Columns

Issue 88 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 20, 2021

After a year’s hiatus from the Croisette, we’re back with our first ever fall issue devoted to Cannes, which took place in July in the middle of a pandemic, in case you forgot. Because it was summer and travel was permitted, I followed the many, many movies I saw at Cannes with a relaxing vacation on a COVID-free, beach-heavy island, where the only film I watched was, appropriately, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old.

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Exploded View | Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen’s Psychomontage No. 1

By Chuck Stephens / June 15, 2021

People get naked, lips are smacked, groping ensues; macroscopic pondlife lick and suck, bomber pilots release their loads. In ten neurotic minutes, the movie climaxes again and again. Come-on, or plain comedy? Evocative of Ovid, or an altogether obvious joke? Take it off! Take it all off! Take my associative montage…please!

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TV or Not TV | Neutrality is Not an Option: Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes

By Robert Koehler / June 15, 2021

In the fourth and final episode of Exterminate All the Brutes, Raoul Peck declares in his commanding voiceover narration, “The very existence of this film is a miracle.” Those are mighty big words for a filmmaker to say about his own work—it’s hard to imagine even the always self-impressed Godard making such a statement—but by the end of Peck’s grand yet accessible essay film, the viewer can’t argue.

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Deaths of Cinema | Monte Hellman: The Art of Going Nowhere

By Haden Guest / June 15, 2021

The late Monte Hellman had a great run in the late ’60s and early ’70s directing an unusual series of low-budget films whose surface resemblance to popular genre pictures belied a smoldering ambition to forge a distinctly American mode of art cinema.

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Editor’s Note: Cinema Scope Issue 87

By Mark Peranson / June 15, 2021

Perhaps it’s premature to proclaim “Cinema is back!” to quote a certain French festival director, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it never went away. Even though theatres are only now reopening in many countries (at the time of writing indoor cinemas remain closed in Toronto, unfortunately), I dare say that over the past year we were all exposed to more moving images (and alcohol) on a regular basis than at any other moment in human history…some of it, yes, not exactly cinema as we are used to defining it.

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TV or Not TV | The Politics of Dancing: Adam Curtis’ Can’t Get You Out of My Head

By Jason Anderson / April 5, 2021

With the arrival of any new Adam Curtis film comes a deluge of coverage, commentaries, analysis, harangues, point-counterpoints, fact checks, further-reading lists, and good old-fashioned snark spread across an ever-expanding plethora of platforms. The resulting cacophony makes one of the fundamental appeals of Curtis’ practice—his seeming ability to wrest a temporary sense of order and coherence from a dense matrix of ideas, factoids, fragments, and audiovisual ephemera from deep within the BBC archive that otherwise threatens to feel as disordered and disorienting as everyday life—seem all the more valuable.

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DVD | Reclaiming the Dream: Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk

By Beatrice Loayza / April 5, 2021

Her reflection comes as a revelation. In the safety of her bedroom, Connie (Laura Dern), the 15-year-old protagonist of Joyce Chopra’s 1985 feature debut Smooth Talk (recently released on a Criterion Blu-ray), adjusts her new halter top in the mirror, its strings crisscrossed down the middle of her chest to hang limp over her exposed midriff. The camera observes her in profile as she spins and arches her back, her gaze glued to the supple body in the reflection, luxuriating in her new possession.

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Editor’s Note: Cinema Scope Magazine Issue 86

By Mark Peranson / March 25, 2021

Is pandemic cinema a trend? Sure, because it ain’t a genre, and, one day—like a miracle—it will disappear. Pandemic cinema is appealing because anything can be pandemic cinema, and indeed everything now is. We can turn anything into PC because that’s what we desire, thanks in no small part to a culture that has fully accepted conspiratorial thinking. In this issue, though, there are films covered that one can point to as expressing something that hits on the contemporary condition and sticks—films that are mainly interior (people trapped in enclosed spaces, people’s lives subjected to strict regulation, both of which apply to the latest from the Zürcher brothers, The Girl and the Spider), or exterior (people expressing our collective will to be free of said enclosed spaces or ideologies and roam free, as in Dominik Graf’s Fabian), or both (Denis Côté’s Hygiène sociale, the ur-pandemic text, a term I use just to raise the hackles of its author).

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Her Socialist Smile (John Gianvito, US)

By Jordan Cronk / December 22, 2020

By Jordan Cronk In a year when even the most perfunctorily political film has been deemed newly relevant, it’s a 58-minute observational documentary from 2007 that, by quietly surveying the United States’ progressive past, points most perceptively to the struggle that has faced the American Left since long before 2020. A history of violence and…

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Editor’s Note Cinema Scope Magazine Issue 85

By Mark Peranson / December 22, 2020

The idea of a festival as a firewall seems to be stating the obvious, but 2020 has answered the question: what if you throw a film festival and nobody shows up?

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Global Discoveries on DVD: The Importance of Not Being an Auteur

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 22, 2020

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Teaching an online course on Agnès Varda at the School of the Art Institute this fall for 39 students has put me in regular touch with Criterion’s superb 15-disc Blu-ray box set The Complete Films of Agnès Varda, every week. The packaging reminds me in some ways of the handsome 78 rpm…

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Exploded View | Michael Snow’s Cover to Cover

By Chuck Stephens / December 22, 2020

By Chuck Stephens When I was young, people spoke of immorality.All the things they said were wrong are what I want to be. Over, under, sideways, down, (Hey!)  I bounce a ball that’s square and round. When will it end? —The Yardbirds, 1966 Scrutable curio and irresistible objet, Michael Snow’s 1975 “artist’s book” Cover to…

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Issue 84 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 22, 2020

As this strangest of years plods not-so-merrily along, so as well do we, much lighter in the pocketbook but with all the resilience of an army of Mulans. (I think that metaphor makes sense, as I cannot currently afford to pay $30 to see a Disney film on Disney+ on my Apple computer).

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Books | Molto Bene: The Life and Deeds of a Selfless Egomaniac

By Celluloid Liberation Front / September 22, 2020

Carmelo Bene always had very little to do with the provincial history of Italian cinema and its self-congratulatory antics. “Culturally I’m not Italian, but Arab,” he told Jean Narboni in an interview for Cahiers du cinéma in 1968, reclaiming his geo-historical lineage while simultaneously denying the existence of a national culture. Born in the “ethnic mayhem” of Otranto—“a most religious bordello, a centre of culture and tolerance to bring together Islamic, Jewish, Turkish, and Catholic confluences”—Bene dedicated his life to the manic deconstruction of any form of identity, including his own.

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Presumptions & Biases

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 22, 2020

We already know from his imaginary conversations with his very own “Orson” in The Eyes of Orson Welles (2019) that the presumptions of Mark Cousins respect no natural boundaries apart from those of his own hubris.

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Exploded View | Artificial Paradise

By Chuck Stephens / September 22, 2020

As I type this, it’s 2:00pm in northeast Los Angeles, middle of the afternoon: the sky is brown with smoke, air conditioners are walking off the job, and last night I could barely breathe. Yesterday, it was 113 degrees in parts of northeast LA; the mountains and forests around us are on fire. “Just another day in paradise,” as the most seasoned Angelenos have become all too accustomed to gritting their smiles and facetiously confessing.

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Cinema Scope 83: Editors Note

By Mark Peranson / June 23, 2020

When the history of 2020 is written, if we make it that far, the disruption of the usual mechanisms of exhibition, production, and distribution of cinema will (rightly) appear as a footnote, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are more important crises to manage, but here’s not the place to deal with them in any satisfying way. If the last issue appeared just as COVID-19 was locking us all indoors, this one is born as people are emerging onto the streets, not to head back to normalcy, but to express anger.

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Film/Art | The People United Will Never Be Defeated: Igor Levit’s Hauskonzerts

By Shelly Kraicer / June 23, 2020

One usually looks to art galleries and film festivals for a sense of what’s on the avant-garde edge of sound-and-image art. For these pandemic-laden months, with galleries and cinemas shuttered, something extraordinary is happening in the most tradition-bound art, Western classical music—or Western art music, as I prefer to call it. It’s not just Levit, though he stands at the head of an astonishingly vital set of online streaming sessions. Events like Bang on a Can Marathon, Music Never Sleeps, and performers as disparate as the Berlin Philharmonic, veteran pianist Angela Hewitt, and young pianist Tiffany Poon are inventing pathways to experience, communally and distanced. All from an art form that has been declared dead long before the “death of cinema” became a thing.

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TV or Not TV | Ozark’s America and the Rise of the Longform

By Robert Koehler / June 23, 2020

By Robert Koehler “Why do I have this feeling that it’d be better off if you were dead?” Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) says this to Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) in their first encounter inside a public-park washroom in Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams’ longform series, Ozark. As one of the notorious Langmores—a clan of (mostly)…

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Exploded View | No President (Jack Smith, 1967-1970)

By Chuck Stephens / June 23, 2020

White faces, black flesh, an enormous tusk, a bug-eyed succubus, holes in the plaster, acrid marihuana, vinyl exotica, a Christmas tree: these are the articles constituted. One nation, overexposed, with feather boas and liberation for all. Metamorphosis: tear gas wafts through the roses. And now here we are again, with the end of the Sixties just another Ludovico loop. But is the underground on top of things? At least, at last, No President (reconstituted by filmmaker Jerry Tartaglia) is on Vimeo. Hail to the grief.

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Cinema Scope 82: Editor’s Note — Best of the Decade

By Mark Peranson / March 20, 2020

And so goes the decade, and perhaps all of humanity as we know it—it was fun while it lasted. As a supplement to the Top Ten lists published here, which semi-scientifically summarize the privately expressed preferences of our regular contributors, I decided to do something a little different to glance back at the past ten years. By the time of publication you can find numerous examples of excellent writing on all of the films in our decade-end list, both in previous issues of Cinema Scope and also in other publications, in print and online, on the occasion of revisiting the past ten bountiful years in cinema.

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Sundance: Power and Fear in Park City

By Robert Koehler / March 20, 2020

Sundance equals power, and for a good reason: get your movie into the lineup, and you have an excellent chance of securing distribution in the US, a better chance by far than at any other festival. This means that it’s the supreme gateway, and despite or because of this fact, Sundance’s audiences are among the most conservative and rearguard in the international festival world.

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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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Silence and Presence: Chantal Akerman’s My Mother Laughs

By Phoebe Chen / September 25, 2019

By Phoebe Chen For certain filmmakers—attractive women—there is a popular kind of on-set photo that telegraphs authority: one eye pressed to the viewfinder of some behemoth camera, she is caught in a contra-glamour shot that codes the pragmatic as cool. Naturally, there is one of Chantal Akerman, taken some time in the late ’70s—shaggy-haired and…

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Cinema Scope 80: Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 23, 2019

Having been in Locarno at the premiere of Vitalina Varela, I can testify that every single one of the 3,000 people who remained in the Fevi for the duration of the film were overwhelmed by the power Costa’s vision, and leapt to their collective feet in standing ovation as the credits rolled. That’s just as believable a scenario as, say, a cadre of radical critics and programmers imposing their beliefs on a bunch of uneducated suckers by sheer will, which is essentially what the Variety argument implies—a bunch of suckers, mind you, that includes a jury of rather experienced filmmakers, watchers, and actors, all of whom as far as I can tell are sentient beings with brain stems unconnected to the cinephile Matrix.

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And That’s Exactly How it Was: The 72nd Locarno Film Festival

By James Lattimer / September 23, 2019

The 72nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival—the first under the artistic direction of Lili Hinstin—was notable for the strength of its documentary offerings, albeit hardly in the conventional sense. Within a solid line-up whose names and general tone didn’t deviate all that much from recent years, the films that stood out most were the ones that tapped into the realm of nonfiction—which isn’t to say they were necessarily documentaries.

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Golden Eighties: J. Hoberman’s Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan

By Adam Nayman / September 23, 2019

The news cycle waits for no one, not even J. Hoberman. Opening up the former Village Voice critic’s new book Make My Day—the conclusion, following The Dream Life and An Army of Phantoms, of his “Found Illusions” trilogy, which traces the intersection of Hollywood fantasies and American political reality in the transformative decades after World War II—on the same day that The Atlantic published an article detailing Ronald Reagan’s appalling comments to Richard Nixon about the members of a Tanzanian delegation to the United Nations in 1971, I couldn’t help but lament the anecdote’s lack of inclusion in Hoberman’s otherwise comprehensively withering mock-hagiography of the 40th Commander in Chief.

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Compulsively Yours (including a few real-life confessions/admissions)

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 23, 2019

Due to my recorded enthusiasm for Maurizio Nichetti’s first slapstick feature, Ratataplan (1979), and his no less loony and hilarious fifth, The Icicle Thief (1989), I was handed a restoration of his equally loony but less hilarious third, Domani si balla! (Tomorrow We Dance, 1983), co-starring Nichetti and Mariangela Melato, on a PAL DVD with optional English subtitles (not always idiomatic or grammatical) released by Collana Forum Italia.

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Issue 79 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 27, 2019

Excuse me if I come across as discombobulated, it’s not because of any movie I’ve watched recently. No, I’m talking about far more important things than cinema: this issue is in the process of being closed while deep in the throes of Raptors mania, to be precise, the incredible goings-on of Game 4.

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Exploded View | Flaubert Dreams of Travel But the Illness of His Mother Prevents It

By Chuck Stephens / June 27, 2019

Undersung filmmaker Ken Kobland’s strange, sumptuous slice of classically minded surrealism, Flaubert Dreams of Travel But the Illness of His Mother Prevents It, created in 1986 in collaboration with The Wooster Group (America’s experimental-theatre ensemble extraordinaire) is, too, a creature born from Flaubert’s polymorphous bestiary.

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Extras and Streaming, Now, Then, and There

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 27, 2019

Readers of Movie Mutations, the 2003 collection I co-edited with Adrian Martin, will know that the Jungian notion of global synchronicity has long been a preoccupation of mine.

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Film/Art | Curses and Blessings: Moving Images at the 58th Venice Biennale

By Erika Balsom / June 27, 2019

By Erika Balsom I wouldn’t wish living in times like these on anyone. This, of course, is the irony of the title of Ralph Rugoff’s exhibition for this year’s Venice Biennale, “May You Live in Interesting Times.” On the surface, the phrase reads as a blessing; actually, it is a curse. Add to this the…

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Film/Art | Manhattan Style: Andy Warhol’s Empire

By Phil Coldiron / March 26, 2019

From A to B and Back Again. Given that “A” is “Andy,” what might count as a suitable “B”? In the context of the book of Warhol’s “philosophy” bearing that subtitle, it was literal: the Factory superstar Brigid Berlin and Interview magazine editor Bob Colacello, the other halves of the conversations which provided much of the book’s raw material.

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Deaths of Cinema | Missives from the End of the World: Jocelyne Saab (1948–2019)

By Celluloid Liberation Front / March 26, 2019

“There is something in borders and frontiers that magnetically draws me to them, while of course the utopia of a world in which these absurd divisions don’t exist is always on my mind,” pondered Jocelyne Saab in one of her last films, Imaginary Postcards (2015).

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Festivals: Rotterdam | Anchors Aweigh: Zhu Shengze’s Present.Perfect.

By Jesse Cumming / March 26, 2019

In 2014, the Chinese government first outlined its plans for a “social credit system,” a massive project that utilizes various data-collection tools to rank the good standing of the country’s citizens, set to be fully implemented by 2020.

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Exploded View: Makino Takashi’s Ghost of OT301 

By Chuck Stephens / March 26, 2019

By Chuck Stephens “Like news reports of wartime Japan, films with stories or a precise structure throw images at an audience with their meanings already intact. Rather than making films with my own imposed structure, my method is to abandon structure altogether or, in other words, layer images that once embodied meaning on top of…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Flukes & Flakes

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 26, 2019

By Jonathan Rosenbaum In retrospect, I’m sure that an important part of what excited me about John Updike’s second novel, Rabbit, Run, when I read it in high school circa 1960, was the fact that it was recounted in the present tense, thus giving it some of the immediacy of a movie—rather like the thrill…

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Issue 78 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / March 26, 2019

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2018 1. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo) 2. Le livre d’image (Jean-Luc Godard) 3. La Flor (Mariano Llinás) 4. Transit (Christian Petzold) 5. What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Roberto Minervini) 6. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi Gan) 7. Happy as…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Some Blessings and Curses of Cinephilia

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / January 2, 2019

By Jonathan Rosenbaum  Since I don’t have much investment in parsing Arnaud Desplechin’s arsenal of “personal” references, I had to look elsewhere for the intermittent pleasures of Ismaël’s Ghosts (2017), available on a two-disc Blu-ray from Arrow Films. I often find myself so hard put to navigate Desplechin’s multiple allusions to and borrowings from Philip…

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Issue 77 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / January 2, 2019

By Mark Peranson  And now, a few thoughts on the occasion of attending the revitalized Marrakesh International Film Festival and the industry Atlas Workshops on African and Middle Eastern cinema that, you might be surprised to learn, was sponsored by none other than Netflix. Soon after arriving in Morocco I had the occasion to attend…

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The Man from Left Field: Burt Reynolds, Neglected Filmmaker

By Christoph Huber / December 21, 2018

By Christoph Huber  “I should have been born a hundred years earlier when not having a style was a style.”—Burt Reynolds in Gator (1976) The passing of Burt Reynolds this September at age 82 from cardiac arrest drew a lot of attention, but once again relegated to a footnote what I consider his most remarkable…

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Against Oblivion: Richard Billingham’s RAY & LIZ and Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi’s I diari di Angela—Noi due cineasti

By Andrea Picard / December 21, 2018

By Andréa Picard  “Right now a moment is fleeting by!”—Paul Cézanne “Memory demands an image.”—Bertrand Russell “I don’t make movies about my life. I live my life like a movie.”—Lana Del Rey How often has a film or artwork been praised for capturing or visually demonstrating the ineffable? But what about the indelible, that which…

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Exploded View: Ken Jacobs’ Nervous Magic Lantern

By Chuck Stephens / December 21, 2018

By Chuck Stephens  Ken Jacobs moves secretively in the half-dark that surrounds his apparatus. (“I’m terrible at keeping secrets,” he later admits to the assembled crowd.) Every ten minutes or so, Flo Jacobs exchanges one of what might be a dozen or so miniature flying saucers with her husband, who feeds the elaborately adorned platters…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Auteurist Updates

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 28, 2018

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Paul Verhoeven gives exceptionally good audio commentary, especially on the Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Spetters (1980), a powerful feature about teenage motocross racers in a small Dutch town that I’ve just seen for the first time. Speaking in English, Verhoeven tells us a good deal about Dutch culture and life at the…

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Issue 76 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 28, 2018

By Mark Peranson.  The night that Mariano Llinás arrived in Locarno, I ran into him drinking with his producer Laura Citarella and a few friends, occupying a few tables in a streetside café. Soon after I joined them, I asked Llinás the most pressing question in my mind about his 14-hour La Flor: “What’s the…

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Deaths of Cinema | The Cracks of the World: Hu Bo (1988-2017)

By Celluloid Liberation Front / September 28, 2018

By Celluloid Liberation Front China’s growing economic clout and rising prominence in world affairs can help illuminate some essential if unflattering traits of the business we call show. Not even a decade ago, any mention of China was usually made in relation to the draconian censorship filmmakers there had to face, often at the expense…

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Exploded View | Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

By Chuck Stephens / September 28, 2018

Though not primarily known as a filmmaker, the great earthworks artist Robert Smithson (1938-1973) had cinematic inclinations, implicit and explicit.

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Deaths of Cinema | Merci pour tout: Pierre Rissient (1936-2018)

By Scott Foundas / July 2, 2018

By Scott Foundas Early in One Night Stand (a.k.a. Alibis), the 1977 feature directing debut of Pierre Rissient, the following dedication appears onscreen: “To Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast, Movie Business Casualty.” A name now all but erased from the cinematic fossil record, d’Arrast was the Argentine-born, French-Basque filmmaker who came to Hollywood at the end of…

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Issue 75 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / July 2, 2018

By Mark Peranson Believe me or don’t, but it wasn’t until we started to lay out this issue maybe a week or so prior to my typing this that I realized, hey, we’ve reached Issue 75, three-quarters of the way to a century. I guess some people might consider 75 to be a kind of…

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Exploded View: Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn’s Whacker

By Chuck Stephens / July 2, 2018

By Chuck Stephens In what follows, I have perhaps too wantonly isolated Whacker (2005) from the rest of the work of California video artists Stanya Kahn and Harry Dodge, former collaborators each with substantial solo careers. Indeed, I’ve left bushels of context aside. Why? Because this column is brief and the sun is going down and there’s…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: First Looks, Second Thoughts

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / July 2, 2018

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. Second Thoughts First In the introduction to my forthcoming collection Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues, I make the argument that although Truffaut’s book-length interview with Hitchcock doesn’t qualify precisely as film criticism, it nonetheless had a decisive critical effect on film taste. By the same token, on Criterion’s very welcome Blu-ray…

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Exploded View: Bruce Conner’s Crossroads

By Chuck Stephens / March 16, 2018

By Chuck Stephens How many names can you call Bruce Conner? Surrealist, beat, prankster, poet, illustrator, assemblagist, filmmaker, punk. Spray-paint anything you like across Conner’s legacy and someone will think it sticks. A few years ago, a big brain from Harvard hilariously decreed this slipperiest of major American filmmakers a “structuralist” (never mind the centrality…

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Canadiana | Hometown Horror: Robin Aubert’s Les affamés

By Lydia Ogwang / March 16, 2018

By Lydia Ogwang It’s an epidemic: the populist appeal of genre cinema is undeniable, even here at home. In a bit of a surprise, Robin Aubert’s Les affamés won Best Canadian Feature at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and then the Temps Ø People’s Choice Award at the Festival du nouveau cinéma in Montréal.…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: A Few Peripheral Matters

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 16, 2018

By Jonathan Rosenbaum. Let me start by paraphrasing and slightly expanding a comment of mine appended to my 2017 ten-best list for DVD Beaver. A major reason for listing Criterion’s Othello first is that it includes the digital premieres of not one, not two, but three Orson Welles features: both of his edits of Othello…

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TV or Not TV | Chronicles of Deaths Forestalled: The Leftovers

By Kate Rennebohm / March 16, 2018

By Kate Rennebohm Televisual and serialized storytelling has long been haunted by a Scheherazadean sense of the relation between storytelling and death. Like that famous narrator’s death-defying fabrications in Arabian Nights, the longer a television show goes on, the more it reminds us that an inevitable end is coming, every new episode only forestalling this…

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Issue 74 Editors Note: The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2017

By Mark Peranson / March 16, 2018

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2017 1. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch) 2. Western (Valeska Grisebach) 3. Zama (Lucrecia Martel) 4. On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sangsoo) 5. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson) 6. Good Time (Josh & Benny Safdie) 7. Streetscapes [Dialogue] (Heinz Emigholz) 8. Jeannette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc…

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Hollywood, Read: Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema

By Sean Rogers / December 19, 2017

By Sean Rogers “I am not trying to make some new meaning from these films; I am striving to bring out the meanings that are there but obscured by the plot lines,” Thom Andersen writes of the method he employed for his film Juke: Passages from the Films of Spencer Williams (2015). Again and again,…

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Exploded View | Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision

By Chuck Stephens / December 19, 2017

By Chuck Stephens “Oh, slow-eyed spectator, this machine is grinding you out of existence.”—Stan Brakhage Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision—first published in 1963 by Jonas Mekas as a fabulously special issue of Film Culture, designed by Fluxus forefather George Maciunas, bound in beautifully corrugated cardboard pierced with an eyehole, beyond whose vellum retina lurked Brakhage’s…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Fantasies and Favourites

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 19, 2017

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Circa 1978, while I was living in a San Diego suburb and teaching a film course, I wrote a letter to Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), who lived in another San Diego suburb, inviting him to come to my class and talk about The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), which he co-wrote…

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CS73 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 19, 2017

By Mark Peranson It’s true that the bulk of the films that are covered in any particular issue of this magazine first show publically at film festivals, and, in many cases, only show at festivals. Thus, once again in this last issue of the year, we present a small selection of reviews from films that…

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Film/Art | Meet the Restacks: Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson on Strangely Ordinary This Devotion

By Michael Sicinski / September 28, 2017

By Michael Sicinski Columbus, Ohio-based artists Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson have embarked on an artistic relationship that is formally and emotionally adjacent to their domestic lives, a quotidian zone they share with their young daughter Rose. Both artists have established careers on their own. Neither Leventhal’s video work (written about with customary perspicacity by…

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CS72 Editors Note

By Mark Peranson / September 28, 2017

By Mark Peranson As the world continues to implode at an alarming pace, for what it’s worth we still have cinema and, at this time of year, film festivals to distract us from whatever puerile nonsense is being tweet-stormed on any given morning. A fair number of articles in Issue 72 (and others from recent…

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A Little Night Music: Twin Peaks: The Return, Part Eight

By Kate Rennebohm / September 28, 2017

By Kate Rennebohm When the eighth part of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return begins, one doesn’t yet know that the episode will take the form of (visual) music. Though it starts straightforwardly enough, Part Eight soon reveals itself to be likely the most formally radical episode of American television ever made,…

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Cannes at 70: Bad Times, Good Time

By Mark Peranson / June 23, 2017

By Mark Peranson To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Cannes aggressively, yet clumsily, inserted itself into all kinds of contemporary debates over that age-old question: What is Cinema? The first answer to this question: the cinema is Cannes. On the organizational side, this was evident in the reworking of the festival trailer that runs prior to…

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The Day After / Claire’s Camera (Hong Sangsoo, South Korea)

By Andrea Picard / June 22, 2017

By Andréa Picard With its wonderful Whitman-inspired title, On the Beach at Night Alone gave us one of the year’s most indelible images, so crushing, mournful, and beautiful in its abandon: Kim Minhee’s character Younghee lying forlorn in the sand on a cold beach. The solemn distress and physical destitution occasioned by Liebeskummer was palpable…

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At the Frontier: Valeska Grisebach on Western

By James Lattimer / June 22, 2017

By James Lattimer Why would anyone claim to be something they’re not? For Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann), the protagonist of German director Valeska Grisebach’s long-anticipated third feature, it’s a way to get himself out of a scrape. Wedged in a car at night with a group of people he can’t understand, Meinhard declares that he was…

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Jeannette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (Bruno Dumont, France)

By Jordan Cronk / June 22, 2017

By Jordan Cronk Pitched somewhere between Straub-Huillet and Headbangers Ball, Monty Python and Messiaen, Bruno Dumont’s new feature Jeannette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc marks an unexpected and near-perfect synthesis of the French iconoclast’s many disparate interests and obsessions. Although by now it’s convenient to read Dumont’s robust corpus through the categorical extremes of his early,…

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CS71 Editors Note

By Mark Peranson / June 22, 2017

By Mark Peranson Listen guys, I’m as tired of writing about Cannes as you are reading me on it, but c’est la guerre. Some people have it in their heads that I’m entering this annual game primed for self-one-upmanship, but that’s not the case; if anything, I usually set the bar too high. This year,…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: A (Mainly) Alphabetical Listing of 24 Items

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 22, 2017

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Blow-Up (Criterion Blu-ray). I’ve always had somewhat mixed feelings about Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1967 Swinging London hit: awe and admiration for his uncanny handling of space, colour, mood, and non-narrative stasis in juxtaposition with his metaphysical detective story, and irritation about the show-offy, fashion-plate ambience that seemed far more responsible for the movie’s…

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Issue 70: Table of Contents

By Cinema Scope / March 24, 2017

This the full table of contents from Cinema Scope Magazine #70. We post selected articles from each issue on the site which you can read for free using the links below. This is only possible with support from our subscribers, so please consider a subscription to the magazine, or  the instant digital download version. 

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Exploded View: Will Hindle’s Billabong

By Chuck Stephens / March 24, 2017

  By Chuck Stephens  Shreveport, Louisiana-born experimental filmmaker Will Hindle (1929–1987) did two tours in the Army during the ’50s, and worked as a cartoonist and editor for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes during both stints. In between those two tours, he worked briefly for Walt Disney Studios, the youngest animator they had on…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Clarifications and Spring Cleaning

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 24, 2017

  By Jonathan Rosenbaum  Probably the most important DVD release of last year, inexplicably overlooked by me when I made out my lists for Sight and Sound and DVD Beaver, is Josef von Sternberg’s The Salvation Hunters (1925) and The Case of Lena Smith (fragment, 1929) on a single all-region disc from www.edition-filmmuseum.com for 19.95…

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Deaths of Cinema | Nothing Will Die: John Hurt, 1940–2017 

By Adam Nayman / March 24, 2017

By Adam Nayman  It’s all in the wrist. Buried beneath layers of latex as John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980), the only part of John Hurt that is visibly untouched by disfiguring makeup is his left arm, which the actor wields with the precision and grace of a sabre. It’s both an…

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Berlin: Bright Nights and Non-Events

By Jordan Cronk / March 24, 2017

Arriving like a breath of fresh air five days into the 67th Berlinale, Thomas Arslan’s Bright Nights salvaged what was by all accounts was another typically lacklustre Competition lineup.

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Sundance (II): A Few Useful Details

By Jay Kuehner / March 24, 2017

By Jay Kuehner  At a Q&A after a well-received screening of Eliza Hittman’s film Beach Rats, which earned her the Directing Award in the US Dramatic competition, the Cal Arts grad spoke of the aesthetic need to “de-emphasize story”—an admission that, in the context of Sundance’s high priority for narrative takeaways, might well have constituted…

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Film/Art | Indeed, We Know: On the Video Art of Elizabeth Price

By Blake Williams / March 24, 2017

By Blake Williams  “All the things she does, written in her diary But when the day is done, she cannot tell the truth” — Talulah Gosh, in “Talulah Gosh” In the pages leading up to Roland Barthes’ generous, accurate, and still vital conception of our relationship to photographic images in Camera Lucida, he devotes a…

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Cinema Scope 70 Editor’s Note: Top Ten of 2016

By Mark Peranson / March 24, 2017

Once more by popular demand (and against my better wishes), the Cinema Scope writers and editors have spoken, and, as predicted—no fix was in, I swear—here we go on record with the year’s top ten, a.k.a. Toni and the Gang.

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Cinema Scope 69 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 19, 2016

By Mark Peranson We interrupt our regularly scheduled depressed editor’s note to instead speak from a place of anger-tinged despondency. Usually at this late point in the editorial schedule I’m wracking my brain to think of something interesting to say, and would likely complain about the lack of interest in the unprecedented reviews of 190+…

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Issue 69: Table of Contents

By Cinema Scope / December 19, 2016

This the full table of contents from Cinema Scope Magazine #69. We post selected articles from each issue on the site which you can read for free using the links below. This is only possible with support from our subscribers, so please consider a subscription to the magazine, or  the instant digital download version. 

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Mostly Items from Overseas

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 19, 2016

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. A package of wonderful releases arrived from Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series in the UK, all of them with exceptional extras. Here are the most exciting of these packages, in alphabetical order: Andre De Toth’s Day of the Outlaw (1959), in dual formats—a masterpiece of disequilibrium and the starkest of black-and-white…

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Film/Art | News from Anywhere, Nowhere, Home: Notes on the BNLMTL

By Andrea Picard / December 19, 2016

“Le Grand Balcon” is the name of the brothel in Jean Genet’s 1957 play Le Balcon, where it serves as a “house of illusions” (as one of the characters calls it) rather than simply a house of pleasure or tolerance.

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Locarno (I): Challenges

By Jay Kuehner / September 26, 2016

By Jay Kuehner With its boldly stylized design, looking otherworldly but extracted from the all-too-real, and replete with excess—not least a purring pet cheetah lounging on ornate carpet and riding in a luxury sports car, and a brotherhood of Muslim bikers astride sparkling choppers—The Challenge could double as a wayward film-festival advert. Yuri Ancarani’s Filmmakers…

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Film/Art | Farewell to Storyville: John Akomfrah’s New Essays

By Phil Coldiron / September 26, 2016

By Phil Coldiron “He began sifting through his store of images for a story to recount to them, shielding this place and its particularities from their imaginations.”—John Keene, Counternarratives “Just because it is possible to invent a narrative excuse for the way something presents itself doesn’t, I think, mean that it is narrative.”—Hollis Frampton Situated…

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What the Water Said: Peter Hutton (1944-2016)

Deaths of Cinema | What the Water Said: Peter Hutton (1944-2016)

By Michael Sicinski / September 26, 2016

By Michael Sicinski In his 1995 interview with Scott MacDonald published in A Critical Cinema 3, Peter Hutton made a general assessment about his films, one that has been quoted quite a bit in the weeks since the filmmaker’s death. Let’s take a moment and consider it: “I’ve never felt that my films are very…

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Cinema Scope 68 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 26, 2016

By Mark Peranson While wracking my brain about how to fill this space, I came across two realizations, one perhaps more obvious than the other, which I will explicate briefly below. This is a good year for debut films. Bulgarian director Ralitza Petrova’s Godless was the somewhat surprising winner of the Golden Leopard in Locarno.…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Awards and Extras

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 25, 2016

By Jonathan Rosenbaum. DVD Awards 2016, Il Cinema Ritrovato Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Lucien Logette, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, and Jonathan Rosenbaum. (Although Mark McElhatten wasn’t able to attend the festival this year, he has continued to function as a very active member of the jury.) BEST SPECIAL FEATURES Coffret Nico Papatakis (France, 1963-92)…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Ways of Seeing

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 27, 2016

By Jonathan Rosenbaum. J.P. Sniadecki’s feature-length The Iron Ministry (2014), available on DVD from Icarus Films, is by far the best non-Chinese documentary I’ve seen about contemporary mainland China. (Just for the record, the best Chinese documentary on the same general subject that I’ve seen is Yu-Shen Su’s far more unorthodox—and woefully still unavailable—Man Made…

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Exploded View: Robert Nelson’s Bleu Shut

By Chuck Stephens / June 27, 2016

By Chuck Stephens “Could be that all those venal mother-fuckers are us…if so let’s go easy on them.” A funk-art, found-footage, intellectual brain-bait stoner comedy, epistemological jape, and audience-pleasing masterpiece of the American experimental cinema made in 1970, Robert Nelson’s Bleu Shut (30 Minutes) is exactly 30 minutes long. Hence the film’s full title, and…

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Before the Swarm:  David Bordwell’s The Rhapsodes: How 1940s Critics Changed American Film Culture

By Andrew Tracy / June 27, 2016

  By Andrew Tracy A friend recently pigeonholed me after he witnessed an onstage film critics panel and demanded I make amends for wasting his time—not because I had in any way obliged him to attend, but simply because I was guilty by association. “What’s the point of critics talking about criticism?” he demanded, which…

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Film/Art – Un-Canny: Bruno Dumont’s Ma Loute and the Creatures of Cannes

By Andrea Picard / June 27, 2016

By Andréa Picard “I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are. For example, if people wish I would sound like I used to sound, then it says more about them than it does me.”—Prince It’s a hit! Released in a whopping 300…

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Issue 67 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 24, 2016

By Mark Peranson Forestalling the inevitable but for a paragraph, one development that might strike some regular readers as being unique to this issue is a detour into the world of television criticism. But let me say that a kind of a mini TV focus that appears here is mainly a factor of coincidence—both in…

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Editor’s Note: The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2015

By Mark Peranson / March 21, 2016

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2015 1. Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 2. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes) 3. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) 4. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson) 5. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo) 6. Visit, or Memories and Confessions (Manoel de Oliveira) 7. Lost and Beautiful (Pietro Marcello) 8.…

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Deaths of Cinema | Metteur en scène: Jacques Rivette, 1928–2016

By Matías Piñeiro / March 21, 2016

By Matías Piñeiro Love’s reach does not to everything extend, for it cannot shake or break the stab of Death. Yet little can Death take if in a loving heart the fear of it subsides. Nor can Death much take at all, for it cannot drive its fear into the heart where Love resides. That…

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A Film/Art Hypothesis: Philippe Parreno at HangarBicocca

By Andrea Picard / March 21, 2016

By Andréa Picard L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961) is an enduring, mesmerizing modernist masterpiece. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this Resnais/Robbe-Grillet collaboration—apart from its dapper design (including trimmed topiary) and Delphine Seyrig’s divinely breathy intonations and Chanel plumage—is its constant creation of spatial and temporal ambiguity, its perverse usurping of causal relationships between events…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Niche Market Refugees

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 21, 2016

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Let me start with a correction and adjustment to the final entry in my last column, furnished by Chris Fujiwara and relating to the appearance of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 131-minute The Honey Pot (1967) on a Kino Lorber Blu-ray: “When I did my stint at the Frieda Grafe favorite films series at…

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Exploded View: Tom Palazzolo’s Love It / Leave It

By Chuck Stephens / March 21, 2016

By Chuck Stephens Tom Palazzolo loves a parade. The tramping of feet, a drum’s martial beat, the waving of flags, the decorative floats, the endless processions of just plain folks—the veteran Chicago filmmaker and teacher’s films have been driven by parade and pageantry and the everyday people his camera has seen and loved for most…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Hosannas and Quibbles

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 21, 2015

By Jonathan Rosenbaum I can easily understand why some of Abel Ferrara’s biggest fans have certain reservations about his Pasolini (2014), available now on a splendid Region 2 Blu-ray from the BFI.  Even if it’s a solid step forward from the stultifying silliness of Welcome to New York (2014), it lacks the crazed, demonic poetry…

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Issue 65 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 21, 2015

By Mark Peranson Not to toot one’s own horn, but merely to point out a fact that might have flashed by or eluded many: again this year over at www.cinema-scope.com (where, truth be told, you are likely reading this), we endeavoured to provide, at great effort and comparatively large expense, a wide-ranging survey of the…

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Deaths of Cinema | La Ressasseuse: Chantal Akerman, 1950–2015

By Kate Rennebohm / December 20, 2015

  By Kate Rennebohm “I was overcome by an emotion I can’t quite define…but it was very, very strong, and had something to do with happiness. [And after seeing more of her work,] there really have been moments during which I felt I had to defend myself against what was being expressed, moments in the…

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Exploded View | Alternative Projections

By Chuck Stephens / September 25, 2015

By Chuck Stephens “In an early, 1960 survey of the then-nascent New American Cinema (NAC) movement, Jonas Mekas warned independent filmmakers of a regionally specific danger faced by artists working on the West Coast: ‘the shadow-killing and all leveling California sun.’…This early critique of Los Angeles cinema elucidates a distinctly heliophobic tendency structuring Mekas’ film…

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Canadiana | Put the Mask on Now!

By Samuel La France / September 25, 2015

By Samuel La France When it premiered in North American cinemas in 1961, Julian Roffman’s The Mask—released in the USA as Eyes of Hell, and returning to theatres this fall in a new digital restoration produced by TIFF and the 3-D Film Archive—was accompanied by a publicity campaign that touted the film’s cinematic “innovations” with…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Mostly About Extras

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 25, 2015

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Practically speaking, we should invent our own extras, not necessarily or invariably depend on those that are made on our behalf. To cite four examples of what I mean: a) According to normal usage, Icarus Film’s DVD of Frédéric Choffat and Vincent Lowy’s 44-minute Marcel Ophüls and Jean-Luc Godard: The Meeting in…

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Issue 64 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 22, 2015

By Mark Peranson Let us pause a brief moment to consider and celebrate the career accomplishments of one Hong Sangsoo, on the long overdue occasion of his winning a main prize at a major international film festival. Is the Golden Leopard-winning Right Now, Wrong Then a masterpiece? The best film in the Locarno competition?  Is…

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Film/Art | We Can’t Go Home Again: Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie

By Andrea Picard / September 22, 2015

By Andréa Picard “It is in a house that one is alone. Not outside of it, but inside. In the park there are birds, cats. Maybe even a squirrel, a ferret. We are not alone in a park. But in the house, we are so alone that we are sometimes lost.”—Marguerite Duras, Écrire Writing about…

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Issue 63 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 23, 2015

Let me begin with a series of overdue apologies, because film critics never apologize, and we all know they make mistakes on a regular basis. First, I apologize for the late arrival of this magazine, especially to our valued overseas supporters—but I’m not in charge of Canada Post, yet, so the blame really lies elsewhere.…

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Canadiana | What Does It All Mean? Canada’s All-Time Top Ten List

By Adam Nayman / June 23, 2015

By Adam Nayman TIFF All-Time Top Ten 1. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2001) 2. Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971) 3. The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan, 1997) 4. Léolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992) 5. Jésus de Montréal (Denys Arcand, 1989) 6. Goin’ Down the Road (Don Shebib, 1970) 7. Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)…

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Film/Art | Oh, Broodthaers, Where Art Thou? 

By Andrea Picard / June 23, 2015

By Andréa Picard “Fiction captures the truth, and at the same time, what it conceals.”—Marcel Broodthaers “All the World’s Futures” is a pretty grim supposition, if not a dismal, somewhat dizzying “iterative choreography,” to quote this year’s Venice Biennale curator Okwui Enwezor. Those futures are in fact meant to be a barometer of the present,…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Then and Now, Hither and Yon

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 23, 2015

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Saddled with its stupidly inappropriate and misleading reissue title Betrayed, William Castle’s justly celebrated Z-budget 1944 thriller When Strangers Marry—shot in seven days for $50,000, and released by Monogram Pictures—has finally become available on DVD in the Warner Archive Collection. And part of its special power is both its similarity to and…

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Exploded View | Gregory Markopoulos

By Chuck Stephens / June 23, 2015

  By Chuck Stephens One of the most extraordinary American experimental filmmakers of the 20th century, Gregory Markopoulos (1928-1992) also remains one of its most elusive. For more than a decade before his death, Markopoulos—who had emigrated to Europe in 1967, withdrawn his films from circulation, and asked that a chapter on his work be…

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Issue 62 Editor’s Note: Top Ten of 2014

By Mark Peranson / March 26, 2015

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2014 1. Horse Money (Pedro Costa) 2. Adieu au langage (Jean-Luc Godard) 3. P’tit Quinquin (Bruno Dumont) 4. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso) 5. Phoenix (Christian Petzold) 6. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson) 7. The Kindergarten Teacher (Nadav Lapid) 8. Maidan (Sergei Loznitsa) 9. Journey to the West…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Missing Directors, Extras, First Looks

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 26, 2015

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Missing Directors 1. I’m one of those people who habitually confuses Daniel Mann (1912-1991) with Delbert Mann (1920-2007) and vice versa, and I suspect that part of my confusion is both historical and generational: neither director receives an entry in Andrew Sarris’ The American Cinema, and considerations of both tend to get…

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Exploded View | Kenneth Anger’s Puce Moment

By Chuck Stephens / March 26, 2015

By Chuck Stephens Puce is the color of a flea, literally. “Pooce” is how Kenneth Anger sometimes pronounces the word puce, a franconym denoting the grayish-purple color that is said to have been Marie Antoinette’s favourite shade. Puce, moreover—et merci Wikipedia—“is said to be the color of the bloodstains remaining on linen or bed sheets,…

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Wild Tales (Damián Szifron, Argentina/Spain) 

By Quintin / March 26, 2015

By Quintín In a way, Wild Tales is an important film: at the time of writing, it’s about to sell its four millionth ticket in Argentina, and has also made the last round of nominations for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, after debuting last year in the Cannes competition. Only one other…

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Issue 61 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 18, 2014

By Mark Peranson It’s taken an abnormally long while for me to find the will to pound out the missive this time around, due to something like a combination of mounting exhaustion and world-weariness. Let me try and explain. Living in what is clearly a golden age of popular-culture availability, with far too much available…

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Film/Art | Carlos Amorales, Roberto Bolaño, and Amorality Within the Avant-Garde

By Andrea Picard / December 18, 2014

  By Andréa Picard “We dreamed of utopia and we woke up screaming.”—Roberto Bolaño, First Infrarealist Manifesto Last year, Vogue Paris published an issue devoted to the “avant-garde,” seemingly another instance of mainstream popular culture co-opting the language and ethos of radical art and politics. At a certain juncture, this would not have seemed so…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Conspicuously Absent or Apt to be Overlooked 

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 18, 2014

By Jonathan Rosenbaum For now the truly shocking thing was the world itself. It was a new world, and he’d just discovered it, just noticed it for the first time.—Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book I: Some Conspicuous Absences As a rule, this column has been preoccupied with what’s available in digital formats, but I’d like…

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Exploded View | The George Kuchar Reader

By Chuck Stephens / December 18, 2014

By Chuck Stephens “I make moving pictures… My dad smoked and didn’t like the movie Ben-Hur because it was lacking in simulated humping sequences. My mom liked Barbara Stanwyck and I don’t think she (Stanwyck) ever simulated humping either. My mom respected her. In the 1950s everybody was making 8mm movies. You’d develop them cheap…

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Issue 60 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 16, 2014

As we put Issue 60 of this magazine to bed, where, as a matter of fact I am now typing—like Proust, I like to write in bed and muse about better times—Twitter informs me that most of the people I follow will be off to the Toronto International Film Festival, and are preparing their schedules…

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Film/Art | Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire

By Andrea Picard / September 16, 2014

By Andréa Picard “The image always occurs on the border between two force fields; its purpose is to testify to a certain alterity, and although the core is always there, something is always missing. The image is always both more and less than itself.”—Serge Daney, Libération (reprinted in Devant la recrudescence des vols de sacs…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Prizewinners, Also-Rans, and Others

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 16, 2014

  By Jonathan Rosenbaum DVD AWARDS 2014 XI edition (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna) Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti and Jonathan Rosenbaum, chaired by Peter von Bagh BEST SPECIAL FEATURES ON BLU-RAY Late Mizoguchi—Eight Films, 1951-1956 (Eureka Entertainment). The publication of eight indisputable masterpieces in stellar transfers on Blu-ray is a cause…

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Exploded View | Michael Snow’s Wavelength

By Chuck Stephens / September 16, 2014

By Chuck Stephens. “The film is a continuous zoom which takes 45 minutes to go from its widest field to its smallest and final field. It was shot with a fixed camera from one end of an 80-foot loft, shooting the other end, a row of windows and the street. Thus, the setting and the…

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Issue 59 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 25, 2014

Another year, another two weeks wasted on the Riviera, but at least I got a tan. By now there’s no need to dwell on my feelings about the Festival de Cannes—any regular reader of this esteemed magazine knows them well enough. Yet despite my annual fear of repetition—and by this point there’s little I can…

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Deaths of Cinema | The World in His Arms: Michael Glawogger, 1959-2014

By Christoph Huber / June 25, 2014

By Christoph Huber “The theatre is not a classroom, so there is nothing to learn. But there is a lot to see,” Michael Glawogger quipped at the Flaherty seminar in 2010—just one of many choice aphorisms given (not just) on that occasion, demonstrating several of the unique gifts of this one-of-a-kind Austrian director. He not…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Extras, Promos, Prices

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 25, 2014

By Jonathan Rosenbaum I shelled out $56.19 US (including postage) to acquire the definitive and restored, director-approved DVD of Providence (1977) from French Amazon, and I hasten to add that this was money well spent. Notwithstanding the passion and brilliance of Alain Resnais’ first two features, Providence is in many ways my favourite of his…

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Exploded View | Standish Lawder’s Corridor

By Chuck Stephens / June 25, 2014

By Chuck Stephens “An unknown observer is seen travelling through a bleak corridor. At the end of the corridor they see a naked woman, whom they are unable to reach as their trip seems to become increasingly twisted and looped.”—IMDb “storyline” description “An extraordinary exercise in visual polyphony…the pyrotechnic surface is exfoliated with Hegelian relentlessness…

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Issue 58 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / March 21, 2014

By Mark Peranson The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2013 1. L’inconnu du lac (Alain Guiraudie) 2. Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz) 3. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke) 4. What Now? Remind Me (Joaquim Pinto) 5. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zürcher) 6. Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang) 7. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel…

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Exploded View | Ed Emshwiller’s Thanatopsis

By Chuck Stephens / March 20, 2014

By Chuck Stephens To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language… —Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant, 1811 A buzzsaw in turbulent neon; a heartbeat and a hummingbird; a flickering flame mistaken for a cosmic streetwalker by a god/man with the clammy, impassive stare of a…

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Film/Art | Provenance: The Artist (Amie Siegel)

By Andrea Picard / March 20, 2014

By Andréa Picard When Heidegger assigned the virtue of truth to works of art, he did so while heeding to his own tastes as any aesthete would. The origin of a work of art, he opined, is where said authenticity lies. Determining provenance is thus imperative to understanding the essence of an artwork, which significantly…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Mitigating Circumstances

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 20, 2014

By Jonathan Rosenbaum There’s no question that DVDs and Blu-rays are fostering new viewing habits and also new critical protocols and processes in sizing up what we’re watching. A perfect example of what I mean is Criterion’s brilliant idea to release Kurosawa Akira’s Throne of Blood (1957) with two alternative sets of subtitles by Linda…

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Exploded View | The Curtis Harrington Short Film Collection

By Chuck Stephens / December 13, 2013

By Chuck Stephens Death in a wig: it’s the central (if not always literal) trope of filmmaker extraordinaire Curtis Harrington’s haunted, horrifying, and sometimes hilarious career. From the experimental shorts he made as a youth to the strictly-for-hire studio freefalls he’d take later in life, all of Harrington’s cinema is a (not always intentionally) gleeful…

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Film/Art | In the Realm of the Senses: Mati Diop on Mille soleils

By Andrea Picard / December 13, 2013

By Andréa Picard “This fever is a nightly invader that strikes the patient during deep sleep. He jumps off his bed and runs to the bridge. There, he believes seeing beyond the waves, trees, forests, flowered meadows. His joy erupts in thousand exclamations. He experiences the most burning desire to flow into the ocean.”—Atlantiques “You…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Yes and/or No

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 12, 2013

By Jonathan Rosenbaum It’s customary for this column to focus on items that I know are currently available. But sometimes there are important potential or upcoming releases whose release dates remain uncertain when my column is written, and there are two of them I want to signal for this quarter, both of which I already…

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Deaths of Cinema | The Long View: Stanley Kauffmann, 1916-2013

By Andrew Tracy / December 12, 2013

By Andrew Tracy In a long, lovely piece he wrote in tribute to (the still-living) John Gielgud in 1977, Stanley Kauffmann took issue with Brecht’s admonition in Galileo that “Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.” “Unknown is the land that needs no hero. Unknown is the interior land that needs no hero,” Kauffmann…

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Issue 57 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 12, 2013

By Mark Peranson I haven’t had much time or energy to watch many films since late August, having been preoccupied with other fruitless, time-consuming endeavours, fending off vicious personal attacks, and moving around far too much. (Here’s a secret: after more than a decade of gallivanting, film festivals mostly suck.) So a thousand pardons if…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Monuments, Documents, and Diversions

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 15, 2013

By Jonathan Rosenbaum A note to readers of jonathanrosenbaum.com: from now on please go to jonathanrosenbaum.net. 1. IL CINEMA RITROVATO (Bologna) DVD AWARDS 2013 X edition Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, and Jonathan Rosenbaum, chaired by Peter von Bagh Because we were faced this year with an embarrassment of riches, we adopted a…

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Exploded View: Will Hindle’s Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos…

By Chuck Stephens / September 15, 2013

…and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air By Chuck Stephens “The most memorable sequence of [Chinese] Firedrill, possibly one of the great scenes in the history of film, involves [Will] Hindle lying in anguish on his floor and slowly reaching out with one hand toward the glimmering…

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Film/Art | Camille Henrot: A Hunter-Gatherer During a Time of Collective “Grosse Fatigue”

By Andrea Picard / August 28, 2013

By Andréa Picard “Ideas are a complete system within us, resembling a natural kingdom, a sort of flora, of which the iconography will one day be outlined by some man who will perhaps be accounted a madman.”—Honoré de Balzac, Louis Lambert, 1832 “How, in A.D. 1988, is it that human ingenuity has been unable, firstly…

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Cinema Scope 55 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 27, 2013

Through the muddy fog of mental and physical exhaustion, Issue 55 of Cinema Scope is brought into the world, and my weary womb bears multiple scars. This number holds a special place in my heart as I was born at 5:55 in the afternoon (55 was my high-school basketball number), and I was up until…

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Exploded View | Hollis Frampton’s Critical Mass

By Chuck Stephens / June 26, 2013

By Chuck Stephens I Hollis Frampton is speaking: “Whatever is inevitable, however arbitrary its origins, acquires through custom something like gravitational mass, and gathers about itself a resonant nimbus of metaphoric energy.” II Anatomy of a break-up: shit flies apart. Experimental filmmaking titan Hollis Frampton’s Critical Mass—a lock-groove valentine from a young lovers’ meltdown-already-in-progress—was filmed…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Buñuel, Chabrol, Flaherty, Fuller, Lang, Lewin, Malick, Mosjoukine, Ozu, Resnais, Rouch/Morin, Portabella, and others

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 26, 2013

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. At last, Pere Portabella’s long-awaited and much-delayed Complete Works, beautifully and simply produced. It comes in a compact box from Intermedio: seven DVDs containing 22 films (six features and 16 shorts, at least if one film as long as 50 minutes counts as a short), from Don’t Count on Your Fingers…

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Deaths of Cinema | Blank Slate: Remembering Les Blank

By Max Goldberg / April 27, 2013

By Max Goldberg Much like the bastions of freedom and vernacular art he so lovingly recorded, Les Blank’s films seem a kind of arcadia on the horizon of documentary film. Blank died earlier this month at the age of 77, leaving behind a singularly festive body of work. Especially in the many small masterpieces shot…

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Cinema Scope 54 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / March 21, 2013

By Mark Peranson First of all, apologies for the quality of this issue, and this editor’s note in general. I take full blame when things go wrong at Cinema Scope headquarters, which for the better part of six weeks has been in hotel and conference rooms in Rotterdam, Berlin, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Austin, oh,…

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Exploded View: Ron Rice’s Chumlum

By Chuck Stephens / March 21, 2013

By Chuck Stephens “Her eye saw not just beauty but incredible, delirious, drug-like hallucinatory beauty.” Jack Smith—creature on fire, ruler of lost Atlantis, and author of the bite-sized encomium to the “perfect filmic appositeness” of Maria Montez quoted above—looms before us in a column of late afternoon loft-light, head swaddled in toilet paper, face swallowed…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Freebies, Purchases, Extras

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 21, 2013

By Jonathan Rosenbaum One limitation of this column when it comes to overseas releases is that many (if not all) of my selections are determined by which companies send me review copies and which ones don’t. When it comes to the UK, I eventually gave up on Artificial Eye responding to my requests several years…

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Film/Art | Out of Bounds: The Formal Trajectories of Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan

By Andrea Picard / March 21, 2013

  By Andréa Picard “You have to rack your brain to know how to film a location…You have to walk around it for a while if you want to find, to use a military term, a strategic lookout. There are not many. When you explore this question often enough, you see that, most of the…

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Exploded View | Bruce Conner’s Breakaway

By Chuck Stephens / December 16, 2012

By Chuck Stephens Scott MacDonald: “Have you assumed that people would look at your films on a rewind, as well as watch them projected?” Bruce Conner: “I look at them on the rewind.” The best way to watch Bruce Conner’s 1966 dance/film/masterpiece Breakaway is to look at it the way Conner would have as he…

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DVD Bonus | Bleeding and Time: In Praise of Amy Heckerling’s Vamps

By Michael Sicinski / December 16, 2012

By Michael Sicinski Several seasons back, before The Office became an unwatchable shell of its former self, the Dunder Mifflin crew had a customarily awkward Halloween party. Stanley was confused about Andy’s costume, mistaking him for a Twilight character. Andy patiently explained that he was in fact dressed as Bill Compton from True Blood. “Oh,…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Assorted Heavy Meals, Tidbits, & Half-Loaves

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 16, 2012

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. À bout de souffle (1960) and Le mépris (1963).Catching up belatedly on these StudioCanal Blu-rays that are available only in Europe (or from European outlets), I should call attention to some of their extras that aren’t available in these films’ US editions. On the À bout de souffle Blu-ray is Luc…

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Film/Art | In the Age of Contamination: Gabriel Abrantes’ Tall Tales and Tainted Love

By Andrea Picard / December 16, 2012

By Andréa Picard “Language just, I don’t know, confuses things. Crazy.”—Cookie, in The History of Mutual Respect Disarmingly direct, it’s a gaze that will forever symbolize the tantalizing transition into modernity, as if a single woman harboured the power to dismantle centuries’ worth of objectification, prescribed Victorian codes of conduct, and the dominion of man.…

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Cinema Scope 53 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 16, 2012

By the time you read this, the world will likely have ended. It’s unfortunate that the end of the Mayan long count (or b’ak’tun) will fall on December 21, because if it were to have fallen, say, on November 21, I could have avoided having to write this Editor’ Note, or indeed, editing the magazine…

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CS52 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 17, 2012

As far as I’ve been able to tell—from having had the misfortune to watch some or all of close to a thousand films so far this year—the quality of product available to festivals in 2012 is inferior to 2011. But that doesn’t excuse some of the stinkers that are making their way over to North…

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Exploded View | Paul Sharits by Chuck Stephens

By Chuck Stephens / September 11, 2012

“One of his best-known works, N:O:T:H:I:N:G, features a light bulb and a chair.” Paul Sharits remains the most structurally precise and disturbingly unknowable experimental filmmaker of the late 20th century, much written about and yet still wholly enigmatic, his work spare, blunt, baffling, often enraged, and always overwhelmingly beautiful. P. Adams Sitney long ago claimed…

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DVD Bonus | Upper West Side Story: Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret

By Robert Koehler / September 11, 2012

So, in the end, #teammargaret wins. Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, the first movie rescued from oblivion by Twitter, is now properly viewable. Initially released by Fox Searchlight on two screens in New York and Los Angeles last October with virtually no promotion, the famously beleaguered production appeared to be DOA until Slant’s Jaime Christley’s famously successful…

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DVD: Some More Auteurist & Non-Auteurist Shopping Tips

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 11, 2012

1. IL CINEMA RITROVATO DVD AWARDS 2012 IX edition Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, Jonathan Rosenbaum BEST DVD 2011/2012 The Complete Humphrey Jennings (BFI). An ongoing series that has recently released the second of its three prefigured volumes. Jennings was the documentarian who witnessed British history with a deep and poetic…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Sometimes (Matters Arising)

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 24, 2012

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. Two special four-disc sets have become available this quarter to fill in sizable gaps in our grasp of Eastern European cinema during the mid-20th century. First, Polish Cinema Classics from Second Run in the UK, gathering together Andrzej Munk’s Eroica (1957), Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Night Train (1959), Andrzej Wajda’s Innocent Sorcerors (1960),…

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Film/Art | Beware of the Jollibee: A Correspondence with Lav Diaz

By Andrea Picard / June 24, 2012

By Andréa Picard Twenty years ago, when under the rule of a sole dictator, we knew well whose wrists deserved to feel the sharp ends of our knives. Today, in a society so quick to judge and pass blame, the only flesh that remains to be examined is our own. Diaz’s camera, steadfast, unwavering, reveals…

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CS51 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 24, 2012

Editor’s Note Back to business as usual, which means being crabby about Cannes and printing long articles about filmmakers nobody has heard of. We’ll get to Cannes later on, with pieces dispersed throughout Issue 51 and also resting in the typical centre-square spotlight. For now I would rather devote my allotted space to some observations…

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Exploded View | Serene Velocity / World on a Wire

By Chuck Stephens / June 24, 2012

By Chuck Stephens Start with the title, as you would a William Carlos Williams poem: Serene Velocity (1970)—tranquil and accelerating, blissful and fleet. Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating, faster and faster, in space. Now look at the screen. SUNY-Binghamton grads will recognize the place: filmmaker Ernie Gehr taught there at the end of the…

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Exploded View | Valentin de las Sierras / The Last Movie

By Chuck Stephens / April 9, 2012

By Chuck Stephens Every film Bruce Baillie makes is a folk song he’s hearing in his head. The exquisite Valentin de las Sierras, Baillie’s ten-minute 1967 masterpiece—one of a series of extraordinary films (Quixote, 1965; Castro Street, 1966; Quick Billy, 1970) he made during the ‘60s—is structured around a well-known Mexican corrido about a man…

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Film/Art | Disappearances After the Revolution: On Alberto Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli’s Anna

By Andrea Picard / April 4, 2012

By Andréa Picard “As a filmmaker, I think we have to venture into the no man’s land that lies between reality and imagination, between documentation and fiction…Filming the impossible is what’s best in life.”—Joris Ivens “New languages aren’t invented in the editing phase, it is life undergoing a transformation that demands new languages…”—Alberto Grifi  …

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CS50 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / April 4, 2012

A crisis in film criticism does not exist, as film criticism has never been in such a vibrant, healthy state, and should really be reconfigured as a crisis signalling the end of modern media (e.g., the newspaper, the alt-weekly). When Cinema Scope was founded 13 years ago, the need for a printed fulcrum around which…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | A Few Items You May Not Know About

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / April 4, 2012

By Jonathan Rosenbaum The arrival on DVD of Jean-Pierre Gorin’s three solo features—Poto and Cabengo (1980), Routine Pleasures (1986), and My Crasy Life (1992)—has been long overdue, and it’s possible that part of the delay can be attributed to how unclassifiable and original these nonfiction films really are. The first of these has something to…

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Exploded View

By Chuck Stephens / December 20, 2011

“This is a test. You will probably not be able to answer all of the questions.”—New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops, George Landow, 1976 Owen Land, aka George Landow—one of the founding, and most confounding, members of that moment dubbed by P. Adams Sitney (and…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: About 40 More Items (or Thereabouts)

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 20, 2011

By Jonathan Rosenbaum For its 68th DVD release, the Austrian Film Museum, which published the first substantial book about James Benning in 2007, has begun the long-overdue project of restoring and releasing Benning’s work by starting at the approximate halfway point of his filmography—namely American Dreams (lost and found) (1984, 53 min.) and Landscape Suicide…

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CS 49 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 20, 2011

To combat the onset of seasonal affective disorder, in between editing articles and tearing out my hair I like to pre-hibernate and play critic as opposed to programmer, by watching all of the Hollywood releases that I’ve missed over the past year. I try to legitimize this stupefying act with the words “for your consideration,”…

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Film/Art | Low Life Zombies

By Andrea Picard / September 29, 2011

By Andréa Picard “Two types of film: those that employ the resources of the theatre (actors, directors, etc…) and use the camera in order to reproduce; those that employ the resources of cinematography and use the camera to create.” —Robert Bresson, Notes sur le Cinématographe “Art is like a fire; it is born out of…

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Global Discoveries on DVD | Subjects for Further Research

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 28, 2011

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. IL CINEMA RITROVATO DVD AWARDS 2011 Jurors: Lorenzo Codelli, Alexander Horwath, Mark McElhatten, Paolo Mereghetti, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Peter von Bagh. BEST DVD 2010 / 2011 Segundo de Chomón 1903-1912: El Cine de La Fantasia. (Filmoteca de Catalunya [ICIC]/Cameo Media s.l.) A production by Cameo and Filmoteca Catalunya. The first edition of…

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CS 48 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 28, 2011

Hurricane season in Toronto means the rush is on to cram in as many films as possible in a four-week period, the build-up to the cinematic smorgasbord that is the Toronto International Film Festival. One such period over a decade ago saw the founding of this magazine, with an issue devoted solely to previewing TIFF.…

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Global Discoveries on DVD: Auteurist and Non-Auteurist Shopping Tips

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 29, 2011

By Jonathan Rosenbaum If there’s any overarching lesson I learned from teaching film history to undergraduates over the past year in Richmond, Virginia (which, logistically speaking, is what obliged me to suspend this column for half a year), it’s that they know both less and more about history and film history than I did as…

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Film/Art | In Das Auge of the Beholder: Thomas Hirschhorn and Bruno Dumont

By Andrea Picard / June 29, 2011

By Andréa Picard “The intellect may be compared to a carver, but it has the peculiarity of imagining that the chicken always was the separate pieces into which the carving-knife divides it.”—Bertrand Russell In Toronto in early March to put the final touches on his transplanted 2008 Secession sensation Das Auge (The Eye) at the…

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Film/Art | There’s No Place Like Home: Absalon, Aitá, and Ocaso

By Andrea Picard / March 12, 2011

By Andréa Picard “These homes will be a means of resistance to a society that keeps me from becoming what I must become.”—Absalon “In Basque mythology the house or etxe is a sacred area where the living and the dead meet on equal terms.”— José Maria De Orbe The Israeli-born, Paris-dwelling sculptor Absalon chiselled his…

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DVD: José Val del Omar’s Tríptico Elemental and Other Experiments from Spain

By Matt Losada / March 12, 2011

By Matt Losada For most cinephiles the mention of Spanish experimental film conjures an abyss, from which the only images to readily appear are of Buñuel’s (Paris-made) Un chien andalou (1927) and L’Age d’or (1930), and the rural documentary Las Hurdes (1933). It is often said that Buñuel had to leave Spain to make avant-garde…

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Mildred Pierce’s Bitter Tears

By Richard Porton / March 12, 2011

By Richard Porton In “The Boys in the Back Room,” a famous essay written in 1940, Edmund Wilson damned James M. Cain’s work with faint praise by referring to the hard-boiled novelist as a “writer for the studios” whose “novels are produced in his off-time…they are a kind of Devil’s parody of the movies.” Yet…

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CS46 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / March 12, 2011

The Cinema Scope Top Ten of 2010 1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 2. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu (Andrei Ujica) 3. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz) 4. Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard) 5. Winter Vacation (Li Hongqi) 6. The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira) 7. I Wish I…

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Columns | Books Around: New Turkish Cinema

By Olaf Moller / December 17, 2010

By Olaf Möller It was only a matter of time till a bunch of books on Turkish cinema would hit the stores; film-cultural fads work like that. To give things a more positive spin, what’s a passing fancy for many might be a life’s passion for a few who can now, in the tiny window…

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Columns | Film/Art

By Andrea Picard / December 17, 2010

In the enchanted land of pewter trees, Rohmer’s line describing a semi-circle By Andréa Picard “What gives truth to a Cézanne is not the pseudo-likeness to the model, it’s the trace it carries within it of the process by which the painter perceives it.” “Like painting, sculpture, architecture, and the ballet, the cinema is an…

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Columns | CS45 Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 17, 2010

By Mark Peranson In previous missives from this MacBook, I’ve expressed the belief that the less writing about film there is in the world, the better. Such an attitude can be mistaken for a kind of cynicism, making this magazine, consequently, a kind of personal fiefdom. So because I have nothing else to do, it’s…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Assorted Lessons from the Past and Present

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 21, 2010

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. A Confession Since retiring from my job as a weekly reviewer in early 2008, I’ve been discovering that I usually prefer watching mediocre films of the past (chiefly from the ‘30s through the ‘70s) to watching mediocre films of the present—unlike some of my former readers, who assume that I’ve stopped…

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Columns | Editor’s Note 44

By Mark Peranson / September 21, 2010

I’m usually hard on myself, but I’m pleased to say that this issue is pretty solid, which is even more surprising to me when I realize that there are so many interviews and articles in here on Canadian film—and one piece on a somewhat controversial film made by a Canadian that doesn’t qualify, for bureaucratic…

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Columns | Deaths of Cinema – But Farewell: Werner Schroeter

By Olaf Moller / June 18, 2010

By Olaf Möller In the end, Werner Schroeter’s demise on April 12 did in fact come as a surprise. Over the last few years one had seen him so often so close to death only to regenerate (it seemed) splendidly, and one began to believe that somehow things could and would go on like this,…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Two Updates, 20 Additions, Several Extras

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / June 18, 2010

By Jonathan Rosenbaum First, a couple of updates to my last column in Cinema Scope 42: Until or unless the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture finds a way of making its awesome ten-disc Alexander Dovzheno box set available to more than a handful of Ukrainian diplomats, the Mr. Bongo edition of Earth (1930) on PAL (go…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / June 18, 2010

Editor’s Note Oh, the burdens of following up “Stupid, Adjective….” Once again, the time has come for me to admit that “summarizing” Cannes is a bit of a pointless task at this time of year, when I’d be rather watching soccer than thinking about what went on a few weeks ago in that dinky fishing…

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Columns | Letter to the Editor

By Tony Rayns / March 17, 2010

12 March 2010 Shelly Kraicer’s attack on Lu Chuan’s City of Life and Death in Cinema Scope # 41 is the most wrong-headed thing I’ve read in the magazine since some guy assured us that Miike Takashi’s Visitor Q was a validation of the nuclear family. Since the Japanese Right is currently trying to prevent…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Here and Not Here

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / March 17, 2010

By Jonathan Rosenbaum So far, this column has mainly devoted itself to available as opposed to unavailable items, following the popular notion that serving the consumer rather than exacerbating the consumer is the major aim. But sometimes I wonder if the only way that certain items might ever become available is if consumers become sufficiently…

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Columns | Festivals | The Sundance-Rotterdam-Berlin Express

By Robert Koehler / March 17, 2010

By Robert Koehler A tour of Sundance to Rotterdam to Berlin makes one thing clear: The big film festivals share much in common with political parties and their conventions. Each has their agendas, interest groups, constituencies, factions, behind-the-scenes power players, changing leaderships, avant-gardes, and rear guards. And parties. (Or, as we used to call them…

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Columns | Film Art | Orphans and Maniacs: Chantal Akerman’s Maniac Summer

By Andrea Picard / March 17, 2010

By Andréa Picard Whether ironic, playful or slightly self-deprecating, the title of Chantal Akerman’s Maniac Summer, recently exhibited at the Marion Goodman gallery in Paris is apt, bemusing, and applicable to many of her other works—at least the maniac part. Pathology is Akerman’s specialty, as she consistently delves into a cinema of solipsism, not unlike…

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Columns | Editors Note: Cinema Scope Top Ten Films of 2009

By Mark Peranson / March 17, 2010

Cinema Scope Top Ten Films of 2009 1. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu) 2. Everyone Else (Maren Ade) 3. To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues) 4. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino) 5. Sweetgrass (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash) 6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson) 7. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine) 8. Alamar (Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio) 9. Vincere…

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Columns | Film/Art – In Comparison: HF | RG

By Andrea Picard / December 16, 2009

By Andréa Picard This column is so late, it’s as good as expired. And alas, it’s not even the article it once was or was meant to be. Blame it on the archive (or lack thereof) and the machine (ditto), definitely on the so-called nonverbal and a rather limp attempt at montage. In late August,…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Another Checklist

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / December 16, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Before getting around to my 32 picks, pans, and/or simple finds for this quarter, here’s some food for thought that I recently came across in an Austrian Filmmuseum publication: “I recently met Jonathan Rosenbaum in Zagreb…For Jonathan, the age of the DVD and the download also means a huge expansion of film-historical…

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CS41: Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / December 16, 2009

First of all, thanks to the Toronto Film Critics Association, without whom there would be no award for the appreciation of film in Canada. But seriously, thanks guys, I’m just trying to do what I can as best as I can. Speaking of critics, one curious effect of the ongoing decimation of film criticism in…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Shopping List

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 12, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1871. A lavish 1990 period-piece about the rise and fall of the Paris Commune by Ken McMullen that I blush to admit I’d never heard of. This is included as a free supplement to the Summer 2009 issue of the English magazine Vertigo, and it comes with many intriguing extras, including the…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Perversities

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 4, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum The elegantly designed, beautifully produced multizone box set “6 Films by Luc Moullet” that’s available from blaq out (www.blaqout.com) actually consists of seven long films by Moullet—Brigitte et Brigitte (1966), Les contrebandières (The Smugglers, 1967), Une aventure de Billy le Kid (A Girl Is a Gun, 1970), Anatomie d’un rapport (Anatomy of…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 4, 2009

By Mark Peranson It’s all over the map again for Issue 30 (is it really Issue 30? how ever did that happen?), and by that I mean both geographically as well as polemically. Halfway through editing this issue, I thought that it might be a good idea to commission even more opinionated pieces and just…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Prices

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 3, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum A certain confession-cum-apology regarding this column is in order. Because I have a legitimate reason for deducting the costs of the DVDs I buy from my taxes, and a no less legitimate way of requesting and receiving review copies from many DVD labels, I haven’t always been as attentive as I could…

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Columns | Brandon Wee answers Pierre Rissient’s “Letter on Malaysian Cinema”

By Brandon Wee / September 3, 2009

By Brandon Wee Mark forwarded me your letter in response to my article on Malaysian cinema (Cinema Scope 29). Thanks for your thoughts. Serious writing on film seldom undergoes the rigours of engagement, and I’m therefore grateful for the chance to furnish this rejoinder. You’ve laboured under the impression that I’ve excluded U-wei from my…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 3, 2009

By Mark Peranson Around this time of year, every year for the last 6-0, bleary-eyed members of the film cognoscenti worldwide are met with the same query upon returning, Odysseus-like, back home: So, how was Cannes? Critics, programmers, casual filmgoers, and even border guards have a great interest in the goings-on in some small town…

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Columns | CANADIANA: Good Riddance to Myth: Francis Mankiewicz’s Les bons débarras

By Steve Gravestock / September 3, 2009

By Steve Gravestock One of the most canonized movies in Canadian film history, Francis Mankiewicz’s Les bons débarras (Québec, 1980) was received as a classic almost instantly. It won most of the significant Genies the year it was eligible, defeating Bob Clark’s far more expensive, but vastly inferior Tribute, a much bigger budget Anglo feature…

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Columns | FILM/ART: Reading Between the Lines with Bruce McClure

By Andrea Picard / September 3, 2009

By Andréa Picard “I think an artist is always working with limits, but these limits are extended and discovered. There’s an art of discovering new limits.”—Robert Smithson “After all, wreckage is often more interesting than structure.”—Bruce McClure Bruce McClure is an artist both increasingly known and unknown. His film performances have been featured (and cultishly…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Among the Missing

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 3, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Last June, Dave Kehr alerted me to a rather daunting fact that he discovered on the home page of the new movie database launched by Turner Classic Movies, tcmb.com. Out of the 144,581 film titles on their database, made since 1890 (which includes 21,993 TV specials and 2,544 shorts), only 5,257 are…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 3, 2009

By Mark Peranson Hey there, people! I suspect many of you who are reading this over the holidays are curled up with either the colossal Ford at Fox box or the Criterion Berlin Alexanderplatz—neither of which I have, hint, hint—so thanks for taking time to amuse yourselves with the old fashioned written word, or what…

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Columns | The Year in Canadian Film 2007: Some History

By Steve Gravestock / September 1, 2009

By Steve Gravestock Much of Québecois cinema plays off or develops its own distinctive mythology. Even in a brazenly calculated commercial work like the province’s biggest 2007 hit, Nitro, riffs off the city-country dichotomy that has characterized Québecois cinema since the ‘60s. (The film follows a former biker/drag racer —now urbanized and therefore domesticated—who returns…

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Columns | FILM/ART: This Time Tomorrow: The Zanzibar Films

By Andrea Picard / September 1, 2009

By Andréa Picard “One of the notable events in the art-world in the last few years is that Mannerism has again become fashionable…It is, in a phrase, the stylish style.”—John Sherman, 1965 Even Mannerism, the 16th century visual, literary, and musical style—that ne plus ultra of all bêtes noires—has bobbed in and out of vogue.…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Second-Guessing

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 1, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum I have two vivid memories illustrating the potential obtuseness of some Manhattan film reviewers. One of these might have been the first press screening I ever attended: Jean Renoir’s sublime 1932 comedy Boudu sauvé des eaux—released in a fine edition by Criterion a couple of years ago—which was about to receive its…

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Columns | Gloval Discoveries on DVD: Critical Editions

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 1, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Writing during the end-of-the-year holidays, I’ve been enjoying quite a few recent arrivals: the two-disc edition of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub’s 1984 Klassenverhältnisse—their version of Franz Kafka’s Amerika, known in English as Class Relations (filmmuseum, all regions, PAL, English subtitles for everything except the DVD-ROM), justly celebrated by Mark Peranson in…

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Columns | FILM/ART Featuring Michel Auder

By Andrea Picard / September 1, 2009

By Andréa Picard “Usually, you eat, you get laid, you’re worried about money, you have money, you’re happy, you’re sad, you cry, you have more sex, if you’re lucky, and then, you know, there’s nothing left in life, it’s just what it is.”—Michel Auder in The Feature Watching The Feature, vidéaste Michel Auder’s return to…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 1, 2009

By Mark Peranson At the time of writing—and I’m quite sure this, too, soon will pass—it’s energizing to be a Canadian filmmaker, if not a Canadian film critic, if not a Canadian. Controversy abounds, in the form of the censorship seemingly proffered by the now-notorious and soon-forgotten Bill C-10, which promises to give our trustworthy…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / September 1, 2009

By Mark Peranson Why was the 2008 Festival de Cannes different from all other Festivals de Cannes? I hope that every critic has his or her own answer, but for my subjective reply, I refer you to laugh at pages xx-xx. (If you can’t have fun, why live?) Besides that seriously surreal convergence of chance,…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: Summer Inventory (with some updates)

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / September 1, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Borderline (BFI). There’s much to recommend about both this silent, experimental 1930 feature by Kenneth Macpherson, editor of the radical film magazine Close Up of the late ‘20s and early ‘30s, and the neo-Mingus score of Courtney Pine, the contemporary English jazz musician and composer the BFI hired to accompany the film.…

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Columns | Damn Dirty Apes: Dead Festivals in the USA

By Jim Finn / August 31, 2009

By Jim Finn In a country that forgets everything, it’s worth remembering that the New York Underground Film Festival, Austin-based Cinematexas, and Iowa City’s Thaw were three of the best festivals for films that opened up new, contemporary ideas of what cinema could be. All three of these “underground festivals” mixed satire and difficult conceptual…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: 20 Labels and Four Outlets

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / August 31, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum Anna Biller. If you’re looking for something different and agreeably deranged, go directly to www.lifeofastar.com/purchase.html, where for $19.95 you can purchase Anna Biller: The Short Film Collection, made between 1994 and 2001—four of the strangest films you’ll ever see. I suppose this writer-director-star-set-and-costume-designer could be called a slick Jack Smith, but that’s…

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Columns | Coming Soon: Mickey Rourke is The Wrestler

By Scott Foundas / August 31, 2009

By Scott Foundas It’s been years since pro wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) left the big-arena circuit (or, rather, had it leave him) for hand-to-mouth bookings in high-school auditoriums and banquet halls. But he still can’t get the roar of the crowd out of his head, regardless of whether he has his hearing…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / August 31, 2009

By Mark Peranson It goes without saying, but I’ll say it any way—this issue of Cinema Scope is dedicated to Manny Farber, the most important film critic of the 20th century (and a damned good painter to boot, as witnessed by the cover and the back page). I could devote this space to writing about…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD: 14 Events and Loose Change

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / August 29, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum 1. The new Zeitgeist edition of Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep (1996) is far more than an upgrade of the unsatisfactory Fox Lorber DVD of a dozen years ago. Apart from a 16:9 anamorphic transfer, it includes Assayas’ silent, experimental short Man Yuk: A Portrait of Maggie Cheung (1997), and two essays by…

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Columns | FILM/ART A Paradox: Remembering Guillaume Depardieu

By Andrea Picard / August 29, 2009

By Andréa Picard “Paradoxe.” You must call it “Paradoxe,” he said in French, his famously crooked smile as wide as his eyes were squinty and full of play. Incredibly, I sat directly opposite Guillaume Depardieu exactly one year ago, in what was to be my first and as of yet only mock interview—a staggering 45…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / August 29, 2009

By Mark Peranson As one of the direst and most depressing seasons of tedious holiday Hollywood product comes to a limp head, we present another issue of Cinema Scope that tries best to ignore most of that, and instead reflect on the films that mattered on the festival circuit (and, some, beyond) these past few…

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Columns | Film/Art: Mark Lewis’ Backstory

By Mark Peranson / August 28, 2009

By Mark Peranson Relegated off-site from the Giardini and Arsenale HQ at the Venice Biennale, nearly alone in the Campo Santa Margherita, sat Backstory, Mark Lewis’ companion to his Cold Morning installation. Its physical separation is fitting: in its structure, Backstory operates dialectically, as informational documentary on Hollywood studio history, and as a piece of…

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Columns | Global Discoveries on DVD

By Jonathan Rosenbaum / August 28, 2009

By Jonathan Rosenbaum As usual, there are far too many releases for me to note this quarter than I could possibly have time to see. So what follows is a series of annotated notices interspersed with critical comments about the ones I’ve actually managed to watch, in whole or in part. Careful (1991), from Zeitgeist…

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Columns | Editor’s Note

By Mark Peranson / August 28, 2009

By Mark Peranson The build-up to this year’s Cannes festival in the daily and weekly standards reached feverish proportions: on paper, it again looked like we were in for a kick-ass auteur battle royale, with the world’s “greatest filmmakers” all poised to premiere their latest masterpieces that would immediately blind us all on sight and…

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