Cinema Scope Issue 88 - Fall 2021

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

Cinema Scope Publishing
4 Issues

in this issue

4 min
editor’s note

After a year’s hiatus from the Croisette, we’re back with our first ever fall issue devoted to Cannes, which took place in July in the middle of a pandemic, in case you forgot. Because it was summer and travel was permitted, I followed the many, many movies I saw at Cannes with a relaxing vacation on a COVID-free, beach-heavy island, where the only film I watched was, appropriately, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old. The extended gap between Cannes and our publication date gave me way too much freedom to think things over. This led to a horribly tortuous writing process that took a lot out of me, and has aged me decades in the few hours it took to write this note; and, yes, I realize how privileged this all sounds.…

19 min
i remember everything

“When he came to, the present was almost intolerable in its richness and sharpness, as were his most distant and trivial memories… Now his perception and his memory were infallible.”—Jorge Luis Borges, “Funes the Memorious” Amongst the research materials, set photographs, email correspondence, and treatment excerpts included in Fireflies Press’ new artist’s book on the making of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria is the story of Eduardo, proprietor of the derelict Cinema Roman in Bogota, Colombia. As the tale goes, Eduardo grew up in the ’50s doing odd jobs for the theatre’s original owner, who, after fleeing to Armenia to escape the era’s political turmoil, was still able to financially support his two sons’ medical studies through the revenue generated by the cinema. The two sons eventually opened Bogota’s first hospital. Meanwhile, Eduardo…

12 min
to sir, with love

Like all of Maria Speth’s films, Mr. Bachmann and His Class is a sharply observed portrait of people negotiating their way through uncertain, liminal spaces. At the same time, the documentary marks a sharp turn in Speth’s filmmaking approach, something all the more notable given the remarkable consistency of her first four films. The Days Between (2001), Madonnas (2007), Daughters (2014), and the documentary 9 Lives (2011) were all characterized by Speth’s intensive focus on individuals (mostly young women) living on the margins of contemporary German society who actively flout the rules of bourgeois decorum as well as sexist assumptions about how “proper” women ought to behave. By contrast, Speth’s new film finds her practically reinventing her approach to cinema. Clocking in at 217 minutes, Mr. Bachmann is as capacious as…

21 min
next stop eternity

I Peter Tscherkassky’s 20-minute film Train Again unearths some new materialist marvels while expanding on those typically Tscherkasskian sensations the Austrian filmmaker achieves through the technique of contact printing, in which found footage is copied by hand, frame by frame, onto unexposed film stock. His announcement reads as follows: “18 years after Kurt Kren produced his third film, 3/60 Bäume im Herbst (3/60 Trees in Autumn), he shot his masterpiece 37/78 Tree Again. 18 years after I created my third darkroom film L’Arrivée (an homage to the Lumiere brothers and their 1895 L’arrivé d’un train), I embarked on Train Again. This film is an homage to Kurt Kren that simultaneously taps into a classic motif in film history. My darkroom ride took a few years, but we finally arrived: All aboard!” II Before…

17 min
do the hustle

If you follow Sean Baker’s Letterboxd account—as of this writing, more than 68,000 people do—you may have noticed his deep dive into sexploitation and commedia sexy all’italiana (especially those featuring the Lolita-esque Ornella Muti) during much of the latter half of last year. (Not to mention a couple rewatchings of The Sugarland Express [1974].) One of American cinema’s most studious filmmakers, Baker was prepping for his typically resourceful new film, Red Rocket, which came together in a flash in time to premiere in the Cannes Competition yet nevertheless feels like a wholly resolved, even necessary object. Set in Texas City against the backdrop of the looming 2016 election and filmed amidst an ongoing pandemic, Red Rocket is a portrait of two overlapping Before Times that itself frames a narrative image…

9 min
trouble up north

While parental absence is a key trope of so many of the Spielberg(ian) youth films of ’80s Hollywood cinema—not only E.T. (1982), but also The Outsiders (1983), Explorers (1985), The Goonies (1985), Stand by Me (1986), The Monster Squad (1987), et al.—the aloneness of the young protagonists is always more a matter of narrative pretext than actual subject. Loneliness in these boy-centric films is only the necessary condition for the characters’ adventures, and is quickly remedied by burgeoning (male-only) friendships, parental reconciliations, or both. It’s thus all the more interesting to note the emergence of a series of independent films from the same period, all of them orbiting around young female characters—including Martin Bell and Mary Ellen Mark’s documentary Streetwise (1984), Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk (1985), and Bill Forsyth’s Housekeeping…