Issue 97 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson

I feel like I’ve explained enough in this space over the last year, so that announcing this is the final issue of Cinema Scope is in no way surprising. But let me reiterate that the time has long passed to envision a way of making this magazine sustainable financially without begging for money, or sustainable emotionally without driving me to a premature death; if anything, I should have pulled the plug in 2020, so consider the last few issues as gravy.

The irony is that I have no other choice to end this at the time when I also am soon-to-be unemployed at the behest of the German so-called Minister of Culture and her new liege, which frees up a lot of my time. But as I don’t want to spent the rest of my days in debtor’s prison, my decision is final. (This also allows me to get the fuck out of the business entirely, and don’t think that isn’t an option.) Whether or not we will be able to sustain a website and what might go on there is a question that has to be put off for a few months, but there will be no more print issues of Cinema Scope in this form, with me at the helm. I apologize to anyone who is disappointed, and I, too, am disappointed, but I have no more energy left to fight after almost 25 years of volunteer work.

Even with a few months’ notice, nothing was planned to make this issue any kind of requiem, because frankly I did not have the time, nor the inclination. (I considered contacting other editors of printed film magazines to amass a kind of reflection on the necessity of this medium but, yeah, no time.) I’m perfectly happy going out with a normal issue, and don’t desire any kind of meaningless fuss. Though I guess it is true that there are a few interesting articles that speak to films and filmmakers important to me over the past few decades, or things that this magazine can get away with because I’m accountable to no one.

Starting with the cover, which has been kindly provided by Guy Maddin for some Canadian content, a farewell kiss to the government funders who supported us for all these years. Then there is a piece on two films by Alex Ross Perry that have not screened, nor do I know when they will (we would have liked to show Pavements in Berlin, but that proved impossible). Watching Videoheaven made me think of Los Angeles Plays Itself, and I hadn’t reached out to Thom Andersen for a few years and regretted it—this led to the chapter from Thom’s long-awaited (at least by me) Los Angeles book. Before that there’s a long interview on exergue – on documenta 14, the second-longest film ever made, and one of the best films of 2024, which also has yet to screen publicly (but will do so in Berlin). And, as foreshadowed, you are going to have to suffer through an analysis of Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick, but at least it’s done by drunk Austrians. 

Besides these exceptions, I have approached this issue in the same way as every other one, which is to ask writers what they want to write about and dash off an editor’s note in five minutes. For almost a hundred issues this has been the modus operandi, as to do something valuable in this field one needs creative freedom—whether we’re talking about making films or writing about them. I have learned this through my experience as a writer, but also from a few filmmakers, to whom I owe just as much in terms of inspiration, encouragement, or support as I do from film critics.

Ultimately, what makes me saddest about ending this endeavour is the chance that the space will not exist for a certain kind of filmmakers’ work to be treated with the intellect and respect that they deserve in print. Unlike some others, I believe that there are some internet resources which provide this—or anyone is free to create one—and that the end of this magazine does not represent “the end” of anything except killing trees. The (film) world has changed plenty since 1999, and though I’ve done my best to try and change with it, maybe it’s time for different voices to assume positions of authority. As I ride off into the distance, thanks to everyone who worked on this thing, there are too many of you to name. We were all in this adventure together, and you can never quarantine the past.

, Peranson Mark Peranson Mark