Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Episode #112 — Maya Montañez Smukler (Old Boyfriends)

"This is a book about a specific moment where second wave feminism
and 1970s Hollywood intersect and how that unique historical
intersection impacted women directors."

In a time of Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, the opportunities for directors of New Hollywood to make ambitious, artistic, and socially conscious movies blossomed in a way the industry had never allowed—but those outside the categories of white and male had a different story. But despite the gender disparity, sixteen daring women broke through. Some of their names are known; others in need of rediscovery. Either way, UCLA's Maya Montañez Smukler saw her goal to tell their narratives, showing how the rise of second wave feminism started the fight against the industry's sexism that continues today. In this wide ranging interview, Maya discusses her early history working for women-focused cinema organizations and how that eventually led to her book Liberating Hollywood. Peter and Maya explore the legal and cultural bookends that make up her project, and contextualize these directors in both their moment and ours. Finally, the two dive into Old Boyfriends, a truly oddball debut feature from Nashville screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury with a screenplay by Taxi Driver's Paul Schrader and an all-star cast.

0:00–3:36 Opening
4:21–1:05:42 Deep Focus — Maya Montañez Smukler
1:06:34–1:2:05 Sponsorship Section
1:12:45–1:27:34 Double Exposure — Old Boyfriends (Joan Tewkesbury)
1:27:39–1:29:29 Close / Outtake


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Sunday, January 20, 2019

2018 Countdown With Keith Uhlich (Part 2)

It's easy to claim art serves a purpose, but what exactly is that purpose? How do artists and critics reckon with the images, ideas, and worlds they've created—for better and worse? If art only builds a monument to itself, what value does that hold? In the second part of Peter and Keith Uhlich's look back at the year 2018 in movies, these questions come to the forefront. It's not just what art is but how it strikes us, how it is purposed (or repurposed), and how it becomes part of a dialogue. Though covering just one year of cinema, a list that expands back over a century. The big surprise: who topped their list with film and who topped it with television? Surprises abound in this invigorating discussion.

0:00–2:41 Opening
2:41–26:34 Picks for #5
26:34–41:40 Picks for #4
41:40–1:00:41 Picks for #3
1:01:20–1:03:59 Sponsorship Section
1:04:47–1:27:08 Picks for #2
1:27:08–1:30:02 Guest Picks
1:30:02–1:59:56 Picks for #1
1:59:56–2:04:39 Wrap Up 
2:05:36–2:08:35 Close / Outtake


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

2018 Countdown With Keith Uhlich (Part 1)


Witches, Worship, and White People: Oh my! Keith Uhlich returns for another year of counting down films, television, and other media of 2018 in this Part 1 of 2. The choices remain as eclectic as always, but the spirit of debate shifts toward not just what constitutes not just what cinema is but when it is (2017? 1972? Who Knows!)—part of the larger flux in our ever expanding digital world. Each challenges the other for a statement of principals to understand not just what films get made and who gets to make them, throwing wrenches into questions surrounding the systems that hold the keys and the role of representation on screen. Strap on (!) in for another series of conversations on what might not be the best films of the year, but the ones that engaged us most into a winding conversation.

0:00-2:52 Opening
2:52-27:04 Picks for #10
27:04-50:21 Picks for #9
51:08-55:07 Sponsorship Section
55:29-1:21:01 Picks for #8
1:21:01-1:43:53 Picks for #7
1:43:53-2:05:26 Picks for #6
2:06:02-2:06:35 Wrap Up 
2:06:44 -2:08:52 Close / Outtake


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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Episode #111 - Michael Sicinski (Sink or Swim)

"What is this thing in front of us?...Why would somebody paint on film?...How successful is this 45 minute zoom?"

Given the ever growing plethora of criticism, it makes it more and more difficult to find critics whose every word feels inspired, and more than that, fewer critics who are even given spaces to write on films that create impassioned, reflective, and incisive prose and arguments. Houston-based writer Michael Sicinski is one of the rarities left today. His criticism makes experimental films that might alienate audiences feel accessible and who takes the liberal Hollywood schmaltz and demonstrates how alienating it can be. In this broad ranging interview, Michael takes Peter through his move from art history to cinema, the academic sphere to the internet, and from writing to teaching. The two then dive into Su Friedrich's haunting memory film Sink or Swim, and look at how a work that demonstrates formal rigor at every moment is also imbued with emotion that any audience can feel as well. Plus, Peter checks back in with former guest Eric Allen Hatch and his new non-profit video store in Baltimore, looking at how a seemingly "outdated" model of cinephilia might just save its future.

0:00-3:33  Opening
4:25-15:42 Establishing Shots — Beyond Video with Eric Allen Hatch
16:28-1:24:12 Deep Focus — Michael Sicinski
1:25:25-1:29:50  Sponsorship Section
1:31:05-1:52:43 Double Exposure — Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich)
1:52:48-2:00:37 Close / Outtake


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Episode #110 - Daniel Goldhaber (Showgirls)

"For me, it's about finding ideas that are exciting and translating them in a bigger way."

The fine line between art and pornography is as old as visual culture itself, but only recently have those within the industry crafted their narratives for large scale audiences by avoiding the old hat critiques often placed on the profession. Cam, a new horror thriller financed by Blumhouse and made by the creative duo of Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, does exactly that by following a cam girl as she fights to reclaim her identity. Dan sits down in this long ranging interview to discuss his creative apprenticeships on documentaries and the lessons he learned from Harvard, the work he and Isa did crafting pornography that thought seriously about aesthetics, and the creative workarounds necessary to make a good film about screen life. Finally, the two talk about Showgirls, a tricky film that nonetheless influenced Cam—Peter and Dan examine how and where the film takes these burlesque dancers seriously, and how the film straddles its campy existence. Plus, Carman Tse joins the show to talk about a few restorations that played the recent AFI Film Festival.

0:00-3:10  Opening
4:13-27:48 Establishing Shots — Repertory Talk at AFI Fest with Carman Tsse
28:33-1:36:45 Deep Focus — Daniel Goldhaber
1:38:00-1:42:00  Sponsorship Section
1:43:08-1:58:40 Double Exposure — Showgirls (Paul Vehoven)
1:58:48-2:00:37 Close / Outtake



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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Live At Home Movie Day

Photo Credit: Ryan Savoy
Faint memories of adventures abroad, the streets lined with buildings of the past, and the Disneyland rides long replaced. All memories of others, but preserved for us through the magic of 8 and 16mm celluloid. In this special episode, Peter travels inside the land of Home Movie Day is the show's first "experiential" podcast, recording the sounds and voices of this special event. Hear archivists, projectionists, and others who drudged up canisters from their attics discover the magic of this unique event in which no one knew what was going to be shown. From "Keystone Nuns" from Hungary to the Los Angeles Dodgers and King George II, learn about how home movies provide both historical and emotional experiences that these truly personal films could provide.

0:00-3:06  Opening
3:06-27:57 Home Movie Day Part 1
28:54-32:55  Sponsorship Section
33:23-59:53 Home Movie Day Part 2
59:58-1:01:55 Close 



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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Episode #109 - Terri Francis (Losing Ground)

"An archive is more than a collection of stuff...when a person passes through your life, they leave an impression, maybe an emptiness that's there. Part of what archives do is they make sense of that impression, of what's left behind."

So often when it comes to cinema we can make easy assumptions, but the questions underneath them are brimming to push boundaries. What exactly should film archives contain and what are their social responsibilities? Could an independent cinema exist under state sponsorship? Why is the goal of scholarship a book or article? What if instead you made films in caves, or highlighted contributions to our history through gravestones? Through her unique career, Terri Francis has brought some of these questions to light in a different way that makes the work of academia feel not just groundbreaking but emotionally powerful. In this long-ranging conversation, the Indiana University professor and director of the Black Film Center/Archive explores a range of topics related to Josephine Baker, Jamaica Film, and understanding and expanding black identity and cinephilia in a time where the very nature of the premise is changing. Finally, Terri and Peter discuss Losing Ground, a pioneering and celebratory melodrama from indie filmmaker Kathleen Collins—Terri tells the story of how the film went from obscurity to the stunning restoration that's made it part of the new canon.

0:00-3:46  Opening
4:29-11:11 Establishing Shots — New Streaming Platforms, New Avenues
11:57-1:09:32 Deep Focus — Terri Francis
1:10:30-1:14:16  Sponsorship Section
1:15:36-1:38:44 Double Exposure — Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins)
1:38:49-1:40:33 Close / Outtake 


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