(Bonus) Social Realism?


In the first of what will be a regular feature, free for now but soon to be exclusive to Patreon subscribers, Neil and Dario hold a discussion about something cinematic that sits outside the regular programming. In this instance the pair chat about British social realism and in particular the work of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh as the BFI releases some of their seminal titles on Blu-ray.

The discussion covers Leigh's Life Is Sweet (1990) and Loach's Riff-Raff (1991), Raining Stones (1993) and Ladybird Ladybird (1994) and the recent I, Daniel Blake (2016), which is not in the Loach set - asd well as getting into a more general chat about the spectre of social realism in British film history. 

Neil writes about Raining Stones in his chapter on Manchester Movies in the Directory of World Cinema: Britain 2. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: I know there's a lot of erms, you knows, stutters, and ands, but buts and what sounds like we are doing Hannibal Lecter liver bean impressions. I assure you in future Neil edited episodes this will be resolved and you'll be back to listening to the smooth sounds of the Cinematologists in no time. Thanks for your patience while I learn this new skill. NF.

Ep51: Screenplay Film Festival (With Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams)

Our first edition of the new season comes from the Shetland Arts Screenplay Film Festival. Dario speaks to a host of names including the festival curators Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams who discuss their history with the festival and this years' programme; actor George Mackay discusses his career and we hear him introduce a sing-a-long screening of Sunshine on Leith, along with giving a poetry reading performed in the Shetland accent. Friend of the show Hope Dickson Leach talks about the family film strand of the festival programme and we have an excerpt from the Q&A with Bill Nighy who discusses his role in The Limehouse Golum. Also on the programme is Prof. Phil Scraton who wrote Hillsborough: The Truth and was the factual consultant to the Hillsborough Independent panel. His work underpinned the documentary Hillsborough which screened at the festival. Dario's cinematic highlight of the festival was Chico Pereira's Donkeyote, he speaks to the film's producer Sonja Henrici about the context of the project and contemporary documentary more broadly. Read Dario's blog on the film here. Finally, we were delighted to welcome the dulcet Shetland tones of poet, filmmaker and musician Roseanne Watt who discusses her festival highlights gives an impromptu poetry reading. Not to be missed.

George Mackay, Kathy Hubbard, Dario and Hope Dickson Leach

George Mackay, Kathy Hubbard, Dario and Hope Dickson Leach

Show notes

Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams - 10:55

Hope Dickson Leach - 21:05

George Mackay - 33:25

Sunshine on Leith Sing-a-Long intro - 43:55

Bill Nighy Q&A - 01:02:50

Prof. Phil Scraton - 01:09:20

Sonia Henrici - 01:20:47

Roseanne Watt - 01:38:20

Season 6 Trailer

After an enjoyable summer hiatus, when Neil got married and Dario got tanned, we preview the new season episodes and bring news of bonus content, Merch and our new Patreon page.

Ep50: Ask Us Anything

The podcast is 50 episodes old (kind of) and to celebrate, Neil and Dario invited questions from the podcast's loyal following. The episode is made up of a variety of questions from listeners new and old and cover a range of topics including opinions on specific films and filmmakers and ideas including 'separating the art from the artist', 'democratization and digital technology', 'the opportunities for actresses afforded by contemporary sci-fi' and 'directors who've made debuts in the last decade that are destined for the canon'.

It was really fun and humbling to record and we hope you like this mammoth dose of N&D before the podcast takes an extended summer break before returning in the autumn. 

As promised, below you can find scans of the (not very scientific or academic) research Neil did for Kieron Moore's question on debuts by filmmakers from the last ten years...

Ep49b: B. Ruby Rich (also with Club Des Femmes and Yance Ford)

This episode of the podcast - produced in association with Club des Femmes and The Barbican - focuses on the recent retrospective and celebration of the American Film Critic, Scholar and Curator B. Ruby Rich (@brrich1) entitled Bring Ruby Rich. The centrepiece of the podcast is a wide ranging interview with Ruby herself covering, among many things, her initial entry into film criticism, her promotion of the cinema as a social space, the legacy of her concept of New Queer Cinema, and the possibility of a political cinema in the digital age. We also interview Sophie Mayer (@tr0ublemayer) and Selina Robertson (@Clubdesfemmes), from Club Des Femmes who organised the event. And there is an in-depth Q&A hosted by Ruby and featuring Yance Ford (@yford) who discusses his first feature, to be released on Netflix in September, entitled Strong Island.

An Introduction to B. Ruby Rich - Sophie Mayer - BFI Website

"I am draw to the fire" B.Ruby Rich interview by Sophie Mayer - The F Word

B Ruby Rich is one of America’s greatest contemporary film critics and academics. Currently working as a professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California: Santa Cruz, Rich has spent much of her career, both within academia and industry, supporting and celebrating the marginalised voices of moving image. Alongside her academic work, Rich has been International Curator for the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival; has served on juries at the Sundance, Toronto, San Francisco, Oberhausen, Havana, Sydney, and Guadalajara film festivals; and is a member of the advisory board of the Provincetown Film Festival and previously of the Sundance Selection Committee. Rich was also the Director of the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts in charge of supporting non-profit film, video, digital, and radio activities in New York City and throughout New York State in 1981-91.

Yance Ford At 19 years old during his sophomore year at Hamilton University, Yance Ford’s life was unequivocally altered by the brutal murder of his older brother, William Ford Jr.  Originally working in photography, the devastating events surrounding his brother’s death and the refusal of a white jury to persecute William’s killer, galvanised Ford into becoming a filmmaker. Ford has spent most of his professional career, as a series producer for the PBS documentary programme P.O.V, deciding which submissions make it on to air.  After working as a producer for several years, Ford was incited by a conversation with a co-worker to start working on the film that would become Strong Island (2017).

Strong Island (Yance Ford, 2017)

Strong Island (Yance Ford, 2017)

Yance Ford’s debut feature is a deeply moving, complex film about a family murder, memory, injustice and the institutional racism that continues to pervade America’s legal, social and economic systems. Reminiscent of Errol Morris, Ford unforgettably delivers an investigation into resistant black masculinities, cis and trans, and meditations on raw personal grief.

Many thanks to The Barbican for their support in the production of this episode.

Ep49a: Frank (with director Lenny Abrahamson)

A unique episode of the Cinematologists this week as students from the Digital Film course - Abbie Jarvis, Daisy Papworth, Connor Gaffney - present Lenny Abrahamson's black comedy Frank at the ElectricPalace Hastings. Screened as part of Mental Health Awareness week the film focuses on cult musician Frank Sidebottom as seen through the eyes, and script, of journalist and writer Jon Ronson, who was in his band. Neil also talks to the film's director Lenny Abrahamson (@lennyabrahamson) who discusses his filmmaking approach and his Oscar success with Room. Also, in a Pacific Rim moment, Dario and Neil disagree vehemently about Bruno Dumont's latest release Slack Bay, and wax lyrical about the blu-ray re-issue of Julie Dash's seminal black feminist masterpiece Daughters of the Dust.


Ep48: The Levelling (with Hope Dickson Leach & Corrina Antrobus)

In this episode Dario is joined at the Kino Teatr in St. Leonards by film director Hope Dickson Leach (@hopedickle) who introduces and discusses her newly released first feature The Levelling. Ellie Kendrick plays Clover, a young vet who has to reluctantly return to her father's farm after the sudden death of her brother. Deeply buried family tensions are brought to surface in a painful journey of guilt and self-examination told with an aesthetic precision that belies a low-budget first feature status. Hope outlines the production background and creative process behind this poignant and beautifully rendered drama. 

The episode also features a interview with the founder of the Bechdel Test Fest Corrina Antrobus (@corrinacorrina). Corrina discusses the development of the organisation and ruminates on various themes related to the status of women in cinema.

Hope Dickson Leach

Watch The Levelling on the BFI Player

The Bechdel Test Fest

David Edelstein's Wonder Woman Review

Jezebel's response to the Edelstein's Wonder Woman Review

David Edelstein's response to the response to his Wonder Woman review

Ep47: The Other Side of Hope (with academic Jaakko Seppälä)

Dario and Neil visit the Curzon in Aldgate, London, to screen Aki Kaurismäki's latest release The Other Side of HopeExploring similar themes to his last film Le Harve, and effecting Kaurismäki's trademark sardonic, black humour, The Other Side of Hope tells the story of an asylum seeker who is faced with an impenetrable bureaucracy. He finds unlikely help from a local restaurant owner who is facing his own personal demons and struggles with Finnish society.

Neil discusses the career of Aki Kaurismäki with Jaakko Seppälä from the University of Helsinki. Jaakko suggests Finland’s most famous filmmaker occupies a paradoxical position in the country's national consciousness and defines his style in terms of ironic minimalism.

Ep46: Close-up (with Mania Akbari)

Neil, Dario and guest presenter Mark Jenkin discuss the work of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami particularly focusing on his 1990 'documentary' Close-Up. Having recently passed away the love and reverence for Kiarostami in the international film community was starkly apparent by the depth and breadth of tributes to him. Having watched many of his films we discuss his legacy, status and the vibrancy of filmmaking from Iran despite the hugely difficult social and political conditions.

This episode also features an interview with Iranian Filmmaker Mania Akbari. After collaborating with Kiarostami on Ten as an actress, along with her son, Akbari has gone on to a directorial career of her own, making provocative films (along with art exhibitions) that are expressly feminist in nature tackling issues such as memony, identity, the body and sexuality all with an uncompromising personal underpinning.   

Show Notes

The Most Fatal Attraction: Kiarostami's Close-up revisited - Coco Ferguson

Mania Akbari's Website