Sunday, September 18, 2016

Episode #85 - Jeff Lambert (Stranger Than Paradise)

"The things that were not being protected were home movies, industrial films, education films, avant-garde films, and the like—what we now call orphan films."


In our growing and expanding media moment, cinephiles are recognizing more and more that only watching theatrically released feature films limits one's cinematic worldview. Whether it be amateur home movies, the avant-garde, or even instructional demonstrations, these films can both inspire a new way to look at art and history. One organization has helped spearhead this movement: The National Film Preservation Foundation, now led by its Executive Director Jeff Lambert. Jeff joins the show to discuss his first wave of cinephilia at the video store to his eventual job at the NFPF, explaining the various tasks to distribute funding to archives to keep our national history alive. Plus, the two examine the film-digital divide from the archival perspective, the building of an avant-garde canon, and Jeff's predilection for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Finally, the two dive into Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch's 1984 film and discuss how the film that birthed hundreds of hipster indies still remains unique to this day.

0:00-3:23 Opening
4:12-9:13 Establishing Shots — Jet Pilot
9:59-48:39 Deep Focus — Jeff Lambert
49:24-51:51 Sponsorship Section
53:32-1:09:21 Double Exposure — Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch)
1:09:25-1:11:04 Close 


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Episode #84 - Scott Bukatman (Some Came Running)

"I'm interested in the experience in the moment watching something, reading something—of the pleasure that I get from that experience."

Criticism is often described as an act of interpretation—explaining how or why a film works. But the act of cinema at its most basic level is an experience of image, sound, bodies, gestures, materiality, and everything in between. Stanford Professor Scott Bukatman has explored that experiential level of art in all of its forms from high to low. Scott and Peter cross boundaries of genre and time to discuss post-modern science fiction and its most abstract moments, performative bodies that explained our new technological moment, and even gravitational expectations in the new digital landscape. They also discuss cinema's closest (and often problematic) cousin, the comic book, alongside Scott's new exploration of Hellboy and how the act of reading itself can (and should) be reconsidered in the act of discussing a text. Finally, the two dive deep on Vincent Minnelli's Some Came Running, and truly ask what is it that makes a performance, especially in a melodrama in which the art of acting is key to everything.

0:00-4:10 Opening
5:13-11:16 Establishing Shots — Digital Restorations at The Academy
12:00-1:06:48 Deep Focus — Scott Bukatman
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:10:59-1:32:14 Double Exposure — Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli)
1:32:18-1:33:56 Close / Outtake
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Episode #83 - Snowden Becker (Police Body Cameras and Evidentiary Videos)

"We know from our training as archivists that these are tricky materials to integrate into mixed collections of other record keeping...so what's happening?

While this show has often staked its interest in the kinds of audiovisual materials we come to praise as art, there are many different types of moving image materials out there. None feels more pertinent to our moment today than the discussions around the introduction of police body-worn cameras alongside the amateur videos that display evidence of police brutality toward members of the African American community. To address these topics is often to approach them from one of politics, but a surrounding series of questions deals with many of the same questions that cinema-minded people might find familiar: what can we learn from analyzing how they were made? What elements are manipulation are present? How will these videos be stored? What access should the public have? What is the emotional affect of viewing them?

Today's guest, Snowden Becker, has worked as a program manager for UCLA's Moving Image Archive program and the co-founder of Home Movie Day. She's also spent over a decade researching the judicial system's management of audiovisual material, and is the co-manager of this week's National Forum, "On The Record, All The Time: Setting An Agenda for Audiovisual Management," which will bring together legal scholars, social justice activists, camera manufacturers, and the LAPD among others to workshop these issues. In this episode of the podcast, Snowden discusses many of the issues that come out of a cinephile interest when it comes to thinking about these types of videos, as well as what it means to be a public citizen engaging in this emerging genre.

0:00-4:10 Opening
5:13-11:16 Establishing Shots — O.J.: Made in America
12:00-1:06:48 Deep Focus — Snowden Becker
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:10:59-1:32:14 Double Exposure — Police Body Cameras and Evidentiary Videos
1:32:18-1:33:56 Close 
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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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