Cinema Scope Issue 78 - Spring 2019

With unparalleled depth and breadth, Cinema Scope is one of the most respected English-language publications on film worldwide. Cinema Scope unites experienced critics from across North America with up-and-coming writers. Packed with reviews, essays, festival reports, and interviews, we’re geared to cinephiles looking for an intelligent forum on world cinema. “Advocates for a passionate, poltical and purist engagement with the movies”—The New York Times

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
editor’s note

Lying in a cozy bed covered by blankets and surrounded by paper is an image I can very much relate to, which helps explains this issue’s cover, the film from which it comes notwithstanding (OK, the film isn’t bad either). Such is the idealized image of the writer and/or editor, dating back at least to the time of Proust, though as far as I know we don’t have any moving-image documentary proof to validate this. But, as the saying goes, when in doubt print the legend. This free association, while trying to think of anything at all to write about besides the yearly top ten list—again, the product of a simple group poll of Cinema Scope writers and editors of films that debuted in the calendar year 2018—led me to…

20 min
audrey ii

Canadians don’t do sequels. Or at least we don’t do them that often: Don Shebib went Down the Road Again again in 2011, and Bruce McDonald got the band back together for Hard Core Logo 2 (2010); commercially oriented hits like Fubar (2002) and Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006) have been profitable enough to justify follow-ups. For the most part, though, ours is a cinema of self-contained, one-and-done narratives, geographically proximate but industrially and temperamentally separate from the franchise mentality of American studio moviemaking. But in the past few years, there has been a small cycle of interesting Canadian films whose creators eschew the conventions of sequels while still productively reusing or repurposing characters or scenarios, including Philippe Lesage’s skillful diptych Les démons (2015) and Genèse (2018), linked by the…

9 min
the exorcist

Barbara Loden re-emerges in fragments. Caught in a 1965 snapshot from street photographer Garry Winogrand, she cuts across a wedge of city sunlight; tufts of windblown hair halo her wary face as one high heel steps just out of frame. Elusive, she fascinates—a female flâneur frozen in the shimmering afterlife of a gelatin silver print. “I spent every day just walking and walking,” Loden said of her early New York years, “and I didn’t really know what I was going to do.” Decades later, in 2002, when the picture is mass-produced as a 37-cent photogravure stamp commemorating Winogrand, not Loden, she is already dead. “The image is ghostlike,” wrote Susan Loden in a press release identifying her sister, who, as the actor-writer-director of Wanda (1970)—the independently produced classic newly released…

10 min
presence and poetry

Since her passing in 1999, the Scottish poet, filmmaker, and visual artist Margaret Tait has become more visible and celebrated than she ever was in her lifetime, her modesty and reticence now replaced by the zeal of the many academics, curators, and archivists who have set about exploring and restoring her diverse body of work. This reclamation has been spearheaded most notably by Sarah Neely, who has established herself as the pre-eminent academic authority on Tait, and by the artist’s husband Alex Pirie, who provided much of the materials for the restoration project: Janet McBain and Alan Russell of the Scottish Screen Archive recalled how Pirie delivered a collection of 150 cans of film between October 1999 and October 2000, taking the overnight ferry across the Pentland Firth and arriving…

19 min
you can’t own an idea

Rare these days is the filmmaker who proclaims that cinema is firstly a medium of ideas rather than of images and sounds, and few have made the case as strongly as James N. Kienitz Wilkins. For the better part of the past decade, the 35-year-old New Yorkbased artist has occupied a singular position on the periphery of American independent filmmaking. His films—four features and seven short works for cinema, installation, and even planetarium (The Dynamic Range, 2018)—fail to easily place him within any particular scene or tradition. A classmate of Gabriel Abrantes and Alexander Carver’s at Cooper Union, he has, like them, straddled the film and art worlds; within the film festival context, he has moved freely between narrative and strictly experimental sections, not quite a new member of the…

18 min
to thine own self be true

It’s outrageous that it should have taken this long for Angela Schanelec to make it into the Competition of the Berlinale—and ironic, given that it was a review of her film Passing Summer (2001), published in Die Zeit, that originated the term “Berliner Schule.” That film landed in the festival’s Forum sidebar, as did Afternoon (2007) and Orly (2010), and it’s only Schanelec’s eighth full-length feature, I Was at Home, But…, that finally got her invited into the main slate. She went on to win the Silver Bear for Best Director, making her the latest Berlin Schooler—after Maren Ade (Everyone Else, 2009), Ulrich Köhler (Sleeping Sickness, 2011), and Christian Petzold (Barbara, 2012)—to nab a silver statuette from a festival that has always had a fraught relationship with the group. Schanelec herself…