The Cinephiliacs (general)

May 16th, 1955—60 years ago before this recording—James Agee died of a heart attack in the back of a New York taxi at the all too young age of 45. In his wake, he left a mountain of unprecedented writing, including the foundations for the first wave of serious film criticism in America. In this special episode, Scott Nye and Kristen Sales join Peter to discuss Agee's work and life. From his Southern roots in literature, including his poetic depiction of the depression, to his adoration of the silent comedies and vitriolic defense of one of Charles Chaplin's most contentious films. The conversation spreads from criticism to narrative prose to photography and finally to Agee's work within the moving image, especially his contribution to one of the all time great films, The Night of the Hunter.

0:00-4:19 Opening
4:40-22:30 "Comedy's Greatest Era" and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
23:05-33:39 On Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend
34:20-51:37 Monsieur Verdoux and "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
52:36-1:00:20 In The Street
1:00:56-1:03:15 Mubi Sponsorship - Mother and We Can't Go Home Again
1:04:22 -1:22:38 The Night of the Hunter
1:22:42-1:24:49 Close / Outtake

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_-_James_Agee_Remembered_The_Night_of_The_Hunter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

From the ghostly fog of Vertigo to the vigilante ethos of Dirty Harry to the geometric paranoia of Zodiac, San Francisco has been a curious site for the movies. It's also an amazing land for cinephilia, and Brian Darr, a writer, programmer, and curator of the blog Hell on Frisco Bay, has made it his mission to trace how cinephilia continues to thrive through the city's repertory, experimental cinemas, and beyond. Brian traces his cinephilia from middle America to Thailand and back to San Francisco, slowly expanding his canon along the way. From there, the two discuss the way the city grew as an alternative to Hollywood, its use for both commercial and art filmmakers, and how the city grew such a reputation for celebrating the cinema of yesteryear. Finally, Brian brings in beat poet Christopher Maclaine's 1953 film The End, which presents both an apocalyptic discourse of living at the end of days, but also presents new ways of thinking and watching cinema.

0:00-2:16 Opening
3:02-51:32 Deep Focus -Brian Darr
52:40-54:56 Mubi Sponsorship - Blondes in the Jungle and Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
56:33 -1:15:10 Double Exposure - The End (Christopher MacLaine)
1:15:13-1:16:46 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_59_-_Brian_Darr_The_End.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Reading Fernando F. Croce's work, you get the sense that his criticism is more of an ode to the gods that create cinema than descriptions of moral material. They are filled with such romanticism and specificity that each line feels as intensely sculpted as the contours of a Bernini. So Peter was absolutely delighted to travel up to San Jose to talk about film with the Brazilian born critic, including the influence of Manny Farber, seeing art as a great unconscious that spills between films and beyond, and the two pillars that hold up this great art. The two then dive into the truly unique world of Once Upon A Honeymoon, a Leo McCarey romantic comedy following Cary Grant and Ginger Rodgers as they flee the Nazi invasion of Europe, creating a pathos that includes both sexual innuendo as well as sympathy for the plight of a soon to be exterminated people.

0:00-2:28 Opening
3:24-9:52 Establishing Shots - Rossellini's India: Matri Bhumi
10:37-53:20 Deep Focus - Fernando F Croce
54:05-56:40 Mubi Sponsorship - Boarding Gate, I'm Still Here, and A Spell To Ward Off the Darkness
58:10 -1:24:36 Double Exposure - Once Upon A Honeymoon (Leo McCarey)
1:24:41-1:26:19 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_58_-_Fernando_F._Croce_Once_Upon_A_Honeymoon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Kiva Reardon isn't one to completely define what her work is, but for the past two years, her new journal cléo has broadened the conversation around cinema and feminism in a unique and exciting way. In this second Toronto-based episode, Kiva talks to Peter about growing up with classic movies, trying to deconstruct pop culture items (including but not limited to: Drake), and the gestural bodily cinema of Claire Denis. They then move onto forming cleo, and why its diversity in terms of both content and form has been one of the key aspects to its success. Finally, Kiva brings in the 1945 Technicolor noir Leave Her To Heaven with Gene Tierney, and the two discuss it as a template for a more recent murderous melodrama: David Fincher's Gone Girl.

0:00-2:00 Opening
3:05-11:44 Establishing Shots - Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien / Donations
12:28-48:35 Deep Focus - Kiva Reardon
49:47-51:27 Mubi Sponsorship - Jean Rollin and Tilda Swinton
53:00 -1:11:26 Double Exposure - Leave Her To Heaven (John M. Stahl)
1:11:30-1:13:34 Close / Outtakes

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_57_-_Kiva_Reardon_Leave_Her_To_Heaven.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

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

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_56_-_Calum_Marsh_The_Last_Days_of_Disco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:10pm EDT

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

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_55_-_Jan-Christopher_Horak_Her_Sisters_Secret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

The Oscars aren't exactly Peter's favorite film event of any given year, but he does find the world they inhabit fascinating: how and why Hollywood presents itself to the rest of the world as it does? And if you are going to follow that universe, the collected journalistic sensibilities of Kristopher Tapley of In Contention is the right place to be. Peter talks to Kris about his start in filmmaking school before transitioning into writing, and uses his time to dispel the common myths many use to dismiss the Oscars. They also talk about his work highlighting the work of the technical support workers and memorable shots, before discussing a film that truly shows the work of below the line people: Oliver Stone's JFK. However, that certainly doesn't stop them from debating the conspiracy itself.

0:00-1:50 Opening
2:54-9:14 Establishing Shots - Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin
10:00-47:38 Deep Focus - Kristopher Tapley
48:55-1:05:05 Double Exposure - JFK (Oliver Stone)
1:05:09-1:06:49 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_54_-_Kristopher_Tapley_JFK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Near the great down under, ex-pat Doug Dillaman has crafted his own cinephile life in New Zealand. Whether it's writing about movies, practicing the craft of editing for national television, or making his own movie, Jake, Doug has continually engaged in movies in a place often not thought about for its cinephile culture. So in this sit down with Peter, Doug talks about his origins of cinephila in Michigan and Texas, the idea of "leaning in" as a way to understand how an editor can tell a story, and how he crafted a supremely dark comedy about a man replaced in his own life. Finally, the two talk about My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki's impressionist vision of childhood magic, which leads Peter to reflect on how we discuss the feeling of delight in cinema.

0:00-2:30 Opening
3:22-8:54 Establishing Shots - On Charles Bronson
9:38-1:18:36 Deep Focus - Doug Dillaman
1:19:19-1:39:06 Double Exposure - My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki)
1:39:10-1:40:48 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_53_-_Doug_Dillaman_My_Neighbor_Totoro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

When cinephiles think of international cinema today, there's a good chance they conjur up images of peasants walking through nature for an uninterrupted 10 (or 20!) minutes while trees rustle in the wind. The films of Argentinian director Matias Pineiro couldn't be further from that image, and are also an absolute delight: beautiful young adults mixed in love triangles through Buenos Aires, reciting history and Shakespeare all while constantly changing their identities (and all under 75 minutes!). His films—The Stolen Man, They All Life, Rosalinda, Viola, and now The Princess of France—represent some of the most exciting and unique contemporary filmmaking today. So Peter sat Matias down to investigate his upbringing in Bueno Aires, his adaptation process when working with great texts of literature, and how he integrates realism into his work to find fantastical elements. Finally, they discuss Jacques Rivette's B-movie homage, Duelle, a masterclass of documentary and the magical, and a film with a surprising connection to Argentina's cinematic history.

0:00-2:49 Opening
4:02-9:34 Establishing Shots - Michael Mann's Blackhat
10:18-1:13:23 Deep Focus - Matias Pineiro
1:14:25-1:15:48 Mubi Sponsorship - Around A Small Mountain
1:16:58-1:36:32 Double Exposure - Duelle (Jacques Rivette)
1:36:35-1:38:27 Close / Outtakes

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_52_-_Matas_Pieiro_Duelle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

"Those lacking in imagination take refuge in reality." So speaks the first line to one of the ten eleven films that appear on Part 2 of Peter Labuza and Keith Uhlich's countdown of the best films of 2014. And what better describes their choices than fantastical images—prehistoric beasts, dogs (talking and non-talking), magical lands, and even more magical loves—bringing us closer to truth. From the snowy peaks of Zubrowka, the peaceful beaches off the coast of France, and inside a female uterus, Keith and Peter search for films that transform the way they see the world. The truth can be tough to swallow ("Well that's depressing," as one character might say), but these films make seeing it all the better.

0:00-6:51 Opening / Voicemails
6:52-21:54 Picks for #5
21:55-43:16 Picks for #4
43:17-1:01:45 Picks for #3
1:02:44-1:04:12 Mubi Sponsorship - Melancholia
1:04:13-1:30:33 Picks for #2
1:30:34-1:52:51 Picks for #1
1:52:52-1:56:02 Close / Outtakes

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_-_2014_Favorites_With_Keith_Uhlich_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT