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 I’m so out of it from watching movies that most of you will never hear of (for good reason) that I can barely string a few paragraphs together. (Kid you not, I fell asleep in the middle of writing this. In fact, I’m still asleep.) Hell, I’ve barely read most of the articles in this magazine, let alone seen the hot, hot films of the cold season, whether they are streaming in actual cinemas, home cinemas, laptops, whatever. I’m sure they are all super great, at least that is what the internet tells me. 

I can say that Uncut Gems comes close; after all, I wouldn’t go so far as to give away the prized cover position to just about anything, and I did happen to find a few free hours at TIFF one evening to enter Sandman and emerge relatively entertained. Some good jokes in there too. But in its nature an uncut gem is lacking in typical standards of perfection, so who am I to complain? Go Raptors?

What else is going on? Apparently Trump is still president, though by the time you read this on paper he’ll probably have been at least impeached by the House, which is to say that I anticipate an extremely long delay for print copies to get out into the world, and I’m sorry about that in advance. (Meanwhile, I read that he arranged for a private screening of Joker in the White House; he probably found it funny.) I gather there has been a fair bit of discussion out there in the ether regarding something about best films and the last ten years, but I swore to myself a few hours ago that I wouldn’t spend too much time writing about lists at this point, let alone making one. 

Maybe, just maybe, if I’m in the mood we will do something out of the ordinary to commemorate the momentous turning over of Pope Gregory’s calendar from one year to another in the next issue, though that’s still up in the air—but no poll, you’ve got my total, 100% guarantee on that. (I’d rather publish monthly than do another poll, a prospect that might excite some of you but would lead to my early grave.) Trust me, that whole poll thing is way too much work, numerous other outlets and organizations with full-time staff are doing a fine enough job of it, and the variances in rankings between high-and-low decision makers doesn’t interest me all that much. 

What does? Good question. Well, besides sleep, I just unpacked and sorted a bunch of DVDs, none of which I’ve cracked open for the last few years. I’d love to have the time to watch some of those more-than-ten-year-old films for pleasure (or be able to see the restoration of Queen of Diamonds in a cinema if it’s playing near me). I liked listening to the Rolling Thunder box set more than watching the documentary, performance scenes notwithstanding. The last season of Silicon Valley was pretty good, especially the first two episodes directed by Mike Judge. And, yeah, I guess Twin Peaks: The Return is awesome, and cinema, but I believe we’ve already been there and done that. So have a happy new decade. 

Follow

Friend me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterRSS Feed

From the Magazine

  • Cinema Scope 82: Table of Contents

    Interviews A State of Uncertainty: Tsai Ming-liang on Days by Darren Hughes New Possible Realities: Heinz Emigholz on The Last City by Jordan Cronk This More →

  • A State of Uncertainty: Tsai Ming-liang on Days

    There’s no exact precedent for the long creative collaboration between Tsai Ming-liang and Lee Kang-sheng. In 1991, as the story goes, Tsai stepped out of a screening of a David Lynch movie and spotted Lee sitting on a motorbike outside of an arcade. More →

  • New Possible Realities: Heinz Emigholz on The Last City

    The Last City, the new film by Heinz Emigholz, begins with a confession. “And it was a straight lie when I told you that I had an image that could describe the state of my depression,” admits a middle-aged archaeologist to a weapons designer (played, respectively, by John Erdman and Jonathan Perel, who were previously seen in Emigholz's 2017 film Streetscapes [Dialogue] as a filmmaker and his analyst). “I made that up.” Part reintroduction, part recapitulation, this abrupt admission sets the conceptual coordinates for a film that, despite its presentation and the familiarity of its players, is less a continuation of that earlier work’s confessional mode of address than a creative reimagining of its talking points. More →

  • This Dream Will Be Dreamed Again: Luis López Carrasco’s El año del descubrimiento

    Luis López Carrasco’s dense, devious El año del descubrimiento confirms his reputation as Spain’s foremost audiovisual chronicler of the country’s recent past, albeit one for whom marginal positions, materiality, everyday chitchat, and the liberating effects of fiction are as, if not more, important than grand historical events. More →

  • Long Live the New Flesh: The Decade in Canadian Cinema

    Let’s get it right out of the way: by any non-subjective metric—which is to say in spite of my own personal opinion—the Canadian filmmaker of the decade is Xavier Dolan, who placed six features (including two major Competition prizewinners) at Cannes between 2009 (let’s give him a one-year head start) and 2019, all before turning 30. Prodigies are as prodigies do, and debating Dolan’s gifts as a transnational melodramatist and zeitgeist-tapperis a mug’s game, one that I’ve already played in these pages. More →