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98 minutes | May 23, 2022
The Cinephiliacs - SF Silent Film Festival 2022
Three years of absence from the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has only left a longing in Peter's heart. And while The Cinephiliacs remains on permanent hiatus, the return of the best festival in the United States meant a necessary return to podcasting, especially when frequent co-host Victor Morton joining him. In this go around, they marvel at the masters, uncover the unknowns, and celebrate the colors. Watching films across Europe, Ukraine, and Japan, these films once again show us that silent film is not just about finding the old, but seeing anew through the incredible work of archivists, restoration work, and orchestras providing a highlight in the grand ol' Castro Theatre. This might just be a one-off episode, but what better than the Silent Fest to reignite the flames of cinephilia—particularly with fire on screen.
31 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
Framing Media #8 - Jennifer Peterson on Goverment Sponsored Environmental Awareness Films
Today's episode features Jennifer Peterson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Woodbury University and author of Education in the School of Dreams: Travelogues and Early Nonfiction Film. We discuss her article for the "Medicine on Screen" program for the National Library of Medicine entitled "Darkening Day: Air Pollution Films and Environmental Awareness, 1960–1972." Peterson examines a select series of films from the postwar era, all sponsored by the United States government, that tackled growing concerns about air pollution and other environmental concerns in a world before the Environmental Protection Agency. The two look at unique aspects that make these films shocking today, not just for their strong anti-corporate advocacy but often their aesthetic qualities that reflected the experimental films of the era. But Peterson also acknowledges the limitations they held to advocate for positions by turning away from mass mobilization or community organizing by putting trust in the government, a position hard to rationalize in today's continuing climate emergency.
35 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
Framing Media #7 - Anne Kaun on Prison Media Work
Today's episode features Anne Kaun, as Associate Professors at Södertörn University in the Department of Culture and Education, co-editor of Making Time for Digital Lives, and the author of Crisis and Critique: A Brief History of Media Participation in Times of Crisis. We discuss her co-authored article with Fredrik Stiernstedt entitled “Prison Media Work: From Manual Labor to the Work of Being Tracked,” from Media, Culture & Society. We discuss both the historical and global trends in the relationship between prison work and media infrastructures. Anne examines both the traditions of prison labor in building media as part of ,rehabilitation and professionalization, but also how it has evolved under neoliberal transformations to no longer reflect these goals. Most pointedly, she takes us through the new role of work for prisoners: acting as subjects for data analysis by large private companies looking to strengthen their algorithmic computation. Prisoners no longer do media work themselves as much as are a subject of being worked upon by media. In bringing light to this history, Kaun brings light to the complex network we live in that in many ways is shaped by prisons and the incarcerated without our knowledge.
46 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Framing Media #6 - Christina Lane on Producer Joan Harrison, The Mistress of Suspense
Today's episode features Christina Lane, an Associate Professor of film studies and chair of the cinema department at the University of Miami and author of Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break and Magnolia. We discuss her new book, Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, The Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock, which narrates the oft-forgotten tale of one of the studio era's most notable female pioneers. As Lane explores, Harrison played a multi-faceted role in the 1930s and early 1940s for director Alfred Hitchcock that cannot be understated, and then went on to become one of the "girl producers" of the 1940s with fascinating noirish thrillers like Phantom Lady, Dark Waters, and Ride the Pink Horse. Through it all, Lane relishes in the details of the nimble yet prodigious navigator of the studio system, and in particular, her unique transition to television and central role as a proto-showrunner on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. As Lane suggests, Harrison was much more than a "gal Friday," and instead someone who balanced personal toil, political scrutiny, and of course, the misogyny of Hollywood—rarely receiving the credit due to her talents, and offering inspiration for us all today.
46 minutes | Nov 3, 2020
Framing Media #5 - Chris Yogerst on the 1941 Senate Investigations into Pro-War Hollywood
Today's episode features Christopher Yogerst, an assistant professor of communication, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the author of From the Headlines to Hollywood: The Birth and Boom of Warner Bros. We discuss his new book, Hollywood Hates Hitler!: Jew-Baiting, Anti-Nazism, and the Senate Investigation into Warmongering in Motion Pictures, a fascinating look into the 1941 hearings in Congress over Hollywood's role in American life. Yogerst contextualizes an oft-forgotten event in the shadow of World War II, where isolationist Senators (many connected with the anti-Semitic America First Committee) attempted to argue a conspiracy against the film industry for making what they suggested was pro-war propaganda. As Yogerst details, the hearings revealed the follies of the Senate to actually understand the film industry, and highlighted the changing nature of the role of movies within the public. The result is a fascinating telling that would foretell the events that would soon grapple the industry—particularly the HUAC Investigations and the antitrust litigation—and has resonance for the continued role of Congress in its attempts to take on industries in Silicon Valley.
38 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
Framing Media #4 - Hayley O'Malley on Kathleen Collins
Today's episode features Hayley O'Malley, a Mellon postdoctoral fellow for the Black Arts Archive Sawyer Seminar at Northwestern University, who researches black women’s art and activism. We discuss her article, "Art on Her Mind: The Making of Kathleen Collins's Cinema of Interiority,” published in Black Camera. O'Malley looks across the broad spectrum of work, much of it unpublished, by the director of Losing Ground to find an artist continually using a subjective voice to define identity beyond the grounds of race and gender. Searching through her archives, she argues for a broader understanding of Collins as a writer in search of authentic experiences and attempting to tell personal stories without necessarily falling simply into autobiography. The research thus demonstrates a better understanding of this recently rediscovered filmmaker not just as a curios side note for film history, but perhaps a defining thinker and writer who influenced a number of writers, directors, and other artists in ways we might not realize.
38 minutes | Oct 6, 2020
Framing Media #3 - Eleni Palis on Rethinking Film Quotations Through Race
Today's episode features Eleni Palis, an assistant professor of English and Cinema Studies at the University of Tennessee, who researches the intersections between classical and post-classical American cinema. We discuss her article, "Race, Authorship and Film Quotation in Post-Classical Cinema” published in Screen. Palis transforms our idea of the film quotation from a practice of canonization used by the directors of New Hollywood by looking at innovative practices by three African American filmmakers: Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, and Spike Lee. In her reading of their films, and particularly the use of manufactured and "fake"quotations, Palis demonstrates an alternative use to the practice that interrogates our own relationship to film histories, both real and imagined. Trough a generation of filmmakers who cannot necessarily look to the past for the same kind of inspiration, her article allows us to rethink our own relationship to Hollywood's own history.
36 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Framing Media #2 - Katie Bird on the Art and Labor of Steadicam Operators
Today's episode features Katie Bird, an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, who researches technology and craft histories in Hollywood film production. We discuss her video essay, "Feeling and Thought as They Take Form: Early Steadicam, Labor, and Technology (1974-1985),” published in the Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies. Bird emphasizes the operator's role in this unique technology's early history in both major films like The Shining and Halloween, as well as demo reels, industrial works, and more. She emphasizes how the choices of the operators—both physically and affectively, often referring to their own work closer to dancing—ultimately shaped the images we saw and how we respond to them. Bird challenges viewers to see the craft as labor beyond just invisibility, appreciating the art of production at every step.
37 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
Framing Media #1 - JD Schnepf on Drone Humanitarianism
Today's episode features JD Scnepf, a scholar of American Studies in Political Culture and Theory at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. We discuss her article, "Flood from Above: Disaster Mediation and Drone Humanitarianism," published in Media+Environment. Schnepf looks at the culture of the drone in humanitarian disasters like hurricanes and floods, studying how the private digital media infrastructure reveals the privatization of American life. Moreover, she explores how seeing and studying how drones work in these environmental situations demonstrates how we are taught to see drones as "life giving" objects, and how that provides a new critique of their military uses.
102 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
TC #124 - Brian L. Frye (The Hart of London)
To suggest that Brian L. Frye has lived an eclectic life would be an understatement. A former experimental filmmaker, a collector of home movies, and a legal scholar of intellectual property among other strange, often quizzical projects at the University of Kentucky. After having Peter on his own podcast, Brian sat down tor return the favor. We discuss his oddball way into filmmaking (including his notorious film, Brian Frye Fails to Masturbate), his collaboration on the most curious documentary about home movies perhaps ever made—Our Nixon—and then look at much of his legal scholarship and the various avenues of exploration that has led him down (including how the defendant of one of the most important cases every 1L learns may have been lying the entire time). The discussion remains quite strange: from the Supreme Court nominee who was squashed by Flaming Creatures to the intellectual property history of the Zapruder film, to why you should plagiarize. Finally, the two discuss The Hart of London, Jack Chambers's amazing experimental film and the failure of words to possibly describe this monumental work. 0:00–5:57 Opening6:43–1:21:44 Deep Focus — Brian L. Frye1:22:21–1:27:24 MUBI Sponsorship Section1:28:34–1:40:16 Double Exposure — The Hart of London (Jack Chambers)1:40:22–1:41:59 Close
126 minutes | May 28, 2020
TC - Live Sports! A Chat on Recent Non-Fiction
Desperate for bodies in motion, five quarantined cinephiles joined Peter and a number of podcast listeners on Zoom to talk about the recent non-fiction films they've been devouring on the world of athletics. Some shows favor the classic narratives; others a different approach. All made for a great happy hour. Join Peter alongside Carman Tse, Nate Fisher, Eric Marsh, Jake Mulligan, and Matt Ellis for a talk about ESPN and the NBA's ten hour "examination" into Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls with The Last Dance, Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein's expose into the history of baseball's oddest team with The History of the Seattle Mariners, and Theo Anthony's 30 for 30 special on tennis replay, Subject to Review, which might not actually be about tennis but all society. Plus, they remember some guys. Man, remember those guys? Whatever happened to those guys???? 0:00–5:16 Opening 6:07-51:41 The Last Dance (Jason Hehir [or Michael Jordan and the NBA]) 52:29–56:23 Sponsorship Section 57:25–1:40:10 The History of the Seattle Mariners (Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein) 1:41:18–2:03:48 Subject to Review (Theo Anthony) 2:04:05–1:56:51 Close
117 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
TC #123 - James Leo Cahill (Pom Poko)
As a constant Instagram user, I find it hard not to love the numerous videos of mammals and other species in behavior whose response always comes down to "they're just like us!" But what about that history of cinema that shows us how animals are not like us, and perhaps encourages us to think outside our own worldview. In Zoological Surrealism, University of Toronto professor James Leo Cahill explores the wondrously strange history of filmmaker Jean Painlevé, best known for his documentary The Seahorse, and explores the numerous scientific films and how he and his collaborators essentially embraced a different worldview by merging art and science. In this long ranging history, James takes us through his first fascinations with cinema and animals as well as through the numerous unique theories he develops through tracing a transhistorical understanding of Painlevé. Finally, the two embrace every emotion through examining Pom Poko, a curious anime from Studio Ghibli that traces the last years of a dying species and celebrates the way we feel loss....a film quite appropriate for our current moment. 0:00–7:10 Opening7:54-13:05 MUBI Sponsorship13:50–1:32:30 Deep Focus — James Leo Cahill1:34:35–1:37:35 OVID.TV Sponsorship Section1:38:21–1:54:08 Double Exposure — Pom Poko (Isao Takahata)1:54:56–1:56:51 Close
67 minutes | Apr 3, 2020
TC #122 - Marie-Louise Khondji (Birth)
Nothing is more frustrating in our streaming era than turning on any specific app and suddenly staring hundreds of movie posters with only an algorithm trying to decide what you might like (especially if such product is actually made by the company to help its margins). But what if there was a streaming site that only offered a single movie a week, and maybe not even a feature but a short or medium-length feature? And what if it had circulated ultra-rare films by Claire Denis, Hong Sang-Soo, Matias Piñeiro, Jonas Mekas, and fascinating filmmakers you had never heard of? That's the promise Marie-Louise Khondji has brought to her site Le Cinéma Club. Marie sits down to talk about growing up with her father (the cinematographer Darius) and how she moved into management through distribution and production before starting a site to help filmmakers showcase work that needed an outlet and created to be accessible for all. Finally, the two talk about the wonderful Jonathan Glazer film Birth, and how it seems to capture a certain timeless stasis of its upper elite New York culture. 0:00–6:27 Opening7:40-11:32 OVID.TV Sponsorship12:17–45:51 Deep Focus — Marie-Louise Khondji46:40–51:15 MUBI Sponsorship Section52:31–1:03:47 Double Exposure — Birth (Jonathan Glazer)1:04:12–1:06:42 Close
103 minutes | Mar 19, 2020
TC #121 - Jon Dieringer (Made in Hollywood)
The podcast returns in our perilous times with a profile of the website all about what's playing in repertory and experimental cinemas across New York. And though the balconies remained closed and the popcorn machines without an ounce, there are plenty of reason to subscribe to Screen Slate and listen to this conversation with Jon Dieringer. Jon takes us to his early programming days and work on a few Hollywood movies before diving into the complex work preserving the history of experimental video at Electronic Arts Intermix. He then talks about the origins of Screen Slate (including its infamous and now defunct competitor) and how it continues to push the boundaries of what curious cinephiles can and should watch. Finally, the two dive into the absolute oddity that is Made in Hollywood, a proto-Lynch take on the industry from Bruce and Norman Yonemoto with Patricia Arquette that is both highly artificial and highly bizarre. 0:00–6:18 Opening7:27-10:43 OVID.TV Sponsorship11:28–1:20:21 Deep Focus — Jon Dieringer1:21:32–1:24:57 MUBI Sponsorship Section1:25:37–1:40:32 Double Exposure — Made in Hollywood (Bruce and Norman Yonemoto)1:40:36–1:42:33 Close // Outtake
79 minutes | Jan 15, 2020
TC #120 - Alison Kozberg (Nowhere)
If cinema enters what might be its 100th identity crisis since its birth, there is at least a more appropriate question to ask: where will cinema take place? As the first guest of 2020, Peter brings in Art House Convergence director Alison Kozberg to tackle how the art house scene has changed less in Los Angeles and New York but instead transformed cities like Tuscon and Charleston. Alison charts her life as a repertory-goer in the 1990s to learning the tricks of programming for both classic Hollywood and experimental works in places like Minneapolis, Boston, and South Carolina. She then looks at the new challenges—but more so, opportunities—for art houses to engage and create new community spaces. Finally, the two dive back into her teen years to examine Gregg Araki's apocalyptic teenage satire Nowhere, which Alison argues as a rare breakthrough film of the time to openly accept queer identities as normative. 0:00–5:06 Opening5:52–51:11 Deep Focus — Alison Kozberg 52:28–57:34 Sponsorship Section58:57–1:17:03 Double Exposure — Nowhere (Gregg Araki)1:17:28–1:19:21 Close
68 minutes | Oct 18, 2019
TC #119 - Racquel Gates (White Chicks)
In some regards, cinephilia often defines itself in knowing what is good from what is bad, highlighting the rarity of intention and execution in a select few texts from the rest of the trash. But what about those supposedly bad films? Do they not offer insight into our culture as well? In Double Negative, Associate Professor Racquel Gates explores the supposed bad mirror image of black cinema and television from the 1980s and beyond. Looking at a set of nearly forgotten works, Gates examines how these texts reveal insights into black popular culture often ignored by the mainstream. As Peter and Racquel discuss, these texts often aim to show a slice of American life what is usually acceptable in white popular culture—if only simply showing suburban middle-class life. In their final segment, they dissect the topic of whiteness with the 2004 Wayans Brother flick White Chicks, a very silly film with a very insightful dissection of privilege and femininity, as well as absolute sheer gross-out humor. 0:00–3:03 Opening3:41–11:37 Establishing Shots — At the Mill Valley Film Festival12:23–49:33 Deep Focus — Racquel Gates50:52–54:23 Sponsorship Section55:33–1:06:04 Double Exposure — White Chicks (Keenen Ivory Wayans)1:06:25–1:08:17 Close / Outtake
96 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
TC #118 - Daniel Steinhart (Bunny Lake Is Missing)
As much as many will espouse the "universal language" of cinema, the experience of both making and watching films from location to location is full of fascinating difference. As someone who grew up watching films in both America and Colombia, Daniel Steinhart became attuned to look for these differences as he traveled film festivals as well. But his book, Runaway Hollywood, moves from the audience to the filmmakers who escaped the studio lot and made works across the globe in the postwar era. Peter and Dan discuss this fascinating taxonomy of taxes and tea, gaffers and genre, politics and panning shots. How exactly could this cultural exchange create a change in film style? Finally, they dive into an oddball thriller from Otto Preminger shot in London, Bunny Lake Is Missing, examining how this film balances both its unique locale and the demands of its auteur. 0:00–3:28 Opening5:11–12:52 Establishing Shots — Gilberto Perez's The Eloquent Screen13:37–1:07:22 Deep Focus — Daniel Steinhart1:08:06–1:11:33 Sponsorship Section1:12:52–1:33:02 Double Exposure — Bunny Lake Is Missing (Otto Preminger)1:33:07–1:35:50 Close
91 minutes | Aug 1, 2019
TC #117 - Justin Chang (Flowers of Shanghai)
Being the metropolitan area newspaper's film critic has its set of burdens and responsibilities to a number of diverse audiences, but for Justin Chang, those challenges are multiplied by the the odd nature of Los Angeles as the movie capital of the world. In this final episode from the City of Angels as Peter says adios to the city he's called home for the last five years, he sits down with the former Variety and current Los Angeles Times critic to explore how to look and consider the industry and the various entanglements that expand out from it. Justin explains his growth from intern to critic within the city's oldest trade publication to the issues of representation and politics within Hollywood today. The two cap off their conversation by looking at Hou Hsiao-Hsien's strange and hypnotic Flowers of Shanghai, looking at how the director lays clues throughout to explore a 19th century brothel wrapped into a romantic mystery. 0:00–3:11 Opening3:51–11:39 Establishing Shots — Celebrating Seven Years of The Cinephiliacs12:24–1:04:31 Deep Focus — Justin Chang1:05:28–1:09:15 Sponsorship Section1:10:27–1:28:49 Double Exposure — Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)1:29:02–1:31:29 Close / Outtake
87 minutes | Jul 15, 2019
TC #116 - Elena Gorfinkel (The Color of Love)
As this podcast has aimed to define, those who watch cinema can often be more revealing of culture than cinema itself. In her book, Lewd Looks, Elena Gorfinkel explores the sexploitation era of the 1960s. However, she looks past the texts to consider some of the more aspects of spectators and the public who shaped this unique era. The result is a fascinating text that considers cinephilia's history in ways that imagines both a more dynamic and complex past alongside a new way of formulating our current moment. Peter and Elena go on to discuss the issues surrounding cinephilia today and Elena's own work outside of the academic halls. Finally, Elena brings in the fascinating experimental work The Color of Love from filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh, considering how this work literally found in a dumpster becomes a cinephilie love letter to another forgotten filmmaker. 0:00–3:16 Opening4:01–1:03:33 Deep Focus — Elena Gorfinkel1:04:30–1:03:33 Sponsorship Section1:08:24–1:25:14 Double Exposure — The Color of Love (Peggy Ahwesh)1:25:19–1:26:52 Close
81 minutes | Jun 14, 2019
TC #115 - Joshua Gleich (Days of Wine and Roses)
For anyone whose lived in Los Angeles or New York, it's easy to see when a film cheats its its locales. Just watch John Wick 3 and see the eponymous character seemingly make the trip from Midtown to Chinatown in a matter of minutes—and all by foot. But why has location shooting evolved such as it is? Joshua Gleich, a historian making his home at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, explores this by looking at the city of fog, San Francisco. Less an exploration of which films "get it right" or "get it wrong," Gleich's new book explores the evolution of location shooting from the 1940s to the 1970s, and how curiously the films of SF soon diverted from its actual life, attempting to mimic the urban nightmares that took up the imagination of Hollywood. Josh talks about his new book with Peter, exploring a number of classic films and the production contexts that made them. Finally, the two explore Blake Edwards's alcoholic drama Days of Wine and Roses and how a little location shooting can help pepper an entire film, especially one that breaks many of the molds of the classic Hollywood melodrama. Plus, Peter praises the work of the back-in-action Le Cinema Club and its opener with a rare Claire Denis short made in New York. 0:00–3:28 Opening3:51–8:37 Establishing Shots — Le Cinema Club and Claire Denis9:21–59:20 Deep Focus — Joshua Gleich1:00:23–1:03:49 Sponsorship Section1:05:44–1:19:21 Double Exposure — Days of Wine and Roses (Blake Edwards)1:19:27–1:26:52 Close
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