By Mark Peranson
Published in Cinema Scope #96 (Fall 2023)
First, another clarification for those who might have missed the nuance, or are not as inside baseball as I am: in the last issue the “open letter” from “Lisandro Alonso” to a certain French film festival director was obviously a ChatGPT joke—and as far as I am concerned, a pretty good one. This was solely my invention and I promise I will never do it again, although as far as you know this editor’s note is itself a product of artificial intelligence, and we have already crossed over into the Singularity. I for one welcome our new overlords, and envision a future where film criticism will be written by actual robots, and will be less annoying than most of what I’m reading now.
Those of you who have stuck with me in this space over the past year(s)—and I thank you for your patience—hopefully know that I have attempted to find a way to keep publishing this magazine in a way that involves less overall stress to myself personally and financial loss (also to myself personally). Summer has been a time of reflection, endless work, and recurring headaches, and I have reached the conclusion that I am 99 percent sure that this will be the penultimate issue of this magazine with the current publishing schedule of four issues per year. Ultimately, it’s about more than the money: it has just become too much for me under the organizational structure that currently exists to keep doing this, and while there might have been a time where things could have been fixed, I’m afraid the Rubicon has been crossed. I never really wanted to be a publisher, and I’m pretty bad at it to be honest.
As of writing I don’t yet have a plan as to how to continue, whether it involves giving up completely, publishing fewer issues, updating the website on a semi-regular basis, merely reconvening each year for our continually expanding TIFF online coverage…though any such evolution, be it to the Cloud of otherwise, also involves a financial commitment that might be more than it’s worth (or simply beyond what I am willing to invest). I’m withholding any final reflections until we make it to the winter, at which point I will try my best to provide more news. Anyhow, it’s not the end of the world.
For now, there is literally still an issue at hand, one which features long interviews with two filmmakers of varying statures who have made two of the must-see films of the season. Both recently premiered in Locarno’s International Competition and will be making their way around the festivals this Fall for sure, starting in Toronto and New York and eventually arriving in a cinema at least a driving distance near you. As a matter of fact, I asked Radu Jude, a man of great imagination, to design the cover of this issue, with the only caveat that he could not just hand in a piece of paper that says “Fuck Putin.” In other words, I wasn’t expecting too much. Radu claims he tried screwing around a bit on his iPhone but didn’t like anything that came out of the process, and emailed a still frame from Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World that worked for all of us, because who doesn’t like black-and-white shots of people driving. If he had bailed, my back-up plan was to ask Teddy Williams to come up with something, and I’m sure he could have thrown a cover together overnight. But if you’ve seen the unreadable post-poster for the Boccalino d’oro winner The Human Surge 3 (and if you haven’t, please do google it), you might understand why I’m happy that Radu came through. If I had the money, you’d be getting two different covers—this did cross my mind, and it would have been epic—but, again, those are the musings of a publisher who has no idea what he’s doing.