Sunday, March 22, 2015

Episode #56 - Calum Marsh (The Last Days of Disco)

"The question of prose is the central question of my life, my writing, and my work."

What is the "work" of film criticism? That question takes center stage in a lively new episode of the podcast, in which Peter travels to Toronto, Canada to talk movies with critic and writer Calum Marsh. Calum traces his cinephilia to his VHS and DVD days in suburban England, eventually developing via the influence of rigorous Jonathan Rosenbaum, and then swinging to an attempt to understand how film criticism can work more similarly to the great literary critics. They talk the beauty of Blackhat and the Kim's Video generation, but most of all they discuss prose and its function in describing a visual medium. They then top it off with a look at Whit Stillman's wondrous nostalgia critique, The Last Days of Disco, using Stillman's own novelization of his work as an examination of the different worlds of cinema and literature.

0:00-1:53 Opening
2:37-9:38 Establishing Shots - Gems from UCLA's Festival of Preservation
10:23-59:27  Deep Focus - Calum Marsh
1:00:04-1:02:16 Mubi Sponsorship - Travel Plans and Broken Specs
1:03:43 -1:26:57 Double Exposure - The Last Days of Disco (Whit Stillman)
1:27:01-1:28:58 Close  / Outtake
Calum Marsh's writing can be found at The Guardian, Hazlitt, Maxim, The Village Voice, and Keyframe Daily. Follow him on Twitter.
The Last Days of Disco is available for streaming on YouTube and iTunes. The novelization is available on Amazon
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Episode #55 - Jan-Christopher Horak (Her Sister's Secret)

"Our philosophy here is to try to re-create the original look of the film."

Film, both the art and the physical medium, will only survive as long as there are those willing to protect and restore it. This is the job of Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak, a film scholar and head of the archive at the University of California, Los Angeles, which hosts its 16th Festival of Preservation this month. Dr. Horak discusses his route into the archive, from his graduate work uncovering the genre of German exile filmmakers, to his other historical work on the early American avant-garde and recently on Saul Bass. The discussion then goes into the heart of the archive—its history as an institution, its practices (both film and digital), and most importantly, its exhibition to audiences. Finally, the two look at Edgar Ulmer's Her Sister's Secret, a family melodrama that might not contain the usual German expressionism of the director, but subtly breaks patterns of morality against the conventions of Hollywood.

0:00-2:52 Opening
4:18-11:16 Establishing Shots - Abel Ferrara's Pasolini
12:00-1:00:07 Deep Focus - Jan-Christopher Horak
1:03:22-1:14:12  Double Exposure - Her Sister's Secret (Edgar G. Ulmer)
1:14:15-1:15:56 Close 
The UCLA Festival of Preservation Runs March 5th-March 31st at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood, Los Angeles. More information here.
Check out Dr. Horak's books The Lovers of Cinema: The First American Avant-Garde 1919-1945 and Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design. More information on him can be found at his UCLA home page.
Follow the UCLA Film Archive and Dr. Horak on Twitter.
Her Sister's Sister will play at the Billy Wilder Theater March 14th at 3pm on 35mm. It is also available on Amazon Prime
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