By Mark Peranson
An editor’s note is a safe space that is wholly devoted to allowing me to write about that which I want, and I did consider coming up with some words on the most impressive moving-image event for me in 2021—which, of course, is Peter Jackson’s jaw-dropping The Beatles: Get Back, the Out 1 of music documentaries (release the 40-hour Jackson cut!). But more and more, I’m not inclined to give my two-pence-worth on these things, probably because internet squirrels are scratching away at the bodies before they are even cold, so that by the time this periodical comes around the corpses have been pecked clean to the bone.
I guess if someone held a gun to my head, Get Back would have a place on my year-end list, but frankly, I’m more inclined to consider what has truly been occupying my mental energy the last few months and come up with the top ten moments in Canadian soccer from 2021—as far as competitions go, give me the Mundial over the Oscars any day. Better yet, leave the Oscars to one of Italy or Portugal, who, unlike Canada, will be staying home for Qatar 2022.
Yes, the time has come for Canadian soccer to get back to the golden year of 1986, to get back to the World Cup where it once belonged (albeit, without scoring a goal). More than qualification, as this is a given, my wish for the new year is to see the Canadian film community rally around the Voyageurs: where are the Cronenberg and Egoyan PSAs ramping up nationalist pride alongside coach John Herdman? Fuck Drake, let’s see Guy Maddin sitting bundled up in the stands dressed in all Canada red! Tiff.net, I follow you, and rather than ask us to name our favourite sequels in order to promote Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II, why don’t you generate some interest for something important once in a while? And get Alphonso Davies on the red carpet come next September! (I haven’t forgotten the Canadian women’s Olympics gold medal, but their general excellence—they’re currently ranked sixth in the world—and their World Cup qualification is always a given.)
Now, you might ask yourself, how does this busy film programmer and magazine editor/publisher find the time to watch all this soccer? Shouldn’t he be spending 24 hours a day watching Vadim Kostrov films? (Surely another one has been made since I started writing this editor’s note.) This is a very North American attitude, and shame on all of you. Well, it is true that time zones help: I watched Canada run rampant over Mexico in the cold and snow of Edmonton’s Iceteca at 2:00 a.m. in a seedy London hotel over horrible premium WiFi; Mexican filmmakers are banned from these pages until the end of qualifying. I even procrastinated writing this short text by watching the MLS Cup, and, unlike a certain Québécois filmmaker I know, I never watch MLS, because who has the time? Truth be told the most virulent football fans I know are co-workers and filmmakers, including but not limited to Corneliu Porumboiu, and I don’t think this obsession is a mere distraction from our work. But I’m not about to do a Serge Daney tennis-style unpacking here, as Jonathan David’s Lille kicks off in ten minutes.
To conclude this chapter on a sad note, I do want to pay tribute here to someone who cares nothing about football, or contemporary cinema, for that matter, as I’ve been given notice that this is going to be the last appearance of Chuck Stephens’ Exploded View column. These pages remain open for any future contributions, Chuck, and you can always change your mind—as long as I can motivate myself to continue, hopefully you can as well.
editor's note, Get Back, The Beatles