Sunday, July 5, 2015

Episode #61 - James Gray (Nights of Cabiria)

"I believe in story. I think we need it."

Cinephilia begins with one thing: the love of a gesture, a line of dialogue, the way a camera moves. In the contemporary landscape of filmmaking, whose work better inspires cinephilia that of James Gray? The filmmaker of Little Odessa, The Yards, We Own The Night, Two Lovers, and The Immigrant joins Peter on the podcast to discuss his meteoric rise in the world of filmmaking, his attention to detail in trying to build each of his characters, the production process behind some of his most breathtaking shots, and the importance of story in cinema. Finally the two turn to Federico Fellini's 1957 masterpiece Nights of Cabiria, examining how the film conveys the most important aspect that art can do: the fundamental human decency of any person.

0:00-2:29 Opening
3:18-10:15  Establishing Shots - 3 Years of The Cinephiliacs
11:00-1:06:41 Deep Focus - James Gray
1:07:21-1:09:12 Mubi Sponsorship
1:10:10-1:22:01 Double Exposure - Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
1:22:04-1:25:45 Close / Outtakes
James Gray's films can be viewed on Google Play or purchase on DVD and/or Blu-Ray from most retailers. We recommend purchasing the 2005 DVD of The Yards, which is the only version of it that retains the film's original 2.35 aspect ratio.
Nights of Cabiria is available via The Criterion Collection.
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Episode #60 - Tim Grierson (Stop Making Sense)

"This idea that has always stayed with me is that movies are an art form for everyone."

After first watching Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, Peter went through a phase of going through the albums of Public Enemy. They were loud, rambunctious, and meant something in the same way the films he watched. But what happened to them after the summer of 1989? Tim Grierson's new biography of the group examines that question of perhaps the most important hip hop artists of all time, tracking both their meteoric rise and through their much-more-interesting-than-you've-been-told years that followed. Since Tim also works as a film critic, he sits down to trace his origins as a Midwestern boy coming to Los Angeles, his mindset for writing, and of course his book (along with his struggle with understanding a group so different from his own identity). The two then close out the conversation with another music-movie: Joanthan Demme's concert movie of the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, a film of ebullient surprise and joy, while also one of the most meticulously constructed documentaries ever put on screen.

0:00-2:44 Opening
3:02-10:03  Establishing Shots - Results and Pitch Perfect 2
10:48-1:30:04 Deep Focus - Tim Grierson
1:30:55-1:32:55 Mubi Sponsorship
1:33:50-1:58:10 Double Exposure - Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme)
1:58:14-1:59:57 Close / Outtake
Read Tim Grierson's Public Enemy: Inside The Terrordome, which available online and at most local retailers.
Read Tim's other writing at Deadspin, Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, Vulture, and at his blog. Follow him on Twitter.
Stop Making Sense is available on Blu-Ray and multiple streaming platforms.
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Sunday, June 7, 2015

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival (With Victor Morton)

"If it had been seen, we would all know this film backwards and forwards."

Peter may not have been able to attend the Cannes Film Festival this year, but a five hour drive to San Francisco resulted in discovering some of the most amazing and groundbreaking works of cinema...all made 80 years ago, and in a few cases, over a 100! Former podcast guest Victor Morton joins the podcast to discuss the 20th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, a five day event at the Castro Theatre, premiering new restorations and discoveries from an era of movies in which new artifacts are constantly being found and challenging the history of moving image aesthetics as we know it. From a silent version of a sound classic, to the Rube Goldberg of silent comedy, to gangs of women and quarreling children—Victor and Peter stand in awe of the work of filmmakers they had never even heard of before, and go in depth to films that with some time and effort could become part of the new canon of silent cinema.

0:00-13:37 Opening / All Quiet on The Western Front (1930)
13:54-23:39  A Trip Down Market Street (1906)
23:55-37:33 Visages D'Enfants (1925)
37:55-39:49 Mubi Sponsorship
40:07-51:50 Shorts by Charley Bowers (1926-1928)
52:14-1:00:20 Norrtullsligan (1923)
1:04:46 -1:17:37 The Swallow and the Titmouse (1920)
1:17:40-1:19:34 Close / Outtake
Read Victor Morton on his blog and check him out on Twitter.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Remembering James Agee (The Night of The Hunter)

"It is my business to conduct one end of a conversation, as an amateur critic among amateur critics. And I will be of use and of interest only in so far as my amateur judgment is sound, stimulating, or illuminating."

May 16th, 1955—60 years ago before this recording—James Agee died of a heart attack in the back of a New York taxi at the all too young age of 45. In his wake, he left a mountain of unprecedented writing, including the foundations for the first wave of serious film criticism in America. In this special episode, Scott Nye and Kristen Sales join Peter to discuss Agee's work and life. From his Southern roots in literature, including his poetic depiction of the depression, to his adoration of the silent comedies and vitriolic defense of one of Charles Chaplin's most contentious films. The conversation spreads from criticism to narrative prose to photography and finally to Agee's work within the moving image, especially his contribution to one of the all time great films, The Night of the Hunter.

0:00-4:19 Opening
4:40-22:30  "Comedy's Greatest Era" and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
23:05-33:39 On Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend
34:20-51:37 Monsieur Verdoux and "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
52:36-1:00:20 In The Street
1:00:56-1:03:15 Mubi Sponsorship - Mother and We Can't Go Home Again
1:04:22 -1:22:38 The Night of the Hunter 
1:22:42-1:24:49 Close / Outtake
Read Scott Nye at Criterion Cast and Battleship Pretension
Read Kristen Sales at Sales on Film.
Follow Scott on Twitter and Kristen on Twitter
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Episode #59 - Brian Darr (The End)

"I like being able to walk down the street and see all these hints of a movie that I've loved.'

From the ghostly fog of Vertigo to the vigilante ethos of Dirty Harry to the geometric paranoia of Zodiac, San Francisco has been a curious site for the movies. It's also an amazing land for cinephilia, and Brian Darr, a writer, programmer, and curator of the blog Hell on Frisco Bay, has made it his mission to trace how cinephilia continues to thrive through the city's repertory, experimental cinemas, and beyond. Brian traces his cinephilia from middle America to Thailand and back to San Francisco, slowly expanding his canon along the way. From there, the two discuss the way the city grew as an alternative to Hollywood, its use for both commercial and art filmmakers, and how the city grew such a reputation for celebrating the cinema of yesteryear. Finally, Brian brings in beat poet Christopher MacLaine's 1953 film The End, which presents both an apocalyptic discourse of living at the end of days, but also presents new ways of thinking and watching cinema.

0:00-2:16 Opening
3:02-51:32  Deep Focus -Brian Darr
52:40-54:56 Mubi Sponsorship - Blondes in the Jungle and Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
56:33 -1:15:10 Double Exposure - The End (Christopher MacLaine)
1:15:13-1:16:46 Close
Read Brian Darr at his blog, Hell on Frisco Bay. You can also read him at Senses of Cinema and Keyframe Daily.
Maclaine's The End is available on Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986. You can also watch the first 10 minutes here.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Episode #58 - Fernando F. Croce (Once Upon A Honeymoon)

"I think of films at these points where older films go into and newer films come out of."

Reading Fernando F. Croce's work, you get the sense that his criticism is more of an ode to the gods that create cinema than descriptions of moral material. They are filled with such romanticism and specificity that each line feels as intensely sculpted as the contours of a Bernini. So Peter was absolutely delighted to travel up to San Jose to talk about film with the Brazilian born critic, including the influence of Manny Farber, seeing art as a great unconscious that spills between films and beyond, and the two pillars that hold up this great art. The two then dive into the truly unique world of Once Upon A Honeymoon, a Leo McCarey romantic comedy following Cary Grant and Ginger Rodgers as they flee the Nazi invasion of Europe, creating a pathos that includes both sexual innuendo as well as sympathy for the plight of a soon to be exterminated people.

0:00-2:28 Opening
3:24-9:52 Establishing Shots - Rossellini's India: Matri Bhumi
10:37-53:20  Deep Focus - Fernando F Croce
54:05-56:40 Mubi Sponsorship - Boarding Gate and A Spell To Ward Off the Darkness
58:10 -1:24:36 Double Exposure - Once Upon A Honeymoon (Leo McCarey)
1:24:41-1:26:19 Close
Read Fernando F Croce at his website CinePassion, as well as on Slant, MubiReverse Shot, and Keyframe Daily. Follow him on Twitter.
Watch Once Upon A Honeymoon on YouTube or Amazon.

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