While the stark design bespeaks utilitarian concerns rather than voguish minimalism, a great deal of care is put into this particular public scrapbook. Curated by unabashed Francophile David Davidson, the “found” items on Toronto Film Review largely consist of Cahiers du cinéma and Positif articles from various eras, some translated, others summarized, and all lovingly prefaced. Come here to find Stéphane Delorme’s 2012 appreciation of Philippe Garrel’s L’Enfant secret, or Eighties considerations of Steven Spielberg not readily available in English anywhere else. (Davidson’s translations have been sanctioned by the magazine itself through retweets.) His examinations of past editorial regimes at Cahiers and Positif are also insightful, enriched by scans of old spreads and covers.
Embedded YouTube clips of rare documentaries are another of the site’s specialties (one post juxtaposes mid-Eighties docs on Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard to reveal the similarities between the two), but so is the featured writing by the site’s own editor. Davidson’s work spans academic papers (the one on French film criticism before 1951 is invaluable), notes on new releases (from Denis Côté’s Bestiaire to Jo Sung-hee’s A Werewolf Boy), discussions with fellow Toronto-based critics, book reviews, and thoughts on recent festivals. Unlike many compulsive compilers, he’s actually read and thought about all the stuff to which he links. While that may seem unremarkable, it’s increasingly rare in an ecosystem mostly populated by listicles and cultural-studies concepts clumsily grafted onto plot summaries.