The Cinephiliacs

Matthew Dessem spent years observing the behind-the-scenes reality of Hollywood, so it's only natural that his book, The Gag Man, would take us behind the scenes of an essential collaborator to silent and sound comedians who all but disappeared behind the name of the stars. In this latest episode of the podcast, Dessem traces his movie upbringing to his eventual project searching through every piece of the Criterion canon, and eventually to his interest in exploring the legends of Hollywood that never made it, whether a screenplay or a collaboration. The two then go in depth on his new biography of Clyde Bruckman, a man with legendary credits but no legend until now. Finally, the two switch to a different legend, Brad Pitt's turn as the notorious outlaw and Casey Affleck as the man who shot him in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, which both embraces the mythology of the classic American genre, while also exposing it at its most ugly.

0:00-2:24 Opening
3:24-9:51 Establishing Shots - Mistress America
10:36-47:26 Deep Focus - Matthew Dessem
48:35-50:48 Mubi Sponsorship
51:42-1:08:37 Double Exposure - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominick)
1:08:40-1:10:40 Close / Outtake


What would you show to the public if you had access to one of the largest film archives in the world? For 9 years, Jim Healy had to figure that out as he served as the programmer at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, and now serves as the programmer for the UW Cinematheque in Madison. Jim traces his early years going to the movies with his brother Pat and his lucky break into programming at the Chicago International Film Festival. The two discuss the work he did at the archive and now serving the University as well as the public, the challenges of digital and 35mm, and how international audiences react to the work of John Cassavetes. Finally, Jim digs up an old treasure waiting for rediscover: The Mind Reader, a Warner Brothers Pre-Code classic with Warren William conning his way from circuses to Park Avenue.

0:00-2:11 Opening
3:18-8:04 Establishing Shots - The Mend
8:50-1:02:01 Deep Focus - Jim Healy
1:02:52-1:05:08 Mubi Sponsorship
1:06:15-1:22:37 Double Exposure - The Mind Reader (Roy Del Ruth)
1:22:42-1:25:27 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_65_-_Jim_Healy_The_Mind_Reader.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

What exactly is acting, and how can we pull apart its elements for our analysis? Madison-based cinephile Brandon Colvin has been trying to figure that out, whether through his academic sutidies, his programming, and most importantly, his own filmmaking. Colvin is the filmmaker behind two of the smallest but most unique films this side of American independent cinema, Frames and Sabbatical, and in this interview with Peter, discusses how he merged his own filmmaking interests with his academic interests, creating and exploring the relationship between directors and performers in the current landscape of today's films. Later, they dive into one of Jean-Luc Godard's most spiritual features, the aptly named Hail Mary, and talk through why this may be the most emotional film the French legend ever made.

0:00-2:20 Opening
3:10-7:54 Establishing Shots - Hill of Freedom
8:38-58:48 Deep Focus - Brandon Colvin
59:55-1:02:32 Mubi Sponsorship
1:03:41-1:21:42 Double Exposure - Hail Mary (Jean-Luc Godard)
1:21:48-1:24:37 Close

Direct download: The_CInephiliacs_64_-_Brandon_Colvin_Hail_Mary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

What exactly is acting, and how can we pull apart its elements for our analysis? Madison-based cinephile Brandon Colvin has been trying to figure that out, whether through his academic sutidies, his programming, and most importantly, his own filmmaking. Colvin is the filmmaker behind two of the smallest but most unique films this side of American independent cinema, Frames and Sabbatical, and in this interview with Peter, discusses how he merged his own filmmaking interests with his academic interests, creating and exploring the relationship between directors and performers in the current landscape of today's films. Later, they dive into one of Jean-Luc Godard's most spiritual features, the aptly named Hail Mary, and talk through why this may be the most emotional film the French legend ever made.

0:00-2:20 Opening
3:10-7:54 Establishing Shots - Hill of Freedom
8:38-58:48 Deep Focus - Brandon Colvin
59:55-1:02:32 Mubi Sponsorship
1:03:41-1:21:42 Double Exposure - Hail Mary (Jean-Luc Godard)
1:21:48-1:24:37 Close

Direct download: The_CInephiliacs_64_-_Brandon_Colvin_Hail_Mary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

So often we spend our time thinking about what we see in movies, that it can be easy to forget that cinema is experienced through time, and that experience depends on a tempo. Professor Lea Jacobs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has been curious about how rhythm creates film, and her new book, Film Rhythm After Sound, attempts to answer what it meant for movies to not just take on sound in the 1930s, but work through new types of interactions between shots, gestures, edits, sounds, speeds, and more. Jacobs also discusses her work on theatrical stage acting in the 1910s, understanding the Production Code as an industry as opposed to just a censor board, and the importance of historical research as part of Madison's legendary film department. Finally, the two dive into Howard Hawks's masterpiece, Only Angels Have Wings, and theorize a relationship between the film's rhythmic patterns and its unique relationship to sentiment.

0:00-2:19 Opening
2:58-8:31 Establishing Shots - Bojack Horseman, Season 2
9:16-1:02:36 Deep Focus - Lea Jacobs
1:03:16-1:05:31 Mubi Sponsorship
1:06:45-1:20:14 Double Exposure - Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks)
1:20:19-1:21:57 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_63_-_Lea_Jacobs_Only_Angels_Have_Wings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

In an age in with the image friendly world of Twitter and Tumblr has made it all to easy to isolate our favorite shots in cinema, Adrian Martin wants to return us to movement. His new book, Mise en Scène And Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art examines the historical and contemporary uses of the French term to describe how frames can turn in style, tone, and intensity, all without an edit. In this trans-Atlantic recorded interview, Adrian discusses his origins as a cinephile in Australia, how the Internet both gave him a voice and provided new challenges, and his continual search to allow films to speak to him in new ways. Finally, they discuss Gloria, a forgotten work by the legendary John Cassavetes, which takes the filmmakers intensely rhythmic style on to the streets of New York for a gangster thriller with Gena Rowlands.

0:00-2:21 Opening
3:45-8:06 Establishing Shots - Hype Williams's Belly
8:50-1:09:39 Deep Focus - Adrian Martin
1:10:33-1:12:44 Mubi Sponsorship
1:13:31-1:32:00 Double Exposure - Gloria (John Cassavetes)
1:32:05-1:33:45 Close

Direct download: The_Cinephiliacs_62_-_Adrian_Martin_Gloria.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

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