By Mark Peranson.
1. Pacifiction (Albert Serra)
2. De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor)
3. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)
4. Unrest (Cyril Schäublin)
5. The Novelist’s Film (Hong Sangsoo)
6. Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
7. Showing Up (Kelly Reichardt)
8. EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)
9. Queens of the Qing Dynasty (Ashley McKenzie)
10. The Plains (David Easteal)
Special mentions: Aftersun (Charlotte Wells), All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras), Mutzenbacher (Ruth Beckermann), Tár (Todd Field), Walk Up (Hong Sangsoo)
To begin with, an update on the current situation of things, which hasn’t changed substantially since the last editor’s note. But as I write this in between minor mental breakdowns, you’ve caught me in a calmer state of mind, which should not be mistaken for a lack of desperation. Quite frankly, as at the time of writing this issue is nowhere near complete, I don’t know why this is. Maybe I gave it my all the last time around. Perhaps it’s looking at the eclectic list of the films above, which reminds me that in 2023 we are at a point where cinema is truly all over the place, that gives me some hope—that memorable films can come from infinite places outside of a green-screen Hollywood studio lot, be it Cape Breton, the Swiss Jura mountains, Bora Bora, the inside of an car on an Australian highway, the inside of the body, or the inside of the body in the future. And the films featured in this issue—even if a fair number of them hail from less exotic locales, like Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and Waterloo, Ontario—are just as inspiring.
But action needs to be taken to keep this magazine going, at least in the interim. The first step involves raising both the cover price and the subscription price, which is something that, quite frankly, we should have done more than a decade ago. Even if the new and improved price still strikes me as an unparalleled deal in this industry, based on the material that we provide and what it costs to produce, print, and distribute it, I’m sorry if this strikes some long-term subscribers as a deal-breaker. I also hope this does not discourage new cinephiles from coming on board, because, once again, we are not just doing this for ourselves—so, if you do subscribe, please continue with spreading the word, gifting subscriptions, or purchasing back issues.
After last issue’s editorial truth bomb hit the web, I was truly gratified to see a strong uptake in new subscribers—which is certainly one of the reasons why you’re seeing this issue published—but we are still nowhere near the break-even point. I am doing my best to avoid asking our readers to give more to support the magazine in terms of something like crowd-funding, though, barring some kind of deus ex machina, I think this is an inevitability if we want to reach a financial state that is manageable. We will continue to try and attract more corporate interest in terms of advertising—no millionaire donors have come a-knocking, unfortunately, but that door, as always, remains open. I would like to leave you, though, with the honest realization that this hobby is in no way open-ended for me, especially as the hobby long ago reached the point of being labour—and I’m not interested in exploiting anyone’s labour.
Albert Serra’s Pacifiction, Crimes of the Future, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Top Ten Films 2022