Sunday, April 13, 2014

Episode #36 - Matt Lynch (Hard Boiled)

"Deep down, I still crave that jolt. That's what keeps me coming back."

In a world where streaming services have attempted to kill physical media, Scarecrow Video proudly boasts row after row of DVDs, VHS tapes, and more in its 120,000 title collection located out in Seattle, Washington. Matt Lynch has worked at Scarecrow for over 10 years, and knows the store in and out, from the location of every auteur to where you can find "Little Bastards" flicks. So Peter visited the store and sat down with Matt to get a sense of the independent video store's history and future, as well as talk movie violence in its utter grotesqueness and pure visceral pleasure. Finally, the two examine John Woo's 1992 Hong Kong blockbuster Hard Boiled, which not only features some of the most spectacularly crafted action sequences in any film, but examines its own violence through a deeply moralistic lens.

0:00-1:33 Opening 
2:26-9:48 Establishing Shots - Dietrich and Von Sterberg / Donations
10:33-1:09:12 Deep Focus - Matt Lynch
1:10:44-1:29:32 Double Exposure - Hard Boiled (John Woo)
1:29:35-1:31:15 Close
Read Matt Lynch on Letterboxd, In Review Online, and The Stranger. Check out Scarecrow Video.
Follow Matt on Twitter.
Subscription Options

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Episode #35 - Mark Harris (The Best Years of Our Lives)

"I was interested in the story of these five men who were in Hollywood and established directors, then left, and then came back."

During World War II, five of Hollywood's star directors, whose names had been behind some of the biggest box office hits and Oscar winners, dropped their entire careers to go to war. Their goal was not to fight, but to document. Besides being the only Oscar columnist worth reading, Mark Harris is now the author or Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. In this podcast, Mark and Peter sit down to discuss this essential read, examining the relationship between Hollywood and the government, the problem of realism and re-creations, and the pains felt by men who returned to a system that seemed to have forgotten them. Finally, the two discuss William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives, a universal drama that has numerous touches of the director's own war experience.

0:00-1:35 Opening 
2:33-8:06 Establishing Shots - William Freidkin's Sorcerer
8:50-1:26:40 Deep Focus - Mark Harris
1:27:53-1:46:58 Double Exposure - The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler)
1:47:02-1:48:41 Close
Read Mark Harris on Grantland, New York Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly; purchase Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back.
Follow Mark on Twitter.
Subscription Options

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Episode #34 - Dana Stevens (Letter From An Unknown Woman)

"In some ways, I just think of myself as a writer. If I could never write about movies again, I'd be terribly sad, but I would continue to write."

As one of the film criticism's public figures, Dana Stevens has carved out a niche for herself with a thoughtful and intelligent approach to contemporary film reviewing. So she joins Peter in the studio for a brief chat about her days as a Comparative Lit. PhD, the 6 hour writing process, and the joy of the occasional Slate-style pitch. Then the two dive into Max Ophüls's opulent drama Letter From An Unknown Woman, which Dana finds majesty in the film's tragic metaphor for love while Peter explores the film's unique texture between the artificial and the authentic. Plus, Peter remembers Alain Resnais by revisiting two of his classics.

0:00-1:20 Opening 
2:01-8:20 Establishing Shots - RIP Alain Resnais / Donations
9:05-36:38 Deep Focus - Dana Stevens
38:34-1:01:32 Double Exposure - Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls)
1:01:34-1:03:16 Close / Outtake
Read Dana Stevens at Slate and listen to the Slate Culture Gabfest.
Follow Dana on Twitter.
Subscription Options

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Episode #33 - Kent Jones (Spawn of the North)

"There's a general problem with film culture of actually confronting a movie head-on."

Kent Jones is truly one of the most essential voices for Peter. His writings are reflective, intelligent, and complex in a way few writers come close to, and his other work—A Letter To Elia, the World Cinema Project, and the New York Film Festival—are key to Peter's continuing exposure to cinema. So Kent sits down with Peter to discuss his first exposure to cinema, his mentorship under Manny Farber and Martin Scorsese, his complicated process of writing, working on making films and using images, and the auteurs that continue to inspire him. The two then end with a conversation on the rarely seen Spawn of the North, a Henry Hathaway film with Henry Fonda that finds something very physical  in its Alaskan set border town.

0:00-1:20 Opening 
2:47-8:47 Establishing Shots - John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln / Donations
9:32-1:16:20 Deep Focus - Kent Jones
1:17:28-1:36:48 Double Exposure - Spawn of the North (Henry Hathaway)
1:36:52-1:38:31 Close
Kent Jones's books include Physical Evidence: Selected Film Writings, L'Argent, and Olivier Assayas. His films include Val Lewton: The Man in Shadows and A Letter To Elia. You can often read him in Film Comment.
Subscription Options

Monday, February 3, 2014

Episode #32 - Richard Peña (Memories of Underdevelopment)

"What I do is use my position as a programmer is to try and educate in terms of those areas of film history that either need review or need discovery."

Without the help of Richard Peña, Peter would probably have never become interested in directors like István Szabó, Kim Ki-Young, or Souleymane Cisse, among countless others. As a professor at Columbia and the former programmer of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the New York Film Festival, Richard used his years to expand the conversation of film history: as NYFF brought in directors from the cinemas of Iran, China, and Brazil, his yearly programming and classes expanded to search out those histories as well. Now a year out from his time at Lincoln Center, Richard sits down to recount his first curiosities toward cinema, his programming philosophies, and to lament the director he can never convince his students to love as much as he does. Finally, the two discuss Memories of Underdevelopment, a landmark film in Cuban film history, which provides a complex portrait of identity.

0:00-1:42 Opening 
2:48-6:50 Establishing Shots - Alain Guiraudie
8:42-51:03 Deep Focus - Richard Peña
51:58-1:08:09 Double Exposure - Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea)
1:08:14-1:09:53 Close
Richard Pena's home page at Columbia, and an interview with him by Kent Jones on the New York Film Festival.

Subscription Options

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Episode #31 - Noah Isenberg (Ruthless)

'This is the work of a magician or an alchemist as much as its the work of a director."

For the last decade, Noah Isenberg has dedicated his career to searching out the life of Edgar G. Ulmer, the director of Detour and the so-called "King of the Bs." His films included poverty row crime films, Italian epics made on the cheap, films for Yiddish and black communities, bizzaro science fiction works, and even a "nuddie" picture. To celebrate the release of Isenberg's fantastic new biography, Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins, Peter brings on Noah to discuss how his original interest in German arts and cultures brought him to a search through one of the greatest alt-Hollywood directors to ever grace American shores.

0:00-1:34 Opening 
2:31-9:42 Establishing Shots - Los Angeles Plays Itself / Donations
10:27-1:17:13 Deep Focus - Noah Isenberg
1:18:12-1:36:35 Double Exposure - Ruthless (Edgar Ulmer)
1:36:38-1:38:41 Close / Outtake

Subscription Options