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. It still gives me nightmarish flashbacks, and with the tight deadlines required for presenting a package like that, we’ opted for more modest festival previews in the fall issues since. This one’s no exception, with the print issue of Cinema Scope 48 featuring reviews and interviews for films that aren’t exclusively showing at TIFF, but also premiering at Venice, New York, Vancouver, and many other stops on the road to being downloaded in pirated fan-subtitled versions.

But in the interim, something else was invented: the internet. Okay, not literally, but rather the acceptance of the internet as a vehicle for the prompt and cheap delivery of film reviews, a development that many claim represents a death blow to Film Criticism As We Know It. But why can’t we all get along? For this year’s TIFF—hopefully some of you already realize this before reading the next sentence—we decided to throw together a balls-to-the-wall, old-school style, anti-celebrity film-festival preview package at Cinema Scope Online. This is yet another labour-intensive endeavour done with none-to-little preparation and just as much of a budget, i.e., in the true spirit of the internet. As I type with fingers crossed, I think it might turn out to be the best festival package in the Toronto-based media, not only because the word Oscar goes unmentioned. (I don’t think there’s a film in TIFF this year directed by someone named Oscar.) If you’re reading this online, just click on over, even if it’s after the festival. If you’re reading it in print, why the hell did you buy a magazine? You can get half of it for free online!

To my mind, we’ve done such a good job the last few issues covering the important films to date—including the highlights on our mini-TIFF-website focus—that I’m changing up my yearly ritual a bit. Instead of recommending films that we haven’t previously covered in the magazine, here are ten films I’m looking forward to seeing. This also allows me the opportunity to reveal that, yes, I don’t get to preview everything before the rest of you, and sometimes I do other things than watching films: namely, writing emails to people about them. Look for me slumped in the audience, brain dead and half-asleep.

4:44 Last Day on Earth (Abel Ferrara)

Almayer’s Folly (Chantal Akerman)

Alps (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Century of Birthing (Lav Diaz)

Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies)

Un été brûlant (Philippe Garrel)

God Bless America (Bobcat Goldthwait)

Killer Joe (William Friedkin)

Stateless Things (Kim Kyungmook)

Twixt (Francis Ford Coppola)

Next year: ten films I have no desire to ever see in my life. This issue is dedicated to Raúl Ruiz, seen in the picture above on the set of the great Mysteries of Lisbon (2010).

—Mark Peranson


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From the Magazine

  • Cinema Scope 83 Table of Contents

    Interviews *DAU. Diary & Dialogue. Part One: A Living World, by Jordan Cronk The Land Demands Your Effort: C.W Winter (and Anders Edström) on The More →

  • The Land Demands Your Effort: C.W Winter (and Anders Edström) on The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

    Though the process of watching the onset of life’s end yields gut-wrenching moments, some recorded, some reconstructed, it makes little sense to extract one scene from the whole picture, as the film’s ultimate strength lies in its refusal to privilege, well, anything: an image of a tree means as much as a visit to an onsen, three people walking in the dark, a farmer hoeing her land, or a black screen with no image at all, only an intricately composed soundscape (as the quote introducing the film reads, “Until the moment you are dead you can still hear”). Make no mistake: though mortality is front and centre, this is a salute to the possibilities provided by cinema, a celebration of life. More →

  • DAU. Diary & Dialogue. Part One: A Living World

    At the press conference for the premiere of DAU. Natasha at this year’s Berlinale, director Ilya Khrzhanovsky pre-empted questions regarding the controversial methods involved in the realization of his 14-year passion project—collectively known as DAU—by contrasting the experiences of his actors with the everyday lives of their Soviet-era characters. “All the feelings [depicted in the film] are real,” he said, “but the circumstances are not real in which these feelings happen. More →

  • The Math of Love Triangles: Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Trigonometry

    The most arresting image in the new BBC Studios series Trigonometry (airing in the US this summer on HBO Max and in Canada on CBC Gem) comes in the fifth episode, when restaurateur Gemma (Thalissa Teixeira), in the middle of a difficult Nordic honeymoon getaway with her new husband Kieran (Gary Carr), goes on an evening field trip to see the Northern Lights. As Kieran sulks back at the hotel, she gazes up at a display that imbues the uncanny sensation—for the character, as well as the audience—of a planetarium-show special effect despite its you-are-there authenticity. More →

  • In Search of the Female Gaze

    The trope of a woman removing her glasses to suddenly reveal her great beauty is as familiar as it is eye-roll-inducing. She never looks that different, but her status as an erotic object changes immediately and immensely. A classic example is Dorothy Malone as a bookstore clerk in The Big Sleep (1946), but more recently there is Rachel Leigh Cook descending the stairs to the saccharine sounds of “Kiss Me” in She’s All That (1999). Give up your active gaze, this convention seems to say, and you will be alluring. More →