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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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Episode #77 - Eric Hynes (Quick Change)


"Documentaries are where the most exciting stuff in film is happening. Inevitably that's what I'm going to write about and push for."

Eric Hynes may not want to be boxed in for his work on documentaries, but it seems more and more to be where his interests as a writer for Reverse Shot and Film Comment alongside programming duties at the Museum of the Moving Image have taken him. But Eric is so much more, and has become one of the most valued writers of criticism and beyond—someone who shows passion and acute judgement within his sentences without ever condescending nor falling into cliché. In his interview with Peter, Eric traces his way into writing through music criticism and books, his decade-long tenure at one of the most important institutions in online film writing, and a continuing love of Star Wars. Then, the two turn to a truly forgotten gem of 90s cinema: Bill Murray and Howard Franklin's Quick Change, perhaps the last film to show New York City when it was truly the worst, in the best way possible.

0:00-3:37 Opening
4:22-54:46 Deep Focus — Eric Hynes
55:52-1:00:23 Sponsorship Section
1:02:08-1:21:46 Double Exposure — Quick Change (Billy Murray and Howard Franklin)
1:21:51-1:23:30 Close
Read Eric Hynes at Film Comment, Reverse Shot, Rolling Stone, Slate, and Cinema-Scope. Read his 2013 Neither/Noir monograph for True/False, and follow him on Twitter.
Check out Quick Change here.
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Episode #76 - David Wilson (Gummo)

"That's the heart of independent film...
Figuring out your limitations and then turning them into strengths."

David Wilson had a vision for his dream film festival—and now he has it. The co-founder of Columbia, Missouri's RagTag cinema and now one of the creative heads behind the True/False Film Festival, David has succeeded in transforming the way people can think, imagine, and design a film festival without the prohibitive nature of bending to the economic whims of Hollywood, while also engaging with the most aesthetically groundbreaking cinema without alienating audiences. Peter was lucky to catch David right in the middle of the flurry, and talk to him about his interest in coming back to the Midwest, his own documentary work, and why True/False captures the heart of so many filmgoers, whether they would call themselves cinephiles or not. Finally, the two discuss Harmony Korine's Gummo, a film that David hated so much because of its fictional representation, until it began to appear more and more like a documentary.

0:00-3:10 Opening
4:03-10:30 Establishing Shots — Desperately Seeking Susan and Lá-Bas
11:15-39:50 Deep Focus — David Wilson
40:37-44:10 Sponsorship Section
45:38-1:01:54 Double Exposure — Gummo (Harmony Korine)
1:01:57-1:03:35 Close
Read more about True/False at their website, learn about Ragtag Cinema here, and follow David Wilson on Twitter.
Check out We Always Lie to Strangers here and Big Birding Day here.
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

True/False 2016

One might not expect much from a film festival right in the dead center of America's Heartland, but for thirteen years, True/False has been changing the way to think about the micro-film festival as well as the form of cinema in major ways. In this dispatch from Columbia, Missouri, Peter sits with critics Sam Adams, Tim Grierson, and (eventually) Scott Tobias to look at how the documentary-oriented festival puts aesthetics into the conversation while remaining politically engaged. While the subjects can be galvanizing—the US prison system, delinquent teenage girls in Tehran, Chinese miners, the fall of Iraq—the films continually break the mold for how one thinks about the format by exploring the relationship between the filmmaker and their subject. Plus, a discussion about Concerned Student 1950, a student-made documentary addressing the issues of the University of Missouri protests in 2015, and what its premiere could mean for the future of the festival.

0:00-2:50 Opening
2:50-8:00 Concerned Student 1950
8:00-49:35 True/False Favorites
50:47-54:16 Sponsorship Section
55:05-1:19:05 True/False Favorite Scenes
1:19:08-1:20:47 Close
Read more about True/False at their website.
Follow Our Guests on Twitter: Sam Adams, Tim Grierson, and Scott Tobias.
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Episode #75 - Blake Williams (INLAND EMPIRE)

"When I'm making work it's very important that me that I'm unsure where it's going"

What does it mean to view a stereoscopic image, to see films in a way that's at once closer to our daily life perception while also expanding it beyond anything we could ever see? Blake Williams is one of many filmmakers working in the avant-garde who has been exploring this question—through filmmaking, criticism, and historical research. Williams joins the podcast to trace his lineage as both a critic and a filmmaker, and the very nature of 3D images that has made this such an exploratory visual medium to work in, using it to explore heady concepts in both literal and theoretical terms. Peter and Blake then turn to a narrative filmmaker who created his own long experimental: David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE. The two debate the use of narrative in the film while also examining the nature of its low-grade digital imagery, which can be sublime or absolutely terrifying.

0:00-3:02 Opening
3:40-11:14 Establishing Shots — The Mermaid and Mountains May Depart
11:59-1:10:24 Deep Focus — Blake Williams
1:11:26-1:15:24 Sponsorship Section
1:16:39-1:39:33 Double Exposure — INLAND EMPIRE (David Lynch)
1:39:36-1:41:14 Close 
Visit Blake's film-viewing blog and his filmmaking website.
Watch the films of Blake Williams, including No Signal, A Cold Compress, Coorow-Latham Road, Depart, Many A Swan, Baby Blue, and Red Capriccio.
Read Blake on Cinema Scope and Ion Cinema.
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Let Us Now Praise Jacques Rivette

"I care more about the grace of the actors’ gestures and the quality of their voices than what they actually do or say."

The names of the French New Wave have become staples for both French Cinema and beyond. The critics of Cahiers Du Cinema like Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Eric Rohmer all turned to filmmaking to put into practice the meanings they had pulled from their valorization of Hollywood Cinema. But the most passionaite of those critics, and perhaps the most creative of those filmmakers was Jacques Rivette, who passed away on January 29th at the age of 87. In this new podcast, former guests of the show (Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Miriam Bale, and Matt Prigge) join in a roundtable discussion of the critic and filmmaker. They analyze his films, his writings, and his attention to collaboration, all of which made him a wholly unique individual in the history of cinema. Torn between his obsessions with realism and fantasy, Rivette captured the essence of the medium's paradoxical specificity.

0:00-3:33 Opening
3:33-28:18 Rivette Discussion Part 1
29:00-33:09 Sponsorship Section
33:47-1:02:30 Rivette Discussion Part 2
1:02:34-1:05:07 Close / Outtakes
Read Dave Kehr's obituary of Jacques Rivette, and find numerous resources on the filmmaker at this website here.
Out 1 is available on Kino Lorber DVD and Fandor. Le Pont Du Nord is available from Kino Lorber. Duelle, Noroit, and Merry-Go-Round can be found on Blu-Ray in this Arrow Films Box Set. Paris Belongs To Us is available through Hulu+ and The Criterion Collection. L'Amour Fou is on YouTube.
Follow Our Guests on Twitter: Miriam Bale, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Matt Prigge.
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