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Cinema Scope

Cinema Scope Issue 77 - Winter 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
ken jacobs’ nervous magic lantern

Ken Jacobs moves secretively in the halfdark that surrounds his apparatus. (“I’m terrible at keeping secrets,” he later admits to the assembled crowd.) Every ten minutes or so, Flo Jacobs exchanges one of what might be a dozen or so miniature flying saucers with her husband, who feeds the elaborately adorned platters into a large, mysterious box. As overflowing with uncontainable luminosity as Kiss Me Deadly’s whatsit, this contraption is Jacobs’ Nervous Magic Lantern, a legendary device known to sculpt painted light into tangible space. The place was the REDCAT theatre in Los Angeles this past October, the performance entitled Metropolis Looms And The Bad Maria Is Tuned Up, but it could have been one of the many darkened rooms in which the Jacobs and their Lantern have endeavoured to reinvent…

9 min
ghost operas

“I think that to write the music for that scene was also his way to tell it…You almost have the impression that his script for the scene is the colour and the sound, that’s it.” Bertrand Bonello is here referring to a scene from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), in which the doomed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) sways to a sinister, druggy rhythm on a roadhouse dance floor bathed in red light. The bar band is playing Lynch’s own composition “The Pink Room” (one of the few Twin Peaks tracks not written primarily by Angelo Badalamenti), and the imposingly bassy and tremolo-soaked performance overwhelms every other element of the soundtrack. It’s like a glimpse into Laura’s haunted soul: there seems only to be that throbbing song,…

20 min
learning to live together

“Nevertheless, what are truly characteristic of dreams are only those elements of their content which behave like images, which are more like perceptions, that is, than they are like mnemic presentations.” Written, as it was, in historical parallel with the moment of cinema’s birth, it is tempting to invert Dr. Freud’s argument and understand it as the earliest theory of one major strain of cinematic production, that one whose roots took hold in the last years of the ’20s and whose first full blossoms were brought forth by Maya Deren. Since Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), much of the most sophisticated filmmaking has given its energies to the creation of images which are, before anything else, opportunities for fresh and startling perception, as opposed to inducements to recognition and remembrance…

3 min
editor’s note

And now, a few thoughts on the occasion of attending the revitalized Marrakesh International Film Festival and the industry Atlas Workshops on African and Middle Eastern cinema that, you might be surprised to learn, was sponsored by none other than Netflix. Soon after arriving in Morocco I had the occasion to attend an unsurprisingly jam-packed conversation with Martin Scorsese, a regular visitor to Marrakesh. (This year he brought De Niro along, who had the luck to be interviewed onstage by Maïwenn, but alas I missed that one.) Most of Marty’s answers were predictable enough for anyone who has followed his career even tangentially (his discovery of Italian neorealism, Elia Kazan, religion, etc.), but things took a bit of an odd turn when he started ranting against the state of film…

12 min
against oblivion

“Right now a moment is fleeting by!”—Paul Cézanne“Memory demands an image.”—Bertrand Russell“I don’t make movies about my life. I live my life like a movie.”—Lana Del Rey How often has a film or artwork been praised for capturing or visually demonstrating the ineffable? But what about the indelible, that which lays claws on us, refuses to let go, and continues to alternately haunt and inspire? To restate the oft-said: cinema is inherently imbued with ghosts and phantasms as much as fantasies—projections from one person’s mind to that of another. We can revisit and debate all we want the aesthetic and psychoanalytic theories about film’s abilities to resuscitate the past, to animate a moment locked in time, and to replay it over and over again, but one thing remains certain and is…

6 min

The strangest aspect of the resurgence of Mexican cinema over the past decade-plus is that three of the country’s four filmmakers with the most international impact left Mexico behind. While Carlos Reygadas stayed home to create a body of work on facets of Mexican reality and unreality, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, and Alejandro González Iñarritu gave the impression that they couldn’t wait to get out of Mexico soon enough. In Hollywood’s embrace, all of them, in an unprecedented run for directors originating from a non-English-speaking country, have won the Best Director Oscar. This isn’t the place to ponder why these three—Cuarón the closest to an artist, Iñarritu a blatant self-marketer (suitable for someone who came up through advertising), del Toro a readily employable fan-boy director for Hollywood—abandoned the endlessly…