Sunday, July 24, 2016

Episode #82 - James Schamus (The Tall T)

 
"When adapting, the fundamentals you are left with are the words and gestures and actions and interactions of characters."

How does one reconcile the ideas of artistry in cinema, the kind of magic of cinephilia that we see each time we look up at the screen, with the business practices that often painted as limiting it? James Schamus has somehow made a career of toeing this (likely constructed) dichotomy, helping produce some of the early independent films of the 1990s before becoming the co-founder of Focus Features, which made films like The Pianist, Atonement, Brokeback Mountain, and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as a collaborator of Ang Lee, writing the screenplays for The Ice Storm, Ride With The Devil, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. James discusses this work between the politics of making art for specialty audiences, as well as his interest in the very nature of art through his work as a theorist and professor at Columbia University. They then turn to his directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth's Indignation, and what it means to modulate performance. Finally, the two discuss Budd Boetticher's 1957 hostage western The Tall T, and what a specialty art house producer can learn from watching Randolph Scott contemplate existence in this low budget western.

0:00-3:57 Opening
5:08-17:11 Establishing Shots — 4 Years of The Cinephiliacs
17:56-1:06:20 Deep Focus — James Schamus
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:12:33-1:22:44 Double Exposure — The Tall T (Budd Boetticher)
1:22:50-1:27:00 Close // Outtake
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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life and Something More: Abbas Kiarostami Remembered

Abbas Kiarostami, born in 1940 in Tehran, turned to filmmaking in 1970 when he helped set up the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. He had made a half dozen shorts and one feature, The Report in 1977, before the Iranian Revolution changed the public face of his country. While many filmmakers moved away in search of more creative freedom, Kiarostami continued to direct. Around the early 1990s, his films suddenly found an international foothold at festivals via the Koker trilogy and his most famous work, Close-Up. In 1997, he won a Palm D’Or for Taste of Cherry, helping paint the way for Iranian filmmakers to find an audience abroad. His filmmaking only became more cryptic and complex, especially with his early adoption of digital cinema with Ten and the self-reflexive documentary, Ten on Ten. His final films, Certified Copy and Like Someone In Love, were his only made outside his native Iran. Kiarostami passed away on July 4, 2016. In this special episode of the podcast, Amir Soltani, Tina Hassania, and Carson Lund join the podcast to celebrate the life and work of one of the legendary filmmakers to emerge on the world cinema stage.

0:00-2:49 Opening
2:49-46:18 Abbas Kiarostami — Part 1
47:16-52:02 Sponsorship Section
52:48-1:32:07 Abbas Kiarostami — Part 2
1:32:10-1:33:22 Close 
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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Episode #81 - Emily Carman (The Misfits)

"It's important to be reflexive about the archives and materials you have to work with when writing film history."

If you know a bit about Classical Hollywood, you probably know that as much as the stars of the 1930s showed glitz and glamour on screen, they were often slaves to the whims of the studios that owned them. Or did they? Emily Carman of Chapman University joins Peter to discuss her book, Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System, which explores the legal contracts behind stars like Carole Lombard and Irene Dunne, who were able to find control over the films and public image they made in an unprecedented matter decades before the independent takeover. Emily also discusses the importance of thinking about archives in film research, the tactile nature of film studies, and rethinking how to approach a feminist film history. Finally, Emily brings her knowledge of the city of Reno to a discussion of John Huston's The Misfits, a film with stars morbidly moving through a dying space that Peter declares it "the death of classical cinema."

0:00-3:53 Opening
4:42-10:54 Establishing Shots — Tsai Ming-Liang's Goodbye Dragon Inn
11:40-1:14:57 Deep Focus — Emily Carman
1:15:46-1:20:30 Sponsorship Section
1:21:45-1:43:15 Double Exposure — The Misfits (John Huston)
1:43:20-1:45:15 Close // Outtake
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

San Francisco Silent Festival 2016

"When I go to see silent films, I'm constantly struck how everything that was done in the sound era was done by a silent film artist...the silent era is complete."


Amazing on location photography in harsh environments...progressive films about controversial political women...groundbreaking special effects that dazzle with a flurry of colors. These films might sound like what showed up at the Oscars last year, but they were all made during the silent era. In his second trip to San Francisco's epic weekend of gems of the first decades of cinema, Peter once again finds himself in awe of the talent on display: whether it be the work of the archivists in discovering and restoring these prints, the cornucopia of musicians providing unique accompaniment, or the grand scale of the Castro Theatre itself. Silent Film devotee Victor Morton once again joins Peter as they tackle films from five countries with hobos, pie fights, cross-dressing, and split screens (take that, Brian De Palma!)

0:00-2:25 Opening
2:25-15:40 Varieté (E.A. Dupont, Germany, 1925)
16:14-25:38 Beggars of Life (William Wellman, USA, 1927)
26:05-37:20 The Battle of the Century (Clyde Brukman, USA, 1927)
38:06-41:42 Sponsorship Section
42:50-52:15 Restoring Napoleón with the Cinémathèque Française
53:17-1:03:42 I Don't Want To Be A Man (Ernst Lubitsch, Germnay, 1928)
1:05:06-1:15:43 The Strongest (Axel Lindblom and Alf Sjöberg, Sweeden, 1929)
1:16:19-1:28:36 Two Timid Souls (René Clair, France, 1928)
1:28:41-1:30:19 Close
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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Episode #80 - Kalyane Lévy (Going Places)

"The main thing about the movies I show is that I'm enthusiastic about them, and that's how I'm going to present them."

In an age where cinephiles are now open to experiences from every little corner of the globe, something about French cinema will always remain a cornerstone of fascination. At the vibrant Cinefamily repertory house near Hollywood, Kalyane Lévy brings audiences into the illusions of the French going experience with her monthly program La Collectionneuse. Kalyane sat down with Peter to discusses her childhood filled with art in France and her migration to Los Angeles. She opens up about the challenges of a programmer of international cinema as well as the rewards of audiences excited about works of esoteric love (as well as the unique atmosphere of the screenings). Finally, the two dissect a very off beat film, Going Places by Bertrand Blier starring Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere as a couple of horrifying horndogs terrifying the women of France...or perhaps they are actually opening up their desires? 

0:00-2:33 Opening
3:53-8:57 Establishing Shots — De Palma
9:42-32:31 Deep Focus — Kalyane Lévy
33:47-35:24 Sponsorship Section
36:24-57:37 Double Exposure — Going Places (Bertrand Blier)
57:42-59:40 Close / Outtake
Learn more about La Collectionneuse and The Cinefamily.
Follow Kalyane on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Watch Going Places via Fandor.
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Episode #79 - Thomas Doherty (Out of the Past)

"Never be superior to the text. You just know some stuff because you were born later."


History is a malleable object, and how we understand the past begins with important events, speeches, documents, and objects, and then the connections we make between them. But movies can tell us just as much about the past, and for Professor Thomas Doherty, the story of Hollywood is very much the story of American culture. Doherty sat down with Peter during the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference to discuss how he found his way into the emerging field of film history, and his interest in everything from teenage exploitation films to "the most important man in Hollywood" who had his hands of every studio film. They explore the morality of history, and how one examines "characters" of the past and understanding their perspective (especially when it's their relationship with the Third Reich). Finally, the two look at the ultimate film noir, Out of the Past, and question how and why this seemingly frivolous B-movie has risen to an all time canonical classic.

0:00-2:59 Opening
3:50-10:56 Establishing Shots — Terence Davies's Sunset Song
11:41-1:00:55 Deep Focus — Thomas Doherty
1:02:11-1:04:58 Sponsorship Section
1:05:52-1:22:22 Double Exposure — Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur)
1:22:26-1:24:04 Close
Learn more about Thomas Doherty, and read his books: Teenage & Teenpics, Pre-Code Hollywood, Hollywood's Censor, and Hollywood and Hitler. A list of his Cineaste reviews can be found in the index here.
Follow him on Twitter.
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Episode #78 - Eric Allen Hatch (Possession)

"Baltimore appreciates things that are abnormal and don't necessarily cohere to mainstream values, and our audiences are excited to see that exists in film too."

Baltimore rarely gets a mention on the list of great film cities, but in the 1970s, six different theatres all played Robert Downey's Putney Swope. That's just some of the historical digging Eric Allen Hatch has done, who now continues the legacy by programming the Maryland Film Festival, which has quickly risen the ranks to become one of the most essential micro-film festivals in the nation. In his talk with Peter, Eric discusses his initial entry into classical Hollywood and art cinema, and his desire to keep Baltimore as a place for off-beat culture that appeals across spectrums, as well as his strange obsession with photoshopping Paul Blart into canonical classics. Afterwards, the two talk about the Isabelle Adjani-starrer Possession, perhaps the psychological horror film. Who knew that a film that features a bloody space monster could speak so well to their romantic relationships?

0:00-3:47 Opening
4:44-11: 35 Establishing Shots — Eddie Bracken and Grace Moore
12:19-40:45 Deep Focus — Eric Allen Hatch
41:21-43:39 Sponsorship Section
45:31-1:02:56 Double Exposure — Possession (Andrzej Zulawski)
1:03:01-1:04:39 Close
Learn more about this year's upcoming Maryland Film Festival, and see the announced line-up of films.
To purchase the 129-minute director's cut of Possession, click here.
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