Mask on Now!

By Samuel La France / September 25, 2015

By Samuel La France When it premiered in North American cinemas in 1961, Julian Roffman’s The Mask—released in the USA as Eyes of Hell, and returning to theatres this fall in a new digital restoration produced by TIFF and the 3-D Film Archive—was accompanied by a publicity campaign that touted the film’s cinematic “innovations” with…

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TIFF 2015 | Cinema Scope 64 Preview | The Mask (Eyes of Hell) (Julian Roffman, Canada)—TIFF Cinematheque

By Samuel La France / September 9, 2015

Put the Mask on Now! By Samuel La France Originally published in Cinema Scope 64 (Fall 2015). When it premiered in North American cinemas in 1961, Julian Roffman’s The Mask—released in the USA as Eyes of Hell, and returning to theatres this fall in a new digital restoration produced by TIFF and the 3-D Film…

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Joyce Wieland: Word of Mouth

By Samuel La France / June 23, 2015

By Samuel La France On the closing night of this year’s Images Festival, sisters Velvet and Lady Nite (collectively, 10,000 Horses) took the stage at St. Anne’s Parish Hall to score a trio of Joyce Wieland films with their “electro torch” compositions. The duo’s synths and ukulele transformed the soundtracks for Water Sark (1965) and…

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White God (Kornél Mundruczó, Hungary/Germany/Sweden) 

By Samuel La France / March 26, 2015

By Samuel La France Given its spoiler-heavy advertising and the considerable word of mouth following its screenings at Cannes and Sundance and numerous festivals in between, few will see Kornél Mundruczó’s White God without advance knowledge of its climactic set piece of hundreds of dogs running riot through the streets of Budapest. It’s hardly surprising…

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Deborah Stratman: Safe and Sound

By Samuel La France / June 25, 2014

By Samuel La France “Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.”—Samuel Butler Since I’ve never lived in an earthquake zone—or a war zone, for that matter—the subtle and persistent tremors of Deborah Stratman’s installation Tactical Uses of a Belief in the Unseen (2), mounted at Toronto’s Mercer Union during the 25th Images Festival,…

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TIFF 2013 Postscript | Wavelengths 2: Now & Then

By Samuel La France / September 20, 2013

By Samuel La France “There is no post-production in my work,” claims Helga Fanderl in an expository video posted on her website. Fanderl’s statement reinforces the spontaneity and immediacy of her shooting methods, the results marked by an explicit sensitivity toward the objects, gestures and spaces that she films. And while it’s true that her…

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TIFF 2013 | Wavelengths 1: Variations On…

By Samuel La France / September 11, 2013

By Samuel La France There was deception aplenty in the first of four Wavelengths shorts programmes at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Entitled Variations On…, the programme foregrounded the formal repetitions and deviations pervading each of its five works, the title’s ellipsis suggesting that the audience’s requisite curiosity be matched by an equally imperative…

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TIFF Day 8: Wavelengths 3: I am micro

By Samuel La France / September 13, 2012

By Samuel La France I am micro (Shumona Goel, Shai Heredia, India) Class Picture (Tito & Tito, The Philippines) Francesca Woodman: Selected Video Works (Francesca Woodman, USA, 1975-78) Ich auch, auch, ich auch (Friedl vom Gröller, Austria) Waiting Room (Vincent Grenier, USA/Canada) The Transit of Venus I and II (Nicky Hamlyn, UK, 2004-5/2012) August and…

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