Weekly Roundup: Canada’s Top Ten, the magic of Kristen Stewart, and film festival self-reflection

Your handy one-stop-shop for cinephile news, articles, and videos from the week that was.

By Josh Cabrita

News Roundup

This past week film theorist Thomas Elsaesser passed away at the age of 76. As one of the pioneers of American film studies, Elsaesser’s legacy cannot be underestimated. The University of Amsterdam has done a fine job in eulogizing him. 

In collaboration with the Vancouver Film Critics Circle and the Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma, TIFF has determined their annual Canada’s Top Ten list. Many of these films played VIFF this past year, but you’ll have another chance to see Anne at 13,000ft when it screens this Saturday as part of our Catalyst Screening and Artist Talk series. Writer-director Kazik Radwanski will be in attendance to discuss his process. This event is intended for emerging filmmakers and will be free of charge.

I’m trying to limit the number of lists included in this Roundup, but here are a few more that are worth noting. Cahiers du cinéma has announced their top ten films of the decade, which isn’t as outlandish as you might suspect; Film Comment counted down their top twenty films of 2019; and Michael Sicinski, an expert in experimental cinema, released his 30 favorite avant-garde features of the 2010s. In February, as part of a new film series programmed by yours truly, VIFF will screen the film occupying the number four spot on this list, The Giverny Document (Single Channel) by American independent filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary.

Reading Roundup

Personal Shopper

“Magic doesn’t lend itself to language or analysis, and this is why it is sometimes difficult to talk about Kristen Stewart.” In the latest edition of her Film Comment column, Present Tense, Sheila O’Malley has done an excellent job analyzing the various performances of Kristen Stewart, finding parallels between the acting style of the former Twilight star and that of Hollywood stalwarts like Greta Garbo.

“Film festivals have jumped into this fray with public forums, panels and talks at which emboldened filmmakers and a new crop of festival directors and programmers debate thorny questions.” For Filmmaker Magazine, Abby Sun discusses the ways that film festivals are adapting to progressive movements while also maintaining the status quo. This is a vital piece about the challenges of enacting real change within large institutions.

Cineaste has released their Winter 2019 edition. Some of the free online articles include an essay on the historical background of Dolemite is My Name and its blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore, and a report from this year’s Locarno Film Festival.

For the VIFF Blog, our Associate Director of Programming Curtis Woloschuk examines the parallels between Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and the director’s previous divorce drama, The Squid and the Whale. Marriage Story plays the Vancity Theatre throughout the month of December.

Viewing/Listening Roundup

Magnolia recently released the trailer for Corneliu Porumboiu’s surprise genre film The Whistlers, which played VIFF this past year and is set for theatrical release early in March 2020.

When word broke that pioneering structuralist filmmaker Michael Snow would be making an IMAX follow-up to his 1971 masterpiece La Région centrale, it was unclear whether the new film, titled Cityscape, would ever screen beyond its Images Festival premiere. But its inclusion in the TIFF Canada’s Top Ten seems to indicate that the film will be available in formats other than IMAX, which means that it might just come to a theatre near you. Here’s our first look at Cityscape, a ten second clip which provides only a semblance of its kaleidoscopic pleasures.

The Criterion Collection will be releasing Wim Wenders epic sci-fi film, Until the End of the World, and with it, a remaster of film’s soundtrack, which features contributions by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. 


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