Currency | I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhangke. China)

By Tony Rayns / September 21, 2010

By Tony Rayns Full disclosure: I did the English subtitles for Jia Zhangke’s new film, and may yet get paid for doing them. I wasn’t in Cannes for the international premiere, but a magazine editor of my acquaintance tells me that “some smart people” who saw it there “think it’s just a by-the-numbers commission piece.”…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Assorted Lessons from the Past and Present

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 21, 2010

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. A Confession Since retiring from my job as a weekly reviewer in early 2008, I’ve been discovering that I usually prefer watching mediocre films of the past (chiefly from the ‘30s through the ‘70s) to watching mediocre films of the present—unlike some of my former readers, who assume that I’ve stopped…

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Festivals | One Man’s Century: Peter von Bagh’s Sodankylä Forever

By Olaf Moller / September 21, 2010

By Olaf Möller The Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä is something of a legend: everybody has heard about it, but who has actually made the trip to Finland’s farthest north? Besides, the stories one hears—the program, the presence of many an old master over the decades, the drinking and general sense of camaraderie, the…

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Columns | Editor’s Note 44

By Mark Peranson / September 21, 2010

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 | Foreign Parts (Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki, US)

By Robert Koehler / September 21, 2010

By Robert Koehler The street—if the patch of 39th Avenue in the Willets Point section of New York’s Queens borough can be termed a street at all—looks stomped on by some giant, angry beast. When the rains come, the street, lined with junkyards, auto-repair shops, auto-body shops, and auto-parts shops turns into a flood zone,…

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Spotlight | Robinson in Ruins (Patrick Keiller, UK)

By Michael Sicinski / September 21, 2010

By Michael Sicinski Robinson in Ruins, the latest essay film/experimental landscape study/cinematic state-of-the-union address from the great British avant-gardist Patrick Keiller, is many things. It’s the conclusion to a trilogy that even most hardcore cinephiles may not have known was in progress. It’s the articulation of a failed politics of “dwelling” and landscape use in…

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Spotlight | Oki’s Movie (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)

By Andrew Tracy / September 21, 2010

By Andrew Tracy Much of the best cinema today almost seems discontent with the idea of being only cinema—or “cinema” in the sense of an immersive narrative world contained within the durational boundaries of a single feature film. The distrust of classical narrative evidenced by many of the best contemporary filmmakers corresponds with their efforts…

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Spotlight | Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, US)

By Scott Foundas / September 21, 2010

By Scott Foundas We’re all just playing our parts now. This was written long before we got here. —dialogue from Meek’s Cutoff “A road movie without the road” reads, in part, the tagline to Kelly Reichardt’s debut feature, River of Grass (1994), a screwball neo-Breathless about a bored housewife and a hapless momma’s boy on…

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Features | Cast Glances: Thomas Comerford’s The Indian Boundary Line and the Contemporary Landscape Film

By Tom McCormack / September 21, 2010

By Tom McCormack Although he has been making a name for himself as a director of exquisitely quiet, meditative avant-garde films since 1997, Thomas Comerford has remained a relatively unsung figure on the experimental scene, partly because he often prefers to bypass film festivals and instead organize DIY tours to various microcinemas around the US.…

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Features | Unchained Melodies: The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector and It Felt Like a Kiss

By Thom Andersen / September 21, 2010

By Thom Andersen “Is it dumb enough?” Phil Spector asked Sonny Bono as they listened to a playback of “Da Doo Ron Ron” one day in March 1963. In other words, is this record something you can understand in a flash but listen to forever? Is it both art and kitsch? It’s a profound question,…

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Interviews | You Only Live Twice: Scaling Menahem Golan’s Heights

By Christoph Huber / September 21, 2010

By Christoph Huber “All created things are mutable, and thus they have the potentiality either to improve or to turn toward evil.”—John of Damascus (opening quote of The Versace Murder, 1998) Certainly the world would be much poorer without Menahem Golan. Especially the world of film. How to do justice to a man whose office…

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Interviews | The Antisocial Network: Daniel Cockburn’s You Are Here

By Adam Nayman / September 21, 2010

By Adam Nayman It’s appropriate that Toronto video artist Daniel Cockburn’s feature debut premiered in Locarno in the Filmmakers of the Present competition. More than any other film I saw at the festival, You Are Here represents an attempt to wrestle with the present tense. Which is not to say that Cockburn’s “meta-detective story” is…

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Interviews | I Think We’re Alone Now: Denis Côté Splits the House in Curling

By Jason Anderson / September 21, 2010

By Jason Anderson Parka-wearing specks in a quintessentially Canadian landscape, a father and daughter hike through blowing snow along the side of a rural highway. A police car stops and an officer asks them why they’re not driving, a reasonable question given the harshness of the weather. (His other questions are less reasonable, prefiguring the…

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