Sunday, April 1, 2018

Episode #102 - Antonella Bonfanti (Cabaret)

"We're format agnostic, but we understand our tradition as a film-on-film distribution."

The avant-garde just doesn't "happen." It has relied on institutional networks that create any sort of art world to help it find its publics. These networks are just as critical as they were 50 years ago, and Antonella Bonfanti works to keep that tradition alive. The director of the San Francisco based Canyon Cinema sits down to discuss how she fell in love with the tactile form of film and found herself working with home movies and other amateur formats before joining the famed distribution company for experimental cinema. She then explains how Canyon continues to operate and its bright future in finding audiences in the digital age. Finally, she and Peter put on their jazz hands to highlight the work of Bob Fosse's Cabaret, which of course turns into what else but a Liza Love Fest.

0:00-3:08  Opening
4:17-11:00 Establishing Shots — New Cinemas Hit Manhattan
11:46-58:53 Deep Focus — Antonella Bonfanti
1:00:05-1:04:18  Sponsorship Section
1:06:05-1:19:15 Double Exposure — Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
1:19:42-1:22:43 Close

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Episode #101 - Shelley Stamp (Not Wanted)

"We hope to chip away at this persistent myth that there weren't many women making films in Hollywood or they weren't of consequence. It's an extraordinary body of work"

One of the most critical ways that women can break the overwhelming male-controlled industry in Hollywood is acknowledging how central they have always been to its existence. UC Santa Cruz Professor Shelley Stamp has been on the forefront of that narrative, exploring how women dominated silent film culture both in terms of their moviegoing habits and the films they created. The author of Movie-Struck Girls and Lois Weber in Early Hollywood sits down with Peter to discuss the critical wave of film historiography that blossomed during her early career and the pre-internet research methods she used to create these and other texts, as well as what the future of the field may hold. Finally, they dive into Ida Lupino's directorial debut Not Wanted and look at both the similarities and differences between her and Lois Weber as the actor charted a new type of social problem film for the noir era.

0:00-3:59  Opening
4:44-1:05:43 Deep Focus — Shelley Stamp
1:06:48-1:10:01  Sponsorship Section
1:12:06-1:26:23 Double Exposure — Not Wanted (Lupino)
1:26:27-1:18:40 Close

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Episode #99 - James Urbaniak (The Apartment)

"Some of my favorite moments in acting are moments where people say, 'Did I get any messages?' Those mundane moments are just as important."

Watching an actor transform in an unexpected way—even if the particular action is so simple and its context so mundane—can be a revelatory experience, and the kind that draws us into the movies we adore. James Urbaniak has made that something of a career, giving us the quiet internal rage inside Simon Grim in Henry Fool, the secretly menacing stares of Grant in the TV series Review, and the dozens upon dozens of strange voices he's taken on for series like The Venture Brothers. In this episode, James sits down with Peter to get into the technical and philosophical ideas that drive his character actor career in a number of shows, while also discussing how his love of Classical Hollywood has influenced his decisions—including his noir homage series, A Night Called Tomorrow. Finally, the two dive into Billy Wilder's The Apartment to explore how they actors take the screwball zaniness of the script and make it melancholy, and turn the film's dramatic shifts into comedy.

0:00-2:52  Opening
3:34-9:42 Establish Shots — Contemplating Curtiz
10:28-50:19 Deep Focus — James Urbaniak
51:11-54:02  Sponsorship Section
55:33-1:15:49 Double Exposure — The Apartment (Wilder)
1:16:36-1:18:40 Close

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part Two)

On one hand, cinema has mutated. It is no longer contained to the theater and its methods no longer simply produce simply 3 act narrative features. But was it ever so limited? The first films were hand cranked into a box at a parlor on 34th street. The military in WWII made cinema portable in order to bring secrets across enemy lines. Films taught people their trades. Video tape launched a spiritual and later political revolution against the dominant mode. The medium was never the message, so let's just celebrate what was seen and experienced—the movement was not just in the image but in our bodies (the real movement...was love). All is this to say, Keith and Peter have good fun exploring their favorite works of 2017, debating the nature of reality in a series of works either attempting to pull it from other the rug or expose it through unsuspecting places. Is it future? Or is it past? Or is it simply the now in which me must live. And live we must.

0:00-2:27  Opening
2:28-47:16 Picks for #5
47:16-1:16:00 Picks for #4
1:16:01-1:34:31 Picks for #3
1:35:14-1:39:05  Sponsorship Section
1:40:07-2:09:39 Picks for #2
2:09:40-2:25:07 Pick for #1
2:25:08-2:27:14 Final Thoughts
2:27:31-2:29:57 Close

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part 1 — Moments Out of Time)


A love of cinema does not necessitate a love of a total work. Often it is a moment—a person, a camera movement, a lighting choice, or an emotional beat—that strikes us. When Peter and Keith discussed returning once again for their annual countdown, they decided that the first half of their lists should do something different. Instead of highlight their 6 through 10 picks for the year, they instead have chosen five "Moments Out Of Time" within often good (though perhaps bad) films that surprised, challenged, and delighted. With such a list, they discuss a plethora of topics, including a serious examination of the structures within Hollywood that have maintained and sustained diminishing standards under increasingly dubious and especially harmful authorities. Individual artists strive to rise above the system, and here, the two critics aim to find out why that is, and what could be done to uplift the system.

0:00-6:08  Opening
6:09-31:49 Picks for #5
31:50-56:49 Picks for #4
56:50-1:23:54 Picks for #3
1:25:08-1:28:10  Sponsorship Section
1:28:36-1:51:48  Picks for #2
1:51:49-2:18:07 Picks for #1
2:18:08-2:26:07 Repertory Picks of the Year
2:26:11-2:28:04 Close / Outtake

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Episode #98 - Mark Toscano (Soft Fiction)

"I never make assumptions about what I'm looking at—I really try and understand something on its terms."

While every single restoration brings unique challenges, Mark Toscano sometimes has to ask a very strange question: did the filmmaker intend that scratch or speck or slice or anything that might appear like a problem or mistake as actually critical to the film? It's questions like these that bring energy to Mark as he works as a film preservationist at the Academy Film Archive, helping preserve and restore hundreds of experimental cinema works. Peter sits down with Mark to discuss his road from the George Eastman house to Canyon Cinema to the Academy, and some of the unique questions and relationships he builds as the canon of experimental cinema continue to expand under his purview. Finally, the two dive into the complex and wondrous world of Chick Strand in Soft Fiction, whose detailing of the sexual experiences and desires of women under her lyrical eye has gained complexity in today's discussions of sex and power.

0:00-3:39  Opening
4:54-12:11  Establishing Shot — UCLA's Recuerdos de un cine en español
12:57-1:25:05  Deep Focus — Mark Toscano
1:26:08-1:29:13  Sponsorship Section
1:30:41-1:51:30  Double Exposure — Soft Fiction (Chick Strand)
1:51:35-1:53:20 Close / Outtake

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Affairs to Remember: Selections from AFI Fest 2017


This year's slate of unique films on the festival circuits are works defined by individuals. Some follow how they define themselves to others—romantically or otherwise—while others follow their relationship to work, the state, and to their own being. Performers of dynamic and unique range create compelling faces and bodies to follow through spaces both familiar and alien, traversing time through aesthetic choices. Directors thus create tones through defining space and helping us see what is beyond the camera's gaze. In this report from the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles, Peter invites on a cornucopia of wonderous guests to discuss some of the fall's most unique films. Works by Hong Sang-Soo, Claire Denis, Sergei Lonznista, Aaron Katz, and Valeska Grisebach explore the contemporary landscape with conviction, empathy, and pathos.

0:00-3:43 Opening
4:37-25:27 The Day After and Claire's Camera with Aret Frost
26:28-43:39 A Gentle Creature with Carson Lund
44:37-48:31 Sponsorship Section
50:10-1:03:31  Gemini with Gabriel Anderson
1:04:39-1:29:47 Western and Bright Sunshine In with Carman Tse
1:30:37-1:32:49 Close / Outtake

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