elle_1-620x380

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. The film was the unanimous favourite of the jury, one of whom opined that it is a masterpiece that will be as important to cinema history as Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970), so please do see it and judge for yourself. This issue also features an analysis of Teddy (sorry, couldn’t resist) Williams’ The Human Surge, also a Locarno prizewinner, a film that surprised no one who is familiar with Williams’ shorts. (Petrova’s shorts are also worth checking out.) Both Godless and The Human Surge will screen in Toronto, as will Johannes Nyholm’s beguiling Swedish oddity The Giant (also highly recommended) and others I have yet to see that hold some promise—including some Canadian titles! Which means it’s time for a reminder to visit cinema-scope.com to relive our annual TIFF blowout, where there will be more than 150 reviews of films posted for eternity or until the internet ends, whichever comes first. (And, of course, next issue will as usual feature more extensive coverage of a selection of our favourite titles, debuts or otherwise, such as Matías Piñiero’s Hermia & Helena, João Pedro Rodrigues’ The Ornithologist, and Gastón Solnicki’s Kékszakállú, to list a few accented examples.) Other first films to which I would also like to you’re your attention are Dane Komljen’s All the Cities of the North (briefly covered in the pages that follow), Theo Anthony’s Rat Film (ditto), Kris Avedisian’s Donald Cried, and Kiro Russo’s Dark Skull. And let’s not forget Ted Fendt’s Short Stay, itself the focus of coverage in Cinema Scope 66.

This is a good year for Isabelle Huppert. And, yes, I sense the rhetorical statement already forming at your collective lips, “Tell me something I don’t already know.” Agreed: which year of the last decade hasn’t been a good year for Isabelle Huppert, she of the (according to the always-reliable IMDb) 130 onscreen credits, 65 wins, and 32 nominations? (Maybe 2010, when Madame Huppert only appeared in two not-very-memorable films, but I would argue otherwise, as she also had a guest-starring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Maybe she was acting on stage in New York at the time and found herself with a day off.) Appearing in at least five films in 2016, with three of them playing at TIFF (one appearing on the cover of this issue, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle), Huppert continues to operate at an superhuman pace, as the next year will find her in films by Hong Sangsoo (not the one in Toronto, and not the one after that, but the third one), Michael Haneke, and Serge Bozon among others; she has clearly reached the point where she has become a axiom of the arthouse cinema. I’d like to see her direct some day, but, in her own way, she does enough directing as it is.

And I’ve done enough writing. But a few housekeeping points: keen readers will also note two extremely important changes to the magazine, as part of our continuing desire to present as attractive a package as possible to our readers. At long last I have finally relented and allowed for italicized film titles in article subheadings; to be honest, it just looks better. Also, I decided to give the TV column an actual name, because, why not. Plus, as I’m sure you will pick up on, if you are holding a hard copy in your hands (and why aren’t you?) it follows an article relating to Shakespeare, and it’s very hard to resist an opportunity for a horrible pun.

Tagged with →  

Follow

Friend me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterRSS Feed

From the Magazine

  • Cinema Scope 81 Table of Contents

    Interviews Anything Is Possible: Josh and Benny Safdie on Uncut Gems by Adam Nayman A Concept of Reality: Sergei Loznitsa’s State Funeral by Daniel Kasman Fairytales More →

  • Anything Is Possible: Josh and Benny Safdie on Uncut Gems

    At this point, the Safdies are young masters of their own aesthetic, which was in formation at the time of Daddy Longlegs but felt more fully realized in Heaven Knows What:a roving, probing, pulsating audiovisual weave that doesn’t so much privilege pace over clarity as locate one in the other. Their movies can be exhausting, enervating, and even annoying (and Sandler, to his credit, achieves genuine annoyance in many passages here), but they’re never confusing, and the lucidity of their storytelling—which never wavers even when their characters have no earthly idea what they’re doing—has become one of contemporary American cinema’s true and distinctive marvels. More →

  • They Are All Equal Now: The Irishman’s Epic of Sadness

    Since cinema is moving toward television, and since the MCU generation is trying to actually tussle with a good fella like Martin Scorsese, and since all of this is wrapped around a cultural moment steeped in glorious contradictions, the timing of The Irishman couldn’t be more perfect. More →

  • Far from Paradise: Nina Menkes’ Queen of Diamonds

    By Erika Balsom Diamonds are sharp and hard, rich in myth and violence, soaked in desire, totally under the putrid spell of money. They are, More →

  • Garden Against the Machine: Ja’Tovia Gary’s The Giverny Document

    By Michael Sicinski Ja’Tovia Gary’s filmmaking is all to some extent grappling with the question of identity, particularly its precariousness in an often hostile world. More →