The Cinephiliacs

What does cinephilia look like when your local theaters are not filled with Hollywood's spectacle driven blockbusters, but films that feature action, romance, and musical numbers all at the same time? And how does that change the way you look at art cinema or festivals in general? Mumbai film critic Laya Maheshwari has thought about his own views for much of his career, and now shares those experiences with Peter. From the international travel to festivals both in Europe and elsewhere (including North Korea), to the continually evolving industry of Bollywood, Laya provides insights that are often missed from the perspective of the West, and grapples with what it means to be both a cinephile and yet often turn to only writing about what occurs locally. The two top it off with a look at one of the all time (no country specification needed) great films: Sholay. How did this masala film become the defining phenomenon as it has?

0:00-2:36 Opening
3:46-9:36 Establishing Shots — At Long Last Love
10:22-1:14:40 Deep Focus — Laya Maheshwari
1:15:29-1:17:28 Sponsorship Section
1:18:30-1:42:20 Double Exposure — Sholay (Ramesh Sippy)
1:42:29-1:44:05 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_89_-_Laya_Maheshwari_Sholay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

You can get a panoramic view of Los Angeles from the office of Charles Cohen, a real estate mogul who about a decade ago returned to his true passion for cinema. But Cohen does not need to impress with optics: his commitment to restoration and exhibition of silent films, Classical Hollywood, art cinema, and new foreign language works speaks for itself. With a new theater in New York on the way, Cohen has also taken a handful of the titles from his expanding cinema library and is now presenting them on public television through KCET. In this roundtable interview at the Pacific Design Center, Cohen discusses his background and continuing plans to develop cinephilia, and what separates him from the other financial giants whose role in film development alongside their political affiliations has many asking questions about who makes what we watch.

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

TC #88 - Jake Mulligan (Hail The Conquering Hero)

Boston-bred and born guest Jake Mulligan has always been something of a kindred spirit with Peter. Not just in terms of their approach to aesthetics, but also how and what they see the goal of film criticism can be. So it was perhaps inevitable that they would turn their interview into something of a state of the union in how and what writers should be doing when it comes to analyzing films and film culture. Jake recalls his entry into cinema through the bro film canon and how his path toward journalism has shaped his role in deciding what (and more importantly how) visual media should be worth covering. They then discuss how streaming and digital has affected the role that critics play, and perhaps shed some light on other alternative approaches of what is an increasingly robotic profession. But after letting out some steam, they get to the bread and butter by going deep into the political aesthetics of Preston Sturges's war time comedy, Hail The Conquering Hero, asking the very difficult question of what exactly is direction when it comes to Classical Hollywood screwball comedy.

0:00-2:37 Opening
3:15-10:14 Establishing Shots — Charles Cohen Preview
10:59-1:16:58 Deep Focus — Jake Mulligan
1:18:00-1:46:49 Double Exposure — Hail The Conquering Hero (Preston Sturges)
1:46:53-1:49:05 Close / Outtake

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_88_-_Jake_Mulligan_Hail_The_Conquering_Hero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

TC - 2016 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part 2)

Often, we ask questions about what can cinema do. Perhaps the more important question, however, is to ask what should cinema do. As Keith Uhlich and Peter Labuza countdown their favorite media objects of 2016, this question plays out in a myriad of discussion. From the trascendence of genre to the nature of longform, to the act of describing to the disection of popular entertainment. And finally, the two enter a long debate about the nature of non-fiction and reality, as well as the very act of seeing death in cinema. What function should the camera perform, not just for us but the people who hold it? And is there something unique about art and its function in the surrounding world? Plus, former guests of the show call in with their favorite films of the year.

0:00-2:57 Opening
2:57-27:45 Picks for #5
29:06-49:34 Picks for #4
49:34-1:08:04 Picks for #3
1:09:47-1:12:29 Sponsorship Section
1:13-40-1:39:20 Picks for #2
1:40:40-2:11:53 Picks for #1
2:11:53-2:13:37 Closing Thoughts
2:13:47-2:15:27 Close / Outtake

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_-_2016_Favorites_With_Keith_Uhlich_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

TC - 2016 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part 1)

In times of crisis, sometimes the easy answer is to escape to the cinema. But the movies of 2016 did not necessarily bring escape, whether it was the mortgage crisis in Texas, homophobia in Miami, or misogyny in Montana. But in these cinematic works of art, some relief or euphoria can transform real life into something more bareable (or if you're Rob Zombie, even more screwed up). Keith Uhlich joins the podcast for his 5th time to countdown the favorites of 2016. Discussions range from the nature of experimental cinema, to the nature of historical fact, to what it means to go past idenity and into specificity. Plus, Peter and Keith list their favorites repertory discoveries of the year.

0:00-3:20 Opening
3:20-22:39 Picks for #10
22:39-39:42 Picks for #9
39:42-1:13:06 Picks for #8
1:13:53-1:16:12 Sponsorship Section
1:17-00-1:36:26 Picks for #7
1:36:26-1:57:00 Picks for #6
1:57:00-2:10:33 Favorite Repertory Picks of 2016
2:10:51-2:12:46 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_-_2016_Favorites_With_Keith_Uhlich_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

TC #87 - Fredrik Gustafsson (Great Expectations)

You've probably seen Citizen Kane, but have you seen its Swedish lesbian equivilant 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, Ekamn'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 as 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 negelted 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 Intiative
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

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_87_-_Fredrik_Gustafsson_Great_Expectations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

In a podcast first, the podcast...repeats itself. But in a thematic way! 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 Nehme-Smith'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 Nehme-Smith
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

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

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

Direct download: The_CInephiliacs_86_-_Gordon_Quinn_One_Way_Or_Another.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

TC #85 - Jeff Lambert (Stranger Than Paradise)

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

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_85_-_Jeff_Lambert_Stranger_Than_Paradise.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

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

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_84_-_Scott_Bukatman_Some_Came_Running.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT