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

  • 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 →