For today's episode we team up with MUBI and Little White Lies to feature Cannes 'Un Certain Regard' prize winner The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki. Neil interviews the film's director Juho Kuosmanen about his subtle boxing love story and we also have a Q&A from a recent screening held and the ICA in London. Dario and Neil ruminate on some of the themes central to the film particularly the depictions of masculinity and struggle to find one's true self in the face of external pressures.
In the second of a long-form interview double bill, Dario talks to Professor Richard Dyer about is career and work. Professor Dyer's writing and scholarship has been extremely influential across Cultural Studies and Film Studies with recurring foci on the politics of representation, ideology and class, gender and sexuality, race, stardom to name just a few. His intellectual curiosity is infused with a identity politics that often centres around the difficult, contradictory relationship between cultural production and social reality. His work is hugely relevant to today's issues and in this interview Professor Dyer is generously self-reflexive in looking back, with a critical eye, over his long and distinguised career.
In this episode Neil talks to film director Ben Wheatley. In a fascinating and in-depth interview and Q&A, Ben discusses his filmmaking career and his most recent release Free Fire, giving analysis and nuggets of advice that will be of interest to both ardent fans and aspiring filmmakers alike.
Dario is joined by film lecturer Douglas McNaughton at the Electric Palace to screen Basil Dearden's profound drama Victim (1961), starring the magnetic Dirk Bogarde and the superb Sylvia Sims. In many ways a film ahead of its time dealing with the social implications of homosexuality in a time when it was still illegal and a taboo subject. On its release in the United Kingdom it proved highly controversial to the British Board of Film Censors, and in the U.S. it was refused a seal of approval from the American Motion Picture Production Code. Dario also speaks to writer and podcaster David Blakeslee who has written about the film for his Criterion Cast blog.
The Eclipse Viewer Podcast: http://criterioncast.com/category/podcast/eclipse-viewer
Neil's piece on Victim for Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second: https://medium.com/hope-lies-at-24-frames-per-second/i-realise-everything-dirk-bogarde-in-as-victim-51b5634fa063
Neil is joined at Falmouth University's School of Film & Television by Dr Sabina Stent (@SabinaStent) and Dr Felicity Gee (@fiandshoegaze) to discuss feminist surrealism and film. The event took place in front of students, staff and local filmmakers and artists and was a wide-ranging discussion that was invigorating and illuminating. Also, the talk of a personal politics of resistance was much needed in these troubling times.
This episode is presented in association with Mubi to coincide with their season dedicated to experimental and independent female filmmakers. Filmmakers whose work is screened as part of the season include Chantal Akerman and Agnes Varda, prominent figures in the podcast discussion. The season starts Friday March 3rd and in addition to those mentioned above showcases work by Anna Biller, Celine Sciamma, Lena Dunham, So Yong Kim and Cinematologists favourite Ida Lupino. We screened and discussed Lupino's The Hitch-hiker for an earlier episode.
Below you will find links to work that was screened as part of the event:
Dario is joined by Film Theorist Emre Caglayan at the Electric Palace in Hastings to screen and discuss Georges Franju's classic surrealist inspired horror Eyes Without a Face. A truly influential film Eyes Without a Face is often placed alongside Psycho and Peeping Tom as examples of art-house director exploring the horror genre and the film still possesses a sense of unsettling eeriness.
Dario also interview Matt Smith an academic from Georgia State University in Atlanta to discuss the influence of the Eyes Without A Face on new extremist cinema on France at the end of the 20th century. Neil and Dario expand on Franju's legacy as a filmmaker in the French canon.
You can watch Eyes Without a Face on Youtube.
There's some soul searching in this episode as Neil and Dario try and figure out how and why to watch cinema with the world in such a state of flux. Thankfully, the film under focus is apt for this purpose. Down in Falmouth Neil and Kingsley screen and discuss a seminal childhood film for all involved, a film that seems more prescient that ever: Paul Verhoeven's 80s sci-fi classic Robocop.
It seems the enduring relevance of Robocop is on other people's minds at the moment. Check out Abraham Riesman's recent piece for Vulture here.
Also, for more discussion about cinema in an age of repression and confusion and why film matters, check out this brilliant Film Quarterly panel hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Vital listening for these tumultuous times.
For this episode, The Cinematologists were invited to cover the Arts Foundations Essay Film prize and an event they are hosting entitled Essay Film Now. Dario interviews the shortlisted filmmakers Charlie Lyne, Marianna Simnett, Samuel Stevens and Sarah Wood about their work and their thoughts on essay film as a cinematic and artistic practice. Dario also talks to the Art Foundation director Shelly Warren and with Sophie Mayer, a writer, poet and film critic about the history, political and philosophy underpinning the essay film as a form.
- For details of the Arts Foundation Prize visit their website
- 6:30 - Sophie Mayer - Click here for Sophie's presentation at Essay Film Now.
- 26:30 - Shelley Warren
- 33:40 - Charlie Lyne
- 56:01 - Marianna Simnett
- 01:15:29 - Samuel Stevens
- 01:36:16 - Sarah Wood
In this end of year special Neil and Dario ruminate on their highlights and lowlights of 2016s films. To all our listeners we wish you a happy holiday season and all the best for 2017.
Neil and Dario are joined by Cornish filmmaker Mark Jenkin at the Newlyn FilmHouse to discuss Joe Dante's riotous comedy-horror Gremlins. The experience of watching in the auditorium is a central topic of conversation as Gremlins seemed to provoke nostalgic feelings of cinema in the 80s. Chrismas films, good, bad and indifferent, are also discussed and Neil speaks to Art of the Title's Lola Landekic in a fascinating interview about the aesthetics and meaning of titles and title sequences.