By Mark Peranson

Believe me or don’t, but it wasn’t until we started to lay out this issue maybe a week or so prior to my typing this that I realized, hey, we’ve reached Issue 75, three-quarters of the way to a century. I guess some people might consider 75 to be a kind of milestone, but those would be the type of people who actually enjoy celebrating their own birthdays. Some of my mental haze might have to do with my own busy schedule, or the general routine of ups and downs that continue to be associated with putting one of these motherfuckers to bed—trust me, it isn’t getting any easier, even after what’s now close to 20 years. (Has it really been that long? Maybe avoidance explains my lack of self-awareness. Just acknowledging that timespan makes me nauseous.) Or maybe by this point it’s all running on autopilot, if by that I mean a short-circuited autopilot that has problems swerving when a mountain is in its direct path.

So all of this is a preamble to my apologizing that you will find nothing especially celebratory in the following pages, just another example of an issue of a magazine devoted mainly to contemporary cinema that I don’t think has really changed all that much throughout its history in terms of the types of films that are covered—namely, those films that I and/or our writers find interesting, it’s as simple as that—and the kind and quality of writing that is presented. One could argue this expresses a latent conservatism associated with working in what is clearly a dying medium, and that is likely the case, with laziness being a root cause. But, of course, what does continue to change is our cast of contributors, with new folks joining the rotation on a yearly basis. I’m even willing to bet that the median age of our writers has stayed the same, if not decreased, even as I get older by the minute. We vampires need to suck on fresh blood to keep the heart pumping.

That the 75th issue also coincides with the annual Cannesapalooza, and that the Cannes coverage takes up a large percentage of the pages, kind of makes an editor’s note slightly redundant, as you’ll soon enough find me giving another opinionated four-page broken-record reading of this year’s nefarious Croisette goings-on (spoiler alert: there were films and they were great!). Again, I apologize—so Canadian!—if you experience some feelings of déjà vu, but I’ve tried to be more upbeat this time around; if you read between the lines, you’ll have realized by now that it’s part of a 20-year performance piece. And you will also notice that there are some featured articles about films that premiered in Cannes that are placed outside of the Cannes Spotlight proper, but you shouldn’t worry about that too much, I have my reasons.

I will take this significant anniversary to give thanks, though, to the hard-working Cinema Scope staff (who are far, far too numerous to mention by name in this circumscribed space), and also the federal and provincial governments, for without the generous subsidies available in the great country of Canada, none of this would be possible. I realize it sounds like I’m kidding, but truly this is not a joke, even if our incoming provincial government is. Shoot, I may have just intentionally torpedoed my own efforts, so maybe this is the last issue of Cinema Scope; if so, thanks for all the memories, and I’ll see you on the other side. But it would be nice to make it to at least a hundred, because even though it’s been a full 75 issues, we’ve only just Bi Gan.

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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 →