"I really like films that engage with the world. Film to me is, persay, a medium. It’s not an end in itself. I like films that deal with human reality, the different problems we have in the world, the different cultures we have in the world, all the sort of compliexities we have going through life—political, romantic, psychological—and I think film is an incredible medium for showing that."
Godfrey Chesire has seen it all. From his early experiences with the Westerns of John Ford, to his experience of the American New Wave while abroad in Europe, to the discovery of Chinese and Iranian cinema in the 1990s, Cheshire has remained an essential voice about how to talk and think about cinema in an honest and humanizing way. So Peter is quite excited to take him back through a whirlwind tour of his career, from the alt-weeky The Spectator to the heyday of the New York Press, and through his experiences with Edward Yang and writing about the emergence of digital cinema. The two also discuss his documentary Moving Midway, a film that battles his own personal history and cultural history of the plantation, and end their discussion with Abbas Kiarostami's all-too-fascinating text Close-Up, which they easily declare the Citizen Kane of Iranian film.
1:27-4:47 Establishing Shots - Portrait of Jason Kickstarter
5:02-1:01:57 Deep Focus - Godfrey Cheshire
1:03:08-1:30:09 Double Exposure - Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami)
Read Godfrey Cheshire at the New York Press, Film Comment, the New York Times, and The Criterion Collection (Many of Cheshire's articles are only available via digital archives—please contact me via email if there is a particular article you would like at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Watch Moving Midway on Netflix.
Highlighted Articles by Godfrey Cheshire
-On Bresson's A Man Escaped
-Godfrey's 1993 Iranian Cinema Article (request by email)
-Asghar Farhadi's A Separation
-Grain and digital effects in Eyes Wide Shut
-Remembering Edward Yang
-A second essay on Close-Up
-An overview Abbas Kiarostami (request by email)
-A discussion on Panahi's This Is Not A Film
Other Notes and Links from the Conversation
-Kickstarter for Portrait of Jason
-Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium is the Message"
-Wim Wenders's The American Friend
-Manohla Dargis on "The New Nihilism"
-Close-Up, Long Shot is available on the Criterion DVD of the film
-Judith Miller's piece on the 1992 Lincoln Center Iranian Cinema Retrospective