editorial essays

Tales from the Atelier Tovar
Donato Totaro, September 30, 2004
A review of Maddin's first collection of writings
The 'Quintus' Montreal Italian Film Festival Makes its Debut
Michael Vesia, September 30, 2004
Michael Vesia's report on the debut of Montreal's Italian Film Festival.
Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius
Louis Goyette, August 31, 2004
Fassbinder gets an exhaustive treatment in the recent book by Christian Braad Thomsen, and a likewise turn here by Louis Goyette.
Deathdream: The Return of 1970s Horror
Donato Totaro, August 31, 2004
Blue Underground's long awaited release of an important 1970's horror film....Canadian to boot.
The Hong Kong International Film Festival, continued (finally)
Peter Rist, July 31, 2004
Festival report which covers events from 2002 to 2004.
Fantasia 2004 Part 2: Selections from the International Programming
Donato Totaro, July 31, 2004
Part-two of Fantasia Festival report.
Fantasia 2004 Part 1: Selections from Japan (mainly) and Korea
Donato Totaro, July 31, 2004
Fantasia is back after a one year hiatus, stonger than ever.
The Vampire Lectures
Patrick Ellis, June 30, 2004
Can a series of fascinating lectures make for a good book?
La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
Peter Rist, June 30, 2004
A review of the Criterion DVD which suggests Criterion could have done more (or differently) this time around.
The Australian International Documentary Conference 2004
Sándor Lau, May 31, 2004
Hundreds of directors, producers, distributors, commissioners and others from all corners of the documentary industry from all corners of the world descended on Fremantle Western Australia for this year’s Australian International Documentary Conference (26-28 February).  Sándor Lau dives into the belly of the beast in search of its soul..
Lost in the Dark: The Elusive Film Noir
Patrick Ellis, May 31, 2004
Book review essay on that indomitable beast known as the film noir.
Band à part
Donato Totaro, May 31, 2004
A look back at a New Wave classic re-released in a spanking new 35mm print.
Journal d'un curé de campagne: DVD Review
Colin Burnett, April 30, 2004
The future finally looks bright for Bresson DVD enthusiasts. Burnett examines the follow-up Criterion Bresson release.
Review of Jane Sloan's Robert Bresson: A Guide to Sources and References
Colin Burnett, April 30, 2004
A look back to gauge the current relevancy of this early Bresson reference book.
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne: DVD Review
Colin Burnett, March 31, 2004
The future finally looks bright for Bresson DVD enthusiasts. Burnett examines the first Criterion Bresson release.
A Man Escaped
Pierre Pageau, March 31, 2004
Pageau revisits Bresson's 'prison' masterpiece after many years to be surprised all over again.
Light Keeps me Company
Donato Totaro, February 29, 2004
  A look at a documentary account of the life and art of one of cinema's greatest cinematographers, Sven Nykvist.
World Cinema: 2003
Peter Rist, February 29, 2004
  Rist reports on the best from around the globe.
By Brakhage: An Anthology
Brett Kashmere, January 31, 2004
  Review of the recent Criterion DVD that spans Brakhage's lifework.
Death Bed: A Lost Cult Classic
Donato Totaro, December 31, 2003
  Cult classic of the 1970s rediscovered and gets a small theatrical and DVD release.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Redux
Donato Totaro, November 30, 2003
  Review of the recent remake of Tobe Hooper 1974 classic.
Sex and Violence: Journey into Extreme Cinema
Donato Totaro, November 30, 2003
  Offscreen is pleased to announce the recent publication of a book co-written by author Tommaso La Selva and Offscreen’s man-in-Italy, Roberto Curti: Sex and Violence: journey into the cinema of the extreme. Totaro reviews this important Italian contribution to horror film scholarship.
Virgil Bliss: Low Budget Character Study (DVD)
Donato Totaro, October 31, 2003
  Review of the recent American low budget indie film, Virgil Bliss, released recently on DVD by First Run Features
FanTasia 2003 Report
Donato Totaro, September 30, 2003
  The first of two reports on the much anticipated FanTasia International Film Festival, back after a one year hiatus (July 17-August 10, 2003). This report concentrates on the contribution of low budget aesthetics.
Hiroshima Mon Amour (DVD Review)
Donato Totaro, August 31, 2003
  A review of Criterion's wonderful transfer of the Alain Resnais film which helped usher in the 1960s modernist cinema.
FanTasia 2003 Preview
Donato Totaro, June 30, 2003
  The long wait is over. After a one year hiatus for economic and logistical reasons, the FanTasia International Film Festival is back (July 17-August 10, 2003).
28 Days Later
Donato Totaro, June 30, 2003
  Sometimes it is a fine line between homage and imitation. With the plentiful allusions to George Romero’s classic zombie trilogy (Night of the Living Dead, 1968, Dawn of the Dead, 1979, and Day of the Dead, 1985) the line is perilously treaded in Danny Boyle’s latest pseudo zombie, science-fiction action thriller 28 Days Later.
Straw Dogs: DVD Review
Mark Penny, June 30, 2003
  Review of Criterion's new transfer of Sam Peckinpah's early 70s classic.
Koji Wakamatsu's Ecstasy of Angels
Donato Totaro, May 31, 2003
A round-up of some of the best from one of the more interesting National cinemas of the past few years.
Koji Wakamatsu's Go, Go Second Time Virgin
Donato Totaro, May 31, 2003
An in-depth DVD review of Wakamatsu's seminal Roman Porno film.
The Cranes are Flying
Donato Totaro, May 31, 2003
Socialist Realism During the Thaw: DVD review
AMIA: The Moving Image Journal
Donato Totaro, April 30, 2003
The Association of Moving Image Archivists journal's flagship issue.
Juan Lopez Moctezuma's Alucarda
Mark Penny, April 30, 2003
Alucarda: Forgotten Mexican Horror
Korean Cinema in 2002
Peter Rist, March 31, 2003
A round-up of some of the best from one of the more interesting National cinemas of the past few years.
A Visit to Korea: a Tale of Pi-Fan, 2001
Peter Rist, - 10-31-02
Hospitality Korean style makes Professor Rist's first (and certainly not last) trip to Pi-Fan (5th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival) an event to remember.
Scarlet Diva: Asia Argento's Torrid Home Movie
Donato Totaro, - 10-31-02
Iran has Samira Makhmalbaf and a famous father named Mohsen. Italy has Asia Argento and a famous father named Dario. The parallels pretty much stop there.
Vancouver 21st International Film Festival: A Review
Tim Newman, - 10-31-02
Offscreen welcomes Vancouver correspondent Tim Newman as it extends geographically to the Western coast. As a first-time coverage for Offscreen, Newman's descriptive prose captures the all-important ambience of one of Canada's premiere Film Festivals.
The 26th Montreal World Film Festival
Donato Totaro, - 10-31-02
Iranian cinema once again leads the way at the Montreal World Film Festival.
Stalker: DVD Review
Donato Totaro, - 09-30-02
The long wait for Tarkovskians is finally over. Stalker is out on DVD!
The Third Man: DVD Review
Donato Totaro, - 09-30-02
An in-depth analysis of Criterion's swank release of Sir Carol Reed's British noir classic.
The 25th and 26th editions of the Hong Kong International Film Festival
Peter Rist, - 08-31-02
Professor Peter Rist visits and revisits one of the most exciting Film Fests anywhere.
Zhang Yimou's The Road Home
Peter Rist, - 08-31-02
Kudos to Columbia-Tristar for their continued excellence in Asian DVD's.
Sergio Martino's All the Colors of the Dark
Donato Totaro, - 08-31-02
Perhaps not the best giallo ever made, but an interesting entry into the female paranoia film.
Comedia Film Festival: The Features
Donato Totaro, - 07-31-02
Perhaps still an appendice to the mega-Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the new programming crew are out to make a mark.
Comedia Film Festival: The Shorts
Randolph Jordan, - 07-31-02
Jordan turns his pen to the time honored comic form, the short.
The Incredible Film Fest, Part 1
Sandór Lau, - 06-30-02
Sándor Lau treats us to coverage of New Zealand's wackiest and most challenging festival
The Incredible Film Fest, Part 2
Sandór Lau, - 06-30-02
Part two: Korean films lead the way.
Mutek Part 1: Panels and Critical Discourse
Randolph Jordan, - 05-31-02
The first of an extensive, three part report on the music and sound festival Mutek.
Mutek Part 2: The Performances
Randolph Jordan, - 05-31-02
Part two.
Mutek Part 3: The Films
Randolph Jordan, - 05-31-02
Part three.
The Act of 'Seeing' With One's Own Eyes: A Look at Ivan Zulueta's 'Lost' Cult Movie
Roberto Curti, - 05-31-02
A long overdue look at Zulueta's 'lost' cult classic, Arrebato.
Donato Totaro, - 05-31-02
Firstrun Features does an admirable job with the DVD transfer of Dariush Mehrjui's excellent Leila.
Donato Totaro, - 04-30-02
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the movies, actor turned director Bill Paxton turns in an unsettling religious horror film.
The Limey
Donato Totaro, - 04-30-02
Steven Soderbergh balances arthouse modernism with convetnions of the classical genre to produce nouveau gangster chic.
Donato Totaro, - 04-30-02
A review which tries to capture the unique experience which is Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó.
Udine Far East Film Festival
Roberto Curti, - 04-30-02
A report on the fourth edition (2002) of one of the fastest growing Asian film festivals around.
Donato Totaro, - 03-31-02
An in-depth analysis of an overlooked silent film classic by Russian emigré Dimitri Kirsanov.
Drifting Clouds International Film Festival
Sándor W. Lau, - 03-31-02
An overview report on New Zealand's International Short film festival.
Cinefest 2002: An Overview
Donato Totaro, - 03-31-02
In wake of the untimely death of its founder Phil Serling, Offscreen looks at the first post-Serling Cinefest.
Things Never Said in Playa Perdida
Donato Totaro, - 01-31-02
Good things do come in small packages, with this subtle and delicate low budget digi-film that dignifies 24 hours in the life of two flawed, yet endearing losers, lovers Alex and J.D.
2001: Film Exhibition in Montreal: The Year in Review
Peter Rist, - 01-31-02
An analysis of the year that was. An improvement over 2000, according to Rist.
Oscar 2002 Predictions
Peter Rist, - 01-31-02
Frequent Offscreen contributor Peter Rist puts his reputation on the line with his fearless Oscar predictions. Check back in a few days to see why Rist usually wins the Oscar pool.
The Pleasures of Solitude
Michael Crochetière, - 12-31-01
A review of Robin Schlaht's recent Canadian feature Solitude
DVD Reviews: Japanese Silent Cinema, Mon Oncle, Big Deal on Madonna Street, Cane Toads, Jackson's Forgotten Silver, Red Desert, Scarlet Empress, Black Sunday, The Trial, The Limey, Leila, The Road Home, The Third Man, Stalker, The Ecstacy of Angels, Go, Go Second Time Virgin, The Cranes are Flying, Alucarda, Straw Dogs, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Virgil Bliss, By Brakhage: An Anthology, Death Bed, Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne: DVD Review, Light Keeps me Company, Journal d’un curé de campagne: A DVD Review Essay, La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game), Deathdream: The Return of 1970s Horror
Planet of the Apes, or, "Damn" those Screenwriters
Donato Totaro, - 08-09-01
Offscreen rarely reviews big budget Hollywood. But I am making an exception with the latest remake of Planet of the Apes, if only to reaffirm why it is that Offscreen treads cautiously when it comes to current Hollywood.
FCMM: Into the 21st Century
Donato Totaro, - 28-11-00
Asian films rule again at the 2000 FCMM.
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On: Excavating the Past
Donato Totaro, - 14-08-00
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On is an impassioned cinema verite-styled account of the one-man wrecking crew/dissident Okuzaki Kenzo, an ex-Private of the 36th Engineering Corps who fought in the West Pacific during World War 2. Read review of recent book on the film.
Fantasia Special: 1999 & 2000
Donato Totaro, - 21-07-00
A look back to Fantasia 1999 and a look forward to Fantasia 2000.
The 24th International Hong Kong Film Festival
Peter Rist, - 21-07-00
Read here about The 24th International Hong Kong Film Festival.
Buster Keaton Rides Again
Donato Totaro, - 12-07-00
Will Buster Keaton ever date? Unlikely, as this recent retrospective demonstrates.
Subterranean Passage: The Power Of Childhood Imagination
Donato Totaro, - 12-07-00
The Award winning Canadian experimental narrative film Subterranean Passage is a meticulously layered visual puzzle that slowly unravels through a series of echoing motifs on the wonder and resiliency of childhood imagination.
American Psycho
Donato Totaro, - 07-04-00
American Psycho is funny, irreverent, 'Hitchcockian', and much more.
Ghengis Blues
Donato Totaro, - 28-01-00
Genghis Blues touches the very core of the human soul -as great music does- and demonstrates with poetic simplicity how music can be the great cultural leveler. How else can you explain the immediate, symbiotic link that is established between a burly, blind, near-forgotten San Franciscan bluesman and the people of a remote Central Asian nation, Tuva?
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Valery Stepanov, - 12-05-99
At the last year's 33rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the main prize, the "Crystal Cube", went to the Canadian filmmaker Charles Binamé for his film Streetheart .
Three Films by Eisenstein
Christina Stojanova, - 12-05-99
Sergei Eisenstein has always been the pride of the Soviet cinema, but it was not until after perestroika, and especially after the collapse of Communism, that Russian theoreticians began to freely explore the national-psychological roots, cultural
AmérAsia: Korean New Wave and Beyond
Donato Totaro, 12-10-99
The 1st AmérAsia International Film & Video Festival (Dec. 3-Dec.12, 1999) is following a fairly recent Montreal trend in Asian themed film events, but differs in its slant.
Chinese Cinema: 1933-1949
Donato Totaro , - 12-05-99
From May 19th to May 30th Montreal will host an historically important cultural event when The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and IITS at Concordia University in association with Ciné-Asia present the film series: "Chinese Cinema: 1933-1949".
1999 International Festival of New Cinema, New Media
Jamie Gaetz, 12-01-99
The 28th International Festival of New Cinema and New Media set the marker posts on the route to the future. This one festival comprises two very separate events that, for the moment, have little to do with each other.
1999 International Festival of New Cinema, New Media
Donato Totaro, 11-19-99
The continual blur of Montreal Film festivals does not allow the seasoned filmgoer much chance to breathe, let alone contemplate each individual festival within the city's cinematic global whole.
The Cinémathèque Québécoise Goes Grand
Donato Totaro, 11-19-99
For its annual benefit screening, La Cinémathèque Québécoise offered a restored 35-mm print of Paul Leni's searing expressionistic historical drama, The Man Who Laughs.
Cinema du Parc does Repertory Well
Donato Totaro, 11-19-99
My curiosity about a film entitled Burn, Witch, Burn has been peaked since the day I purchased an original one-sheet of the film in the mid-1970's. With the film still unavailable on video, I had written off the likelihood of every seeing the film.
One on one with Annabel Chong
Mark Penny, - 10-19-99
During the 1999 Fantasia Film Festival Montrealers were "graced" with the presence of Grace Quek (alias Annabel Chong), in town promoting a documentary about her life entitled SEX: The Annabel Chong Story, directed by Canadian filmmaker Gough Lewis.
Donato Totaro , - 03-05-99
Affliction is a powerful account of domestic male violence and a man trapped within its vicious circle. Nick Nolte is the trapped man Wade Whitehouse, the town's part-time sheriff and all-around handyman, and son to Glen Whitehouse (sublimely played
Donato Totaro , - 03-05-99
Sopyanje is a stirring Korean style road movie that weaves emotive Korean folk music (Pansori) and pastoral landscapes with a powerful plea for Korean identity.
Where Opera Weds Painting
Jamie Gaetz, - 23-10-98
The Roes' Room marries opera with painting-like images in an intricate and enthralling homage to the wonder of youth. Majewski uses both the fine arts and the vitality of the natural world to induce a sense of the richness of his life as a child and
New Cinema 27
Daniel Lynds, - 19-10-98
The latest incarnation of the Festival of New Cinema and New Media(FCMM) runs from October 15 to 25 and seems to be another attempt at redefining itself.
Mother and Son
Donato Totaro , - 23-09-98
I have left for last the most powerful alienating effect on nature, Sokurov's use of special distorting lenses and mirrors that give the image an oblique, quivering feel. It is a unique form of distortion, one that has had many viewers baffled. When
Concerning a Mannequin in Tibet
Daniel Lynds, - 12-02-98
Killer Condom
- 25-10-97
Germany has a rich tradition of serial killer films, going back to Fritz Lang's classic M (1931), but not much will prepare you for serial killer condoms!
The Prophecy (God's Army)
- 25-10-97
Every now and then a horror film comes out that reaffirms one's tenuous faith in the Hollywood "major" Independent studios. The Prophecy is one such film.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
- 25-10-97
This is by far the best Freddie film since the original in 1984. Only a fresh comparison between them would decide which of the two is better.
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
- 25-10-97
« a quietly dark, sinister reworking of The Island of Dr. Moreau and various children's tales (Tom Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer)»
Donato Totaro , - 25-10-97
Freaked is an offbeat, somewhat juvenile contemporary rehash of Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932) and Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932).
In the Mouth of Madness
Donato Totaro , - 25-10-97
Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness, though not based on any specific work of H.P. Lovecraft, is one of the most Lovecraftian films ever made. It makes a nice companion piece to fellow horror-auteurist Wes Craven's New Nightmare as films that explor
(October 4, 12:00pm - 12:00am)
Donato Totaro , - 25-10-97
For the uninitiated (which included me) Eurofest is a one-day smorgasbord of European horror and sleaze that has included over its four-year life-span zombie mayhem, giallo madness and action-adventure.
Kenji Mizoguchi: The Master
Donato Totaro , - 18-09-97
In 1996 James Quandt, programmer for the Cinematheque Ontario in collaboration with the Audio-Visual Division of the Japan Foundation,Tokyo organized the film series, "Mizoguchi The Master." The series included stops along New York, Edmonton, Van
Two Films by Shin Sang-Ok
Donato Totaro , - 18-09-97
Having seen only three of the 60 plus films directed by Sang-Ok it may be premature to start tossing out superlatives, but his films seen at the recent Cinematheque Canada’s (CCA) "Three Korean Master Filmmakers" series represent one of the major
Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Retrospective
Donato Totaro , - 18-09-97
From what I’ve seen so far Mohsen is at least the equal of Abbas Kiarostami, and in terms of eclecticism, commands a much more varied cinematic style. It’s also apparent that the spirit of neo-realism and Zavattini’s ideals about making social
India x 2
Donato Totaro , - 17-09-97
The two great pillars of Indian cinema, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, made remarkable, though considerably different, films in 1958: The Music Room and Ajantrik.
Asian Potpourri
Donato Totaro, 17-09-97
In Asian potpourri, the adventurous reader will find a series of loosely connected reviews of films from Iran (from this past year's Festival of International Cinema and New Media) and Central Asia.
Necrophilic Art: Kissed and Aftermath
Donato Totaro , - 22-07-97
Both the Canadian Kissed and Spanish Aftermath deal with the taboo subject of necrophilia. However, the respective filmmakers Lynne Stopkewich and Nacho Cerdà are as far apart in approach as there native countries are geographically.
love god
Donato Totaro , - 21-07-97
The Love God is easily one of the most wildly inventive, original American genre films of recent years. It seems to re-invent itself as it goes along, spewing forth a barrage of sound and image that defies easy genre categorisation or simple plot syn
Daniel Lynds, - 17-07-97
Somewhere between a poem and an essay
Sarah Rooney, - 17-07-97
Linoleum floors, toy horses, souvenirs, ash trays, slippers, sagging skin, shriveled hands, truth and dare; CUT THE PARROT is a tragic comedy with an artist and caste of marginal performers whose guttural monologues take on the characteristics of
Sarah Rooney, - 17-07-97
WINDOW : (n) 1: "Inner rhythms : The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret they mainly make models.
Daniel Lynds, - 17-07-97
Put your head in the hand of the hand and build a new foundation under the old. Before it begins show a few frames of what's to come. Then begin. Begin with the pretense that improvisation is of the moment. Not necessarily a moment that recaptures
Donato Totaro , - 17-07-97
SHANGHAEID TEXT is an interesting experimental short that blends original footage with a variety of found footage (Soviet and Hollywood films, soft porn, riot footage).
The Beyond, Lucio Fulci, Italy, 1981
Donato Totaro , - 10-07-97
Fant-Asia's screening of Lucio Fulci's gothic zombie masterpiece The Beyond on Sunday, July 27 at 21h50 is something to really get excited over. Seeing this gorgeously photographed gem in 35mm on the Imperial's huge screen is an event no died-in-t