Well over half of the new issue of Cinema Scope is now freely accessible online. Alongside such excellent pieces as Michael Sicinski’s on Ulrike Ottinger and Adam Nayman’s on Charlie Kaufman are two interviews and two reviews tied to four films that either have screened or are about to at the New York Film Festival. Editor Mark Peranson has the cover story, a conversation with Gianfranco Rosi, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice for Sacro GRA (2013) and the Golden Bear in Berlin for Fire at Sea (2016). Rosi began shooting his new film, Notturno, which screens as part of the NYFF’s Main Slate from next Tuesday through October 11, around three years ago in parts of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon ravaged by ISIS.
In 2013, Peranson, working with Raya Martin, cast filmmaker Alex Ross Perry (Her Smell) in La última película, “a remake, or perhaps a reimagining,” as Calum Marsh put it in the Village Voice, of Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie (1971). Now Peranson has had Perry tackle Hopper/Welles, a 130-minute interview with Hopper conducted by Orson Welles in Los Angeles in November 1970, which would be, as Perry points out, after Hopper had completed “his totemic masterpiece” but before it was released, eviscerated by the critics, and ignored by moviegoers. At the time of Welles’s interview, in other words, Hopper was still the youngish maverick who had turned Hollywood upside down with his massive surprise hit, Easy Rider (1969).
The NYFF’s limited rental windows for the other two films covered in Cinema Scope have already opened and closed, unfortunately, but they’ll most definitely be back in one form or another. Filmmaker, DJ, and radio personality Ephraim Asili opened the inaugural edition of the festival’s new Currents program with The Inheritance, which James Lattimer calls “a playful, erudite, and boundary-blurring examination of what performing Black theory, literature, music, and testimony in a contemporary Philadelphia commune might set in motion. Given even greater topicality by the current moment, Ephraim Asili’s first feature has no problems transcending it, not least in its insistence on continuity and process. Too smart to trade in conventional activism and too wry and funky to feel overly academic, Asili’s unique project is ultimately about intertwining theory and practice and making sure both are passed on to the next generation, an idea that reverberates far beyond the walls of the house.”
Jordan Cronk has spoken with Asili for Artforum, and for Cinema Scope, he’s interviewed Nicolás Pereda, whose ninth feature, Fauna, has also screened in the Currents program. “Following a decade working at the intersection of fiction and documentary, Pereda has, in recent years, mostly forgone the aesthetics of nonfiction in favor of a unique form of narrative cinema in which real-world issues and anxieties are couched in forms at once grave and fantastical,” writes Cronk in his introduction. “Fauna charts a sidelong course around one of Mexico’s more pressing sociopolitical concerns—the impact of narco culture on Mexican society and its troubling representation in the media—by situating its characters within a subtly expanding dramaturgical framework in which notions of performance and identity are made to blur and reanimate as the narrative shifts between the quaint and the cryptic.”