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

Ep45: Taxi Driver

We return to the Kino Teatr in St. Leonards to screen and discuss one of the most iconic and celebrated films in movie history. Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, scripted by Paul Schrader, has become a touchstone depiction of the alienated American experience post-Vietnam centered around a scintillating performance by Robert De Niro. Dario is joined by guest presenter Alex Fitch as they discuss the film's legacy, Scorsese as a director and all the other elements that give the film its classic status. And Neil and Dario expand on may of the key themes that permeate the work of arguably the greatest living American filmmaker.

 Show notes:

Cinema is Gone

Film Comment Scorsese Interview

Close Up podcast Scorsese interview


Ep44: The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (with director Juho Kuosmanen)

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.

Ep43: Professor Richard Dyer

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. 

Ep42: Ben Wheatley

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. 

Ep41: Victim (with writer David Blakeslee)

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.

Show Notes

The Eclipse Viewer Podcast: http://criterioncast.com/category/podcast/eclipse-viewer

David Blakeslee's contributor's page at Criterion Cast: http://criterioncast.com/author/davi  and Criterion Reflections blog (1921 through 1967): http://criterionreflections.blogspot.com/

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