Sunday, December 18, 2016

Episode #87 - Fredrik Gustafsson (Great Expectations)

"I like to write and study things that are less known."

You've probably seen Citizen Kane, but have you seen its Swedish lesbian equivalent made in the 1950s? Chances are you haven't even heard of it, nor the filmmaker behind it—Hasse Ekman. But for cinephile Fredrik Gustafsson, Ekman's ingenious and playful films represent some of the best of cinema, and he made it his mission to make them known through his new book, The Man from the Third Row. Hasse Ekman, Swedish Cinema and the Long Shadow of Ingmar Bergman. In the first episode of The Cinephiliacs Global Initiative, Fredrik joins the podcast from Stockholm to discuss his discovery of cinematic loves, his work and research at the Swedish Film Institute, and the many twisting and interesting narratives surrounding Ekman's varied career. Finally, the two look at a much too often neglected period of cinema—Britain in the postwar years—and examine the many cinematic devices David Lean uses to turn his Dickens adaptation of Great Expectations into a blissfully quixotic work of art.

0:00-6:07 Opening / The Cinephiliacs Global Initiative
7:22-13:10 Establishing Shots — 20th Century Women and Julieta
13:55-1:03:46 Deep Focus — Fredrik Gustafsson
1:04:33-1:06:59 Sponsorship Section
1:08:21-1:27:17 Double Exposure — Great Expectations (David Lean)
1:27:22-1:29:00 Close 

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Halloween Horrorthon!

In a podcast first, the conversations of the past return...from the dead! To celebrate the end of Shocktober alongside Halloween, Peter returns to five different conversations exploring the horror genre in some way. First, Michael Koresky talks about the fear-inducing but plainly stylized The Seventh Victim, which turns classical continuity into a source of horror.  Then, Kim Morgan explores trauma in the highly underrated rape drama Something Wild with Carroll Baker. Then it's back to Classical Hollywood with Farran Smith-Nehme's choice of Three Strangers, a supernatural film noir where a promise from a Chinese goddess only leads to doom for Geraldine Fitzgerald, Sydney Greetstreet, and poor Peter Lorre. Then the line between horror, comedy, documentary, and general "WTF" is truly bent with Matt Singer's choice of The Buried Secret of M. Night Shaymalan, which (inadvertently?) explores the limits and literalism of auteurism. Finally, we go to the purest horror film of all time with Angela Catalano's choice of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a film that knows no boundaries when it comes to showing unadulterated malice. It's time to revisit our most frightening conversations!

0:00-3:52 Opening
5:16-19:03 The Seventh Victim with Michael Koresky
20:45-34:50 Something Wild with Kim Morgan
36:48-55:08 Three Strangers with Farran Smith-Nehme
56:11-59:13 Sponsorship Section
1:00:59-1:20:45 The Buried Secret of M. Night Shaymalan with Matt Singer
1:21:52-1:38:48 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with Angela Catalano
1:38:53-1:40:48 Close 

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Episode #86 - Gordon Quinn (One Way Or Another)

"You're not just like your subjects. You're a filmmaker. You need to acknowledge who you are."

If cinema can achieve more than simply be art but a form of action, how does one negotiate the role that the camera plays in reality. Celebrating its 50th Year, Kartemquin Films has used cinema as a tool for addressing social, political, and economic inequality through the documentary from, spearheaded by its co-founder Gordon Quinn. In this wide ranging interview, Gordon reflects on the early days of the collective—from films about retirement homes and the general state of happiness to more direct political engagement through filming labor strikes. He talks with Peter about negotiating the role of the subject, the role of his own identity in filming the stories of others, the importance of character, and the fickle nature between making a statement and making a dollar. Finally, the two discuss a film that shows all of the work in action: Sara Gomez's landmark documentary One Way Or Another, which stages fabricated drama in the midst of real turmoil in 1970s Cuba to a powerful effect.

0:00-3:29 Opening
4:19-10:04 Establishing Shots — Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women
10:49-1:20:13 Deep Focus — Gordon Quinn
1:20:56-51:51 Sponsorship Section
1:24:33-1:42:01 Double Exposure — One Way or Another (Sara Gomez)
1:42:05-1:43:44 Close 

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Episode #85 - Jeff Lambert (Stranger Than Paradise)

"The things that were not being protected were home movies, industrial films, education films, avant-garde films, and the like—what we now call orphan films."

In our growing and expanding media moment, cinephiles are recognizing more and more that only watching theatrically released feature films limits one's cinematic worldview. Whether it be amateur home movies, the avant-garde, or even instructional demonstrations, these films can both inspire a new way to look at art and history. One organization has helped spearhead this movement: The National Film Preservation Foundation, now led by its Executive Director Jeff Lambert. Jeff joins the show to discuss his first wave of cinephilia at the video store to his eventual job at the NFPF, explaining the various tasks to distribute funding to archives to keep our national history alive. Plus, the two examine the film-digital divide from the archival perspective, the building of an avant-garde canon, and Jeff's predilection for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Finally, the two dive into Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch's 1984 film and discuss how the film that birthed hundreds of hipster indies still remains unique to this day.

0:00-3:23 Opening
4:12-9:13 Establishing Shots — Jet Pilot
9:59-48:39 Deep Focus — Jeff Lambert
49:24-51:51 Sponsorship Section
53:32-1:09:21 Double Exposure — Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch)
1:09:25-1:11:04 Close 

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Episode #84 - Scott Bukatman (Some Came Running)

"I'm interested in the experience in the moment watching something, reading something—of the pleasure that I get from that experience."

Criticism is often described as an act of interpretation—explaining how or why a film works. But the act of cinema at its most basic level is an experience of image, sound, bodies, gestures, materiality, and everything in between. Stanford Professor Scott Bukatman has explored that experiential level of art in all of its forms from high to low. Scott and Peter cross boundaries of genre and time to discuss post-modern science fiction and its most abstract moments, performative bodies that explained our new technological moment, and even gravitational expectations in the new digital landscape. They also discuss cinema's closest (and often problematic) cousin, the comic book, alongside Scott's new exploration of Hellboy and how the act of reading itself can (and should) be reconsidered in the act of discussing a text. Finally, the two dive deep on Vincent Minnelli's Some Came Running, and truly ask what is it that makes a performance, especially in a melodrama in which the art of acting is key to everything.

0:00-4:10 Opening
5:13-11:16 Establishing Shots — Digital Restorations at The Academy
12:00-1:06:48 Deep Focus — Scott Bukatman
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:10:59-1:32:14 Double Exposure — Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli)
1:32:18-1:33:56 Close / Outtake
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Episode #83 - Snowden Becker (Police Body Cameras and Evidentiary Videos)

"We know from our training as archivists that these are tricky materials to integrate into mixed collections of other record what's happening?

While this show has often staked its interest in the kinds of audiovisual materials we come to praise as art, there are many different types of moving image materials out there. None feels more pertinent to our moment today than the discussions around the introduction of police body-worn cameras alongside the amateur videos that display evidence of police brutality toward members of the African American community. To address these topics is often to approach them from one of politics, but a surrounding series of questions deals with many of the same questions that cinema-minded people might find familiar: what can we learn from analyzing how they were made? What elements are manipulation are present? How will these videos be stored? What access should the public have? What is the emotional affect of viewing them?

Today's guest, Snowden Becker, has worked as a program manager for UCLA's Moving Image Archive program and the co-founder of Home Movie Day. She's also spent over a decade researching the judicial system's management of audiovisual material, and is the co-manager of this week's National Forum, "On The Record, All The Time: Setting An Agenda for Audiovisual Management," which will bring together legal scholars, social justice activists, camera manufacturers, and the LAPD among others to workshop these issues. In this episode of the podcast, Snowden discusses many of the issues that come out of a cinephile interest when it comes to thinking about these types of videos, as well as what it means to be a public citizen engaging in this emerging genre.

0:00-4:10 Opening
5:13-11:16 Establishing Shots — O.J.: Made in America
12:00-1:06:48 Deep Focus — Snowden Becker
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:10:59-1:32:14 Double Exposure — Police Body Cameras and Evidentiary Videos
1:32:18-1:33:56 Close 
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Episode #82 - James Schamus (The Tall T)

"When adapting, the fundamentals you are left with are the words and gestures and actions and interactions of characters."

How does one reconcile the ideas of artistry in cinema, the kind of magic of cinephilia that we see each time we look up at the screen, with the business practices that often painted as limiting it? James Schamus has somehow made a career of toeing this (likely constructed) dichotomy, helping produce some of the early independent films of the 1990s before becoming the co-founder of Focus Features, which made films like The Pianist, Atonement, Brokeback Mountain, and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as a collaborator of Ang Lee, writing the screenplays for The Ice Storm, Ride With The Devil, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. James discusses this work between the politics of making art for specialty audiences, as well as his interest in the very nature of art through his work as a theorist and professor at Columbia University. They then turn to his directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth's Indignation, and what it means to modulate performance. Finally, the two discuss Budd Boetticher's 1957 hostage western The Tall T, and what a specialty art house producer can learn from watching Randolph Scott contemplate existence in this low budget western.

0:00-3:57 Opening
5:08-17:11 Establishing Shots — 4 Years of The Cinephiliacs
17:56-1:06:20 Deep Focus — James Schamus
1:07:21-1:11:32 Sponsorship Section
1:12:33-1:22:44 Double Exposure — The Tall T (Budd Boetticher)
1:22:50-1:27:00 Close // Outtake
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