Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Episode #120 - Alison Kozberg (Nowhere)

"I think it’s important to remember that the majority of art house cinemas in this country are not in Los Angeles or New York, but are in cities and towns of all sizes where it is incredibly valuable for people to have the opportunity to come together and watch media." 

If cinema enters what might be its 100th identity crisis since its birth, there is at least a more appropriate question to ask: where will cinema take place? As the first guest of 2020, Peter brings in Art House Convergence director Alison Kozberg to tackle how the art house scene has changed less in Los Angeles and New York but instead transformed cities like Tuscon and Charleston. Alison charts her life as a repertory-goer in the 1990s to learning the tricks of programming for both classic Hollywood and experimental works in places like Minneapolis, Boston, and South Carolina. She then looks at the new challenges—but more so, opportunities—for art houses to engage and create new community spaces. Finally, the two dive back into her teen years to examine Gregg Araki's apocalyptic teenage satire Nowhere, which Alison argues as a rare breakthrough film of the time to openly accept queer identities as normative.

0:00–5:06 Opening
5:52–51:11 Deep Focus — Alison Kozberg
52:28–57:34 Sponsorship Section
58:57–1:17:03 Double Exposure — Nowhere (Gregg Araki)
1:17:28–1:19:21 Close



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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Episode #119 - Racquel Gates (White Chicks)

"The images, lines, and things that people quote are never the ones that get written about...It seems to me the way people engage these movies is much more complex."

In some regards, cinephilia often defines itself in knowing what is good from what is bad, highlighting the rarity of intention and execution in a select few texts from the rest of the trash. But what about those supposedly bad films? Do they not offer insight into our culture as well? In Double Negative, Associate Professor Racquel Gates explores the supposed bad mirror image of black cinema and television from the 1980s and beyond. Looking at a set of nearly forgotten works, Gates examines how these texts reveal insights into black popular culture often ignored by the mainstream. As Peter and Racquel discuss, these texts often aim to show a slice of American life what is usually acceptable in white popular culture—if only simply showing suburban middle-class life. In their final segment, they dissect the topic of whiteness with the 2004 Wayans Brother flick White Chicks, a very silly film with a very insightful dissection of privilege and femininity, as well as absolute sheer gross-out humor. 

0:00–3:03 Opening
3:41–11:37 Establishing Shots — At the Mill Valley Film Festival
12:23–49:33 Deep Focus — Racquel Gates
50:52–54:23 Sponsorship Section
55:33–1:06:04 Double Exposure — White Chicks (Keenen Ivory Wayans)
1:06:25–1:08:17 Close / Outtake



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Monday, September 16, 2019

Episode #118 - Daniel Steinhart (Bunny Lake Is Missing)

"When Hollywood films go overseas, they do have to become more flexible and adaptable, but that has always been the case."

As much as many will espouse the "universal language" of cinema, the experience of both making and watching films from location to location is full of fascinating difference. As someone who grew up watching films in both America and Colombia, Daniel Steinhart became attuned to look for these differences as he traveled film festivals as well. But his book, Runaway Hollywood, moves from the audience to the filmmakers who escaped the studio lot and made works across the globe in the postwar era. Peter and Dan discuss this fascinating taxonomy of taxes and tea, gaffers and genre, politics and panning shots. How exactly could this cultural exchange create a change in film style? Finally, they dive into an oddball thriller from Otto Preminger shot in London, Bunny Lake Is Missing, examining how this film balances both its unique locale and the demands of its auteur.

0:00–3:28 Opening
5:11–12:52 Establishing Shots — Gilberto Perez's The Eloquent Screen
13:37–1:07:22 Deep Focus — Daniel Steinhart
1:08:06–1:11:33 Sponsorship Section
1:12:52–1:33:02 Double Exposure — Bunny Lake Is Missing (Otto Preminger)
1:33:07–1:35:50 Close



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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Episode #117 - Justin Chang (Flowers of Shanghai)

"I very much believe in having a very Catholic sensibility of writing about everything."

Being the metropolitan area newspaper's film critic has its set of burdens and responsibilities to a number of diverse audiences, but for Justin Chang, those challenges are multiplied by the the odd nature of Los Angeles as the movie capital of the  world. In this final episode from the City  of Angels as Peter says adios to the city he's called home for the last five years, he sits down with the former Variety and current Los Angeles Times critic to explore how to look and consider the industry and the various entanglements that expand out from it. Justin explains his growth from intern to critic within the city's oldest trade publication to the issues of representation and politics within Hollywood today. The two cap off their conversation by looking at Hou Hsiao-Hsien's strange and hypnotic Flowers of Shanghai, looking at how the director lays clues throughout to explore a 19th century brothel wrapped into a romantic mystery.

0:00–3:11 Opening
3:51–11:39 Establishing Shots — Celebrating Seven Years of The Cinephiliacs
12:24–1:04:31 Deep Focus — Justin Chang
1:05:28–1:09:15 Sponsorship Section
1:10:27–1:28:49 Double Exposure — Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
1:29:02–1:31:29 Close / Outtake


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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Episode #116 - Elena Gorfinkel (The Color of Love)

"What is it about sexuality in cinema that is a marker of the present?"

As this podcast has aimed to define, those who watch cinema can often be more revealing of culture than cinema itself. In her book, Lewd Looks, Elena Gorfinkel explores the sexploitation era of the 1960s. However, she looks past the texts to consider some of the more aspects of spectators and the public who shaped this unique era. The result is a fascinating text that considers cinephilia's history in ways that imagines both a more dynamic and complex past alongside a new way of formulating our current moment. Peter and Elena go on to discuss the issues surrounding cinephilia today and Elena's own work outside of the academic halls. Finally, Elena brings in the fascinating experimental work The Color of Love from filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh, considering how this work literally found in a dumpster becomes a cinephilie love letter to another forgotten filmmaker.

0:00–3:16 Opening
4:01–1:03:33 Deep Focus — Elena Gorfinkel
1:04:30–1:03:33 Sponsorship Section
1:08:24–1:25:14 Double Exposure — The Color of Love (Peggy Ahwesh)
1:25:19–1:26:52 Close


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Episode #115 - Joshua Gleich (Days of Wine and Roses)

"I think one of the reasons I work on location shooting is not because I understand it completely but because I have a question I still can't answer."

For anyone whose lived in Los Angeles or New York, it's easy to see when a film cheats its its locales. Just watch John Wick 3 and see the eponymous character seemingly make the trip from Midtown to Chinatown in a matter of minutes—and all by foot. But why has location shooting evolved such as it is? Joshua Gleich, a historian making his home at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, explores this by looking at the city of fog, San Francisco. Less an exploration of which films "get it right" or "get it wrong," Gleich's new book explores the evolution of location shooting from the 1940s to the 1970s, and how curiously the films of SF soon diverted from its actual life, attempting to mimic the urban nightmares that took up the imagination of Hollywood. Josh talks about his new book with Peter, exploring a number of classic films and the production contexts that made them. Finally, the two explore Blake Edwards's alcoholic drama Days of Wine and Roses and how a little location shooting can help pepper an entire film, especially one that breaks many of the molds of the classic Hollywood melodrama. Plus, Peter praises the work of the back-in-action Le Cinema Club and its opener with a rare Claire Denis short made in New York.

0:00–3:28 Opening
3:51–8:37 Establishing Shots — Le Cinema Club and Claire Denis
9:21–59:20 Deep Focus — Joshua Gleich
1:00:23–1:03:49 Sponsorship Section
1:05:44–1:19:21 Double Exposure — Days of Wine and Roses (Blake Edwards)
1:19:27–1:26:52 Close


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

After a year hiatus, Peter returns to the Castro Theatre alongside Victor Morton to check back in with the good folks at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, now in their 24th iteration. It's more proof that this cinephile culture is alive and well and always expanding toward new avenues despite its century longevity. This year includes discoveries from both the studio era of filmmaking as well as unique corners of the globe, featuring narratives of fallen women, activist women, and women willing to push their vanity to death itself (also the occasional man). The surprise of the festival in part is seeing this period of history both in its innovations as well as its regressions, which sometimes work to turn seemingly simple works into complex objects. Within this, great artists appear: some known and others now reclaimed. Join Peter and Victor as they work their way through this excellent set of films.

0:00–2:41 Opening
2:42–15:00 The Signal Tower (Clarence Brown, 1924)
16:36–30:56 Tonka of the Gallows (Karel Anton, 1931)
32:11–49:33 Color Extravaganza!
50:30–53:30 Sponsorship Section
54:16–1:05:08 Goona Goona (AndrĂ© Roosevelt and Armand Denis, 1932)
1:06:03–1:24:03 Romance, Comedy and Otherwise
1:24:52–1:37:38 The Wedding March (Erich Von Stroheim, 1928)
1:37:42–1:26:52 Close


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