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Cinema Scope

Cinema Scope Issue 76 - Fall 2018

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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Cinema Scope Publishing
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min
editor’s note

The night that Mariano Llinás arrived in Locarno, I ran into him drinking with his producer Laura Citarella and a few friends, occupying a few tables in a streetside café. Soon after I joined them, I asked Llinás the most pressing question in my mind about his 14-hour La Flor: “What’s the deal with Canada?” Allow me to explain. At the start of Episode 4 of La Flor, a mini-revolt by the four actresses—who by this point are very familiar faces to the viewer—is in progress. Having worked six years on the film La Araña, they aren’t about to tolerate the director parachuting in a new producer, nor are they pleased with the fact that they haven’t been given a script, nor do they like their characters and costumes: a native,…

28 min
teller of tales

To begin, a question: What exactly is La Flor? It’s a pertinent query, albeit one with no easy answer, so let’s break it down. The first thing to know about La Flor is that, yes, it’s a 14-hour-long film—868 minutes to be exact, including intermissions and what must be a record breaking 40-minute end-credits sequence. But these talking points also obscure much of what makes Mariano Llinás’ ten-year passion project such an approachable—dare I say accessible—feat of populist filmmaking. For starters, La Flor is not a film in the traditional sense: rather, it’s a number of films, all but one of which happens to be rather traditional. Comprised of six discrete episodes, La Flor is what we might call an anthology film, in that a number of individual narratives, each working…

9 min
tous les garçons et les filles

On the basis of Les démons (2015) and his latest film Genèse—I haven’t caught up yet with Copenhague, a Love Story (2016) or his documentaries—Saint-Apagit-born writer-director Philippe Lesage is already one of the strongest stylists in Canadian cinema, cultivating, in collaboration with the gifted cinematographer Nicolas Canniccioni, a distanced, gliding camera style that echoes of contemporary fest-circuit heavyweights (including Haneke and Östlund) but imbued with its own palpable aesthetic and dramatic rationale. Both Les démons and Genèse—which premiered in Locarno in August before seemingly being bypassed in favour of who knows what by TIFF—have been reliably described by reviewers as semi-autobiographical coming-of-age stories: studies, respectively, of adolescent fear (via Les démons’ horror-inflected atmospherics) and desire, in Genèse’s parallel goodbye-first-love narratives. This taxonomy is true enough, but it’s also reductive. There are…

11 min
touch me i’m sick

The phony magazine cover glimpsed in the early moments of Her Smell may not have the same heady metatextual allure as that of so many journals invented out of whole cloth and newsprint for narrative purposes, like the must-read issues of Dorgon and Kill Weekly on the newsstands in Blade Runner (1982) or the original Spy magazine that employed Mike Connor in The Philadelphia Story (1940). But the sight of the three members of the film’s fictional band Something She getting giddy and goofy as they show off their first SPIN cover—complete with the none-more-1994 cover lines “Beck: This Loser’s Not Weeping” and “London’s Rave Scene: Welcome to the Jungle”—does serve a few purposes besides inducing a nostalgic pang in former subscribers. Along with the stage sequence of the band…

12 min
first person plural

It begins with a death, of course, the first of the many quotations, slips, and rhymes coursing through The Other Side of the Wind, now finally arrived, more than 50 years after word of its conception first entered public circulation, in a saleable form, if not a definitive one. Though I must defer the work of surveying the distance between the film which enters the market bearing this title and the film its ghostly author, Orson Welles, would have signed his name to had history unfolded otherwise, the matter of intent, of authorship, of the director as auteur, is integral to its present coherence, and so cannot be avoided as an internal concern. This is to say that a foundational rhyme between the film now given to us and its…

14 min
everything transitory is but an image

When Goethe wrote his Faust, adapting the German legend about a scholar who makes a pact with the Devil to attain total knowledge, could he have foreseen how incisive his indictment of human hubris would be across epochs? How durable his critique of the Enlightenment would be, not only for his age of skepticism but also our own? In cinema, which benefited from pre-established knowledge in theatre, poetry, and prose, the Faust legend occupies a privileged place, ranging from Murnau’s indelible late-silent masterpiece to Sokurov’s Golden-Lion-winning reimagination of versions by Goethe and Thomas Mann in 2011. As early as 1903, Edwin S. Porter and Alice Guy-Blaché had adapted the supernatural tale, using its stable of fantastical imagery—demons and dames, murder and lust—as a subject of their films. Drawing inspiration from…