Volume 10, Issue 12 / December 2006
In this issue
The Rules of His Game
From Repertoire to DVD
The Whole Film Dances: The Criterion Collection edition of Powell and Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffman
Cinema Does Opera
The examples of Snatch and Carne Trémula
With this last issue of 2006 Offscreen succumbs only slightly to the common temptation of year-end reviews. Only the first two pieces can be considered as ‘round-ups,’ with Peter Rist’s overview of cinema screening in Montreal the hold-out in the conventional sense of the term. Editor Donato Totaro’s essay approaches the year-end piece from an all-together different perspective, reflecting on what was (I think) the last major attempt to form a definitive film canon of 2006, Paul Schrader’s essay “Canon Fodder” in the October issue of Film Comment. No sooner was the issue out a few days, and I started receiving several emails from (mostly upset) colleagues complaining about Schrader’s canon. If the amount of feedback a canon generates is any indication of worth (which at some level it is), then Schrader’s canon passes mustard. However, as Totaro concludes, Schrader’s canon is also marked by the all-too human (inevitable?) temptation to select films out of personal taste and interest rather than preconceived notions of ‘objective’ criteria. The next two pieces are only tangentially linked by their (by and large) British cinema content. Paul W. Salmon delves deeply into both the film itself and the Criterion DVD edition of the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cinematic opera The Tales of Hoffman. One of the two case study films in Heather Macdougall’s essay “Local and Global Identity in European Film” is British, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. In it Macdougall outlines the ways in which sensibly budgeted European films strategically position themselves as ‘European’ products to compete with larger budgeted American films. In the concluding essay author Linda J. Merelle’s employs close textual analysis to outline the strange synchronicities among three filmmakers you would not normally speak of in the same breath: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Luc Besson, and Jean-Pierre Melville.