The Cinephiliacs (general)

Cinephilia begins with one thing: the love of a gesture, a line of dialogue, the way a camera moves. In the contemporary landscape of filmmaking, whose work better inspires cinephilia that of James Gray? The filmmaker of Little Odessa, The Yards, We Own The Night, Two Lovers, and The Immigrant joins Peter on the podcast to discuss his meteoric rise in the world of filmmaking, his attention to detail in trying to build each of his characters, the production process behind some of his most breathtaking shots, and the importance of story in cinema. Finally the two turn to Federico Fellini's 1957 masterpiece Nights of Cabiria, examining how the film conveys the most important aspect that art can do: the fundamental human decency of any person.

0:00-2:29 Opening
3:18-10:15 Establishing Shots - 3 Years of The Cinephiliacs
11:00-1:06:41 Deep Focus - James Gray
1:07:21-1:09:12 Mubi Sponsorship
1:10:10-1:22:01 Double Exposure - Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
1:22:04-1:25:45 Close / Outtakes

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_61_-_James_Gray_Nights_of_Cabiria.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

After first watching Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, Peter went through a phase of going through the albums of Public Enemy. They were loud, rambunctious, and meant something in the same way the films he watched. But what happened to them after the summer of 1989? Tim Grierson's new biography of the group examines that question of perhaps the most important hip hop artists of all time, tracking both their meteoric rise and through their much-more-interesting-than-you've-been-told years that followed. Since Tim also works as a film critic, he sits down to trace his origins as a Midwestern boy coming to Los Angeles, his mindset for writing, and of course his book (along with his struggle with understanding a group so different from his own identity). The two then close out the conversation with another music-movie: Joanthan Demme's concert movie of the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, a film of ebullient surprise and joy, while also one of the most meticulously constructed documentaries ever put on screen.

0:00-2:44 Opening
3:02-10:03 Establishing Shots - Results and Pitch Perfect 2
10:48-1:30:04 Deep Focus - Tim Grierson
1:30:55-1:32:55 Mubi Sponsorship
1:33:50-1:58:10 Double Exposure - Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme)
1:58:14-1:59:57 Close / Outtake

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_60_-_Tim_Grierson_Stop_Making_Sense.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

TC - SF Silent Film Festival (With Victor Morton)

Peter may not have been able to attend the Cannes Film Festival this year, but a five hour drive to San Francisco resulted in discovering some of the most amazing and groundbreaking works of cinema...all made 80 years ago, and in a few cases, over a 100! Former podcast guest Victor Morton joins the podcast to discuss the 20th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, a five day event at the Castro Theatre, premiering new restorations and discoveries from an era of movies in which new artifacts are constantly being found and challenging the history of moving image aesthetics as we know it. From a silent version of a sound classic, to the Rube Goldberg of silent comedy, to gangs of women and quarreling children—Victor and Peter stand in awe of the work of filmmakers they had never even heard of before, and go in depth to films that with some time and effort could become part of the new canon of silent cinema.

0:00-13:37 Opening / All Quiet on The Western Front (1930)
13:54-23:39 A Trip Down Market Street (1906)
23:55-37:33 Visages D'Enfants (1925)
37:55-39:49 Mubi Sponsorship
40:07-51:50 Shorts by Charley Bowers (1926-1928)
52:14-1:00:20 Norrtullsligan (1923)
1:04:46 -1:17:37 The Swallow and the Titmouse (1920)
1:17:40-1:19:34 Close / Outtake

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

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