Toronto Has a New Feminist Film Journal
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Toronto Has a New Feminist Film Journal

Cléo's just-released first issue offers in-depth film criticism from a feminist perspective.

Detail of Cleo's first cover image

Detail of Cléo‘s first cover image.

In 1962, French director Agnès Varda released Cléo de cinq à sept, a film that remains greatly respected for its sophisticated ways of approaching existentialism and mortality, all through a strong feminist lens. It’s from this film—and in response to its vivid and varied depiction of how women perceive and are perceived—that Cléo, a new journal of film, film culture and feminism, has drawn its name.

The editor and founder of Cléo, Kiva Reardon is the staff film writer at and has written for publications like Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, and NOW Magazine (and also, incidentally, Torontoist). Cléo, however, has a different mandate than any of those outlets: first, to allow for a sophisticated and in-depth discussion of film, far beyond a review, through a feminist lens. And then, to provide opportunities for both emerging and established writers to publish their work. Other people involved in the project include managing editor Julia Cooper and contributing editor Mallory Andrews.

The journal will be published online on a quarterly basis, and so far there’s no charge for readers. The inaugural Spring 2013 issue is currently available. The theme of the issue, “flesh,” is explored in various ways. One essay examines body politics and biology in Zero Dark Thirty; another looks at the radical (and often extremely uncomfortable) ways that intimacy is portrayed in 1997’s Gummo and 2012’s Spring Breakers, both written and directed by Harmony Korine. Somewhere between an academic journal and mainstream film review, Cléo’s first issue artfully walks the line between accessibility and in-depth, well-researched inquiry.

The journal is currently accepting submissions for its second issue, the theme of which will be “home.” 200-word abstracts are due by May 1st 2013. As the editors explain: “for our second instalment we are interested in the ways space is rendered both onscreen and off. The topic of home is an opportunity to critically engage with gendered spaces.”