Cinema Scope 81 Table of Contents

By Cinema Scope / December 29, 2019

Interviews Anything Is Possible: Josh and Benny Safdie on Uncut Gems by Adam Nayman A Concept of Reality: Sergei Loznitsa’s State Funeral by Daniel Kasman Fairytales and Freudian Females: A Conversation with Jessica Hausner by Jordan Cronk Features They Are All Equal Now: The Irishman’s Epic of Sadness by Robert Koehler I Shall Be Released: Amazing…

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Anything Is Possible: Josh and Benny Safdie on Uncut Gems

By Adam Nayman / December 29, 2019

At this point, the Safdies are young masters of their own aesthetic, which was in formation at the time of Daddy Longlegs but felt more fully realized in Heaven Knows What:a roving, probing, pulsating audiovisual weave that doesn’t so much privilege pace over clarity as locate one in the other. Their movies can be exhausting, enervating, and even annoying (and Sandler, to his credit, achieves genuine annoyance in many passages here), but they’re never confusing, and the lucidity of their storytelling—which never wavers even when their characters have no earthly idea what they’re doing—has become one of contemporary American cinema’s true and distinctive marvels.

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They Are All Equal Now: The Irishman’s Epic of Sadness

By Robert Koehler / December 29, 2019

Since cinema is moving toward television, and since the MCU generation is trying to actually tussle with a good fella like Martin Scorsese, and since all of this is wrapped around a cultural moment steeped in glorious contradictions, the timing of The Irishman couldn’t be more perfect.

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Far from Paradise: Nina Menkes’ Queen of Diamonds

By Erika Balsom / December 29, 2019

By Erika Balsom Diamonds are sharp and hard, rich in myth and violence, soaked in desire, totally under the putrid spell of money. They are, in other words, a lot like Las Vegas—especially as it appears in Nina Menkes’ searing 1991 film Queen of Diamonds. Across 75 taut minutes, Sin City’s fabulous hedonism recedes from…

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Garden Against the Machine: Ja’Tovia Gary’s The Giverny Document

By Michael Sicinski / December 29, 2019

By Michael Sicinski Ja’Tovia Gary’s filmmaking is all to some extent grappling with the question of identity, particularly its precariousness in an often hostile world. Early films such as Cakes Da Killa: No Homo (2013) and An Ecstatic Experience (2015) explore the complex histories of African-American life, in particular the role of art and storytelling…

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Collective (Alexander Nanau, Romania/Luxembourg)

By Jay Kuehner / December 29, 2019

By Jay Kuehner As the opening credits of Alexander Nanau’s Collective rolled at a screening at TIFF, a fellow critic leaned to me and whispered, in a mantra-like tone, the name of an indelible Chinese documentary: Karamay. The implied message was tacitly understood: that Xu Xin’s colossal 2010 work on the aftermath of the eponymous…

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Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Frank Beauvais, France)

By James Lattimer / December 29, 2019

By James Lattimer For a film that reveals its formal conceit from the outset and never deviates, Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle is remarkably complicated. Frank Beauvais’ first feature-length work opens with a simple intertitle, stating that he watched over 400 films between April and October 2016 and that the footage to be…

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The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, Canada)

By Josh Cabrita / December 29, 2019

By Josh Cabrita William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth and longest-serving prime minister, is an emblem of our nation’s repressed, ineffectual masculinity. A staunch centrist and bureaucrat, Mackenzie King accomplished little during his 22 years in office: his main contributions were his ability to win elections despite his apparent lack of charisma, and his power…

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Cinema Scope 81: Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 29, 2019

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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Global Discoveries on DVD: Women, Men, Progressive and “Progressive” Thinking

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 29, 2019

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Some of Roman Polanski’s early features—Repulsion (1965), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and Tess (1979)—are centred on vulnerable women, but as Bitter Moon (1992) makes abundantly clear, these are all films predicated on the male gaze, as are the more recent and more impersonal films of his that come closest to qualifying as Oscar…

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Exploded View | Peter Emanuel Goldman’s Pestilent City

By Chuck Stephens / December 29, 2019

By Chuck Stephens Structurally ambiguous and romantically rancid, Peter Emanuel Goldman’s 1965 Pestilent City is a 15-minute, high-contrast black-and-white New York City scherzo of sleaze, dereliction, working stiffs, stumblebums, loitering, malingering, playing, and passing out, filmed in Times Square and along the Deuce during the area’s deleterious decline, halfway between Sweet Smell of Success (1957)…

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Jojo Rabbit (Taika Watiti, US)

By Angelo Muredda / December 28, 2019

By Angelo Muredda “Don’t get into the Nazi stuff,” Taika Waititi’s deadbeat dad tells his son, the eponymous protagonist of the New Zealand-born actor-writer-director’s sophomore feature Boy (2010), gesturing to a swastika he once carved into the wall of his childhood bedroom, the remnant of a reformed punk’s youthful exploits. Hindsight being 20/20, it’s almost…

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Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Céline Sciamma, France)

By Chloe Lizotte / December 28, 2019

By Chloe Lizotte The very title of Portrait de la jeune fille en feu seeks to pin down the unpinnable: to fix a flame in place. Céline Sciamma’s 18th-century romance centres on the innate slipperiness of condensing someone’s presence into oil on canvas, a process in which the act of rendering becomes an intimate exchange…

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Invisible Life (Karim Aïnouz, Brazil)

By Katherine Connell / December 28, 2019

By Katherine Connell Chronicling the life of the legendary Rio de Janeiro drag performer, hustler, and street fighter, Madame Satã (2002) announced Karim Aïnouz as a filmmaker attuned to the conceptual richness and subversive potential found within liminal spaces: individuals who fluctuate between seemingly fixed identity categories, and whose fullness of life outside the social…

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