Cinema Scope Online

This is a regularly updated web supplement to the print version of Cinema Scope. In the magazine, we have a limited amount of space to pack the world of Cinema As We Know It in. So, for example, while we might cover the major premiere festivals in print, in the updates you’ll find more festival reports, as well as articles on retrospectives and the like taking place in our immediate and general global jurisdiction.

This is a Canadian film magazine based in Toronto, and that’s an important part of the mandate.

 

TIFF 2021 | Farha (Darin J. Sallam, Jordan/Sweden/Saudi Arabia)

By Gabrielle Marceau Farha opens with a familiar story: a young Palestinian girl, nearing womanhood, who is trying to determine the course of her life beyond the confines of tradition. Farha (Karam Taher) wants to go to school, but her father wants her to marry and stay in their village. This family conflict is interrupted…
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TIFF 2021 | The Wheel (Steve Pink, USA)

By Adam Nayman From the director of both Hot Tub Time Machine movies (there was a sequel, remember) comes a probing, emotional relationship drama. “What if it doesn’t work?” asks Albee (Amber Midthunder) about the step-by-step, relationship-saving experiment proposed by her husband Walker (Taylor Gray), and the only thing really pressurizing the 83 more or…
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TIFF 2021 | Drunken Birds (Ivan Grbovic, Canada)

By Angelo Muredda With Jean-Marc Vallée tied up in American television and Denis Villeneuve bound for Arrakis, Canada’s response to the tangled international melodramas of Alejandro González Iñárritu seemingly falls to Ivan Grbovic. Grbovic follows up his understated character study Roméo Onze with the curiously schematic Drunken Birds, which marks a step up in scale…
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TIFF 2021 | Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Denmark)

By Robert Koehler Jonas Poher Rasmussen, the Danish co-writer and director of Flee, met an Afghan refugee in high school. He’s maintained a friendship with him ever since, but realized at some point that he didn’t really know him. Rasmussen’s heartfelt yet gimmicky attempt at understanding him better isn’t as failed as the 20-year US…
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TIFF 2021 | Dune (Denis Villeneuve, US/Hungary)

By Meg Shields In retrospect, Denis Villeneuve’s career has always been hurtling toward Dune, given its fateful melange of unadaptable sci-fi (Arrival), closely guarded cult objects (Blade Runner 2049), and morally fraught political sandstorms (Sicario). Adapting the first half of Frank Herbert’s monumental sci-fi novel, Dune begins with an uneasy exchange of power: the transfer…
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TIFF 2021 | Earwig (Lucile Hadžihalilović, UK/France/Belgium)

By Madeleine Wall In a large, gloomy house somewhere in Europe, sometime after a war, Albert (a brittle Paul Hilton) lives in isolation with his charge, ten-year-old Mia (Romane Hemelaers). Mia does not speak, and Albert’s main communication with the outside world is from sporadic telephone calls, asking about the state of his ward. Mia…
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TIFF 2021 | Lingui, the Sacred Bonds (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad/France/Germany/Belgium)

By Jordan Cronk Another fine if unremarkable film in a career defined by them, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Lingui, the Sacred Bonds features all the hallmarks that have made the Chadian director a mainstay of the modern festival circuit: competent craftsmanship, topical subject matter, and geographic backdrops just unique enough to lend an air of urgency to…
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TIFF 2021 | Whether the Weather is Fine (Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines/France/Singapore/ Indonesia/Germany/Qatar)

By Robert Koehler In early November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the eastern Filipino island of Leyte with wind speeds as high as 195mph—the second-highest ever recorded in the Western Pacific. Haiyan killed over 6,300 and flattened most of Tacloban City, the hometown of filmmaker Carlo Francisco Manatad. In his feature debut, Manatad has reconceived the…
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TIFF 2021 | To Kill the Beast (Agustina San Martín, Argentina/Brazil/Chile)

By Katherine Connell The moon floats against a sky so overcast that it’s impossible to determine whether the hour is night or day—a suitably disorienting opener for Agustina San Martín’s surreal To Kill the Beast. In an area surrounded by rainforest bordering Brazil and Argentina, 17-year-old Emilia (Tamara Rocca) shows up at a hostel owned…
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TIFF 2021 | Mlungu Wam (Jenna Cato Bass, South Africa)

By Angleo Muredda “I think she’s been working for too long now,” a man deadpans about his bone-tired mother Mavis (Nosipho Mtebe) late in Jenna Cato Bass’s absorbing thriller Mlungu Wam, an allegory about how the white supremacist violence of apartheid-era South Africa reverberates into the future as demons for the children and grandchildren of…
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TIFF 2021 | Ahed’s Knee (Nadav Lapid, France/Israel/Germany)

By James Lattimer Published in Cinema Scope #88 (Fall 2021) Nadav Lapid continues to take a scalpel to contemporary Israel in Ahed’s Knee, although this particular dissection might leave a bigger scar. The Kindergarten Teacher (2014) and Synonyms (2019) already flirted with autobiography, but his fourth feature pushes forward into full autofiction, sending a director…
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TIFF 2021 | Ste. Anne (Rhayne Vermette, Canada)

By James Lattimer Published in Cinema Scope #86 (Spring 2021) When navigating the as-yet-unknown films of a festival program, nationality still provides a persuasive point of reference for some, a feeling underlined by the proud declarations issued by national funding organizations, promotional bodies, or particularly partisan members of the press once titles have been announced.…
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