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 change the magazine’s name to Polemics, but what follows will have to generate enough arguments until Issue 31 rolls around. And the topics are, as usual, quite broad, ranging from the future of film festivals, the past of Hollywood auteurism, to the films of Paul Verhoeven (come to think of it, I should have commissioned more pieces on Verhoeven, too).

Like, nobody ever said that watching Jacques Rivette films was a snap, so why should it be different when it comes to reading about them? B. Kite’s epic piece is but the first part in a look at Rivette,  whose films are making their way across North America in a complete retrospective for the first time in history—counting the arrival of a subtitled Out 1. (And speaking of two parters, no eager readers, I haven’t forgot about the Colossal Youth interview—next issue, I swear—but I felt we should all take some time off the Pedro for one issue. As you will see, this memo apparently did not reach all of our correspondents.)

As far as polemics go, the second annual Cinema Scope top ten will likely cause a few heads to turn—the results surprised me a bit—though it shouldn’t shock the faithful. Again, this is not a poll, bit reflects the opinions of the editorial board (with the publisher and editor each getting a say), and consists of films that were first exhibited publicly at festivals or theatres in 2006.

1. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
2. Black Book (Paul Verhoeven)
3. Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa)
4. A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater)
5. Borat: Cultural Leanings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles)
6. Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho)
7. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón)
8. The Host (Bong Joon-ho)
9. Inland Empire (David Lynch)
10. Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt)

A few notes on the top ten. To counter the charge that this magazine covers obscure art films, I will note that only one of the films (#6) is currently without a North American distributor, one is an action-packed war thriller, one is a monster movie, and one got nominated for best adapted screenplay at the recent Academy Awards. (Okay, so the film without a distributor is also the Indonesian opera.) To counter the charge that we only cover films far before their theatrical releases—though I should note that we did present the first look at the New Crowned Hope series, which brought us films #1 and #6 of the year (with additional support for Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone)—interviews with two directors on this list (Messers Verhoeven and Bong) appear in the following pages.

And as a final note, please check out for a special web extra, a handsome nod to the director responsible for #9—a film I suspect might have had more support if, say, it had screened in Canada—in the form of a recently translated Serge Daney review of The Elephant Man. If while you’re there you want to subscribe or buy some back issues, well, all the better. (And I’m serious about the special readers-only email offer…read the magazine closely and you’ll see what I mean.)


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From the Magazine

  • Issue 87: Table of contents

    Alexandre Koberidze, Dasha Nekrasova,Radu Jude, Amalia Ulman, Monte Hellman, TV or not TV, Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen, Azor, New Order, Siberia More →

  • Remembering Women: Claudia von Alemann’s Blind Spot

    Cherchez la femme, they say. It sounds nice, but what this expression actually means is that woman is the root of all (male) problems, always to blame. Claudia von Alemann’s extraordinary Blind Spot (Die Reise nach Lyon, 1980), recently restored by the Deutsche Kinemathek in cooperation with the Institut Lumière, is a rare film that puts the pursuit of a woman at its heart—not so that she can be punished, not so that a man’s troubles can be explained, but so that her achievements might be rescued from oblivion and might, in the process, change another woman’s life. More →

  • Common Sense Connoisseur: The Critical Legacy of Bertrand Tavernier

    The two most cherished film books in the pile on my bedside table are in a language my command of which is rudimentary at best. But since both Jacques Lourcelles’ Dictionnaire du Cinéma – Les Films as well as Jean-Pierre Coursodon and Bertrand Tavernier’s 50 ans de cinéma américain have never been translated from French into either English or German, I gladly make do, filling the gaps with a mixture of autodidactic guesswork and occasional dictionary consultation, which for all its drawbacks has proved to be a viable method. More →

  • “I prefer, where truth is important, to write fiction:” On Radu Jude

    In the name of the popular, delighting in reduction and obviousness, a boring assertion: the common ground of every film movement christened a “new wave” over the last 70 years has tended toward revision, a self-conscious desire to provide a true image of the people in opposition to the distorted picture given by whatever relevant iterations of official culture. The banality of this claim can be measured by the volume of cant and platitude produced in support of it, often by the artists themselves. There is, I hope, little need to rehearse these arguments regarding realism, myth, and so on. Who today can help but squirm when faced with the phrase “true image of the people?” More →

  • Siberia (Abel Ferrara, Italy/Germany/Mexico/Greece/UK)

    Abel Ferrara is a changed man. While the evidence suggests that this is very good news for Ferrara himself and his immediate family, it could result in a minor schism in the manner in which his films are received. For most of his career Ferrara has been the subject of a Romantic cult that glorified his legendarily self-destructive behaviour, and often read this (literal) lawlessness as an integral part of his renegade creative vision. More →