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 cinema-scope.com 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

  • 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 →