May 11th, 2019
Scott Barley makes sublime, juddering, immersive, multi-sensory films. They drift across an experimental, nature doc, slow cinema axis - sometimes with brute force and sometimes with an aching tranquility. In a few years he has amassed a formidable filmography of short film work and in 2017 presented his debut feature, Sleep Has Her House, to the world.
In late 2018, Scott travelled to the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University where he and his film held the audience rapt. That conversation is presented here in full, bookended by Neil and Dario getting to grips with a piece of work that both invites and defies interpretation. They also, as is customary, talk about feeling and meaning in cinema, the type of cinema that needs and deserves attention from a podcast like this and film culture in general, and the overwhelming and altering experience of Scott’s work.
Throughout the episode there is audio from Scott’s short films, which can be found on his Vimeo page here, and from his music, which can be bought on Bandcamp here. Tracks featured are To The Lighthouse, Nebulae and Sleep Has Her House.
A special thank you to Dr Kingsley Marshall and Film at Falmouth for making this episode possible.
In closing, the episode features more pauses and collecting of thoughts than normal. Rather than edit a lot of the indecisiveness out, we’ve kept it in, because it felt right in this instance, because the film in question had a greater impact on us in that regard than normal. It is a really special piece of work. We thank Scott for sharing it with us, and can’t wait to hear what you make of this talk and Scott’s films.
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April 20th, 2019
Both Neil and I are avid users of the typewriter so when we got the chance to speak to Doug Nichol the director of the 2017 documentary California Typewriter, it was a great chance to wax lyrical about the virtues of this 'obsolete' technology. On the surface, the film could have been overly nostalgic or, heaven forbid, dripping with retro hipsterism, but following the owner and staff of a repair shop originally opened in 1949 in Berkeley, a more profound story of how technological change affects the society and the lives within emerges. Also fascinating are the comments from famous names - including Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard and John Mayer - who see the typewriter as indispensable to their creative practice and personal identity. Other characters in the documentary reflect a more obsessive reverence and eccentric application of the machine that in many ways defined 20th-century modernity. Indeed, the film ruminates on our fundamental relationship to technology suggesting that the analogue and the digital have a symbiotic relationship rather than one of death and replacement.
Follow @Doug_Nichol & @Caltypefilm on Twitter.
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April 9th, 2019
The year is 2027, the world has collapsed but Britain soldiers on. Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men has seemingly only increased in significance and appreciation since its release in 2006. Based loosely on a P.D. James novel Cuarón imagines a world that has lost hope because of human infertility but this only the narrative starting point for an aesthetically and thematically layered dystopian nightmare. Discussion of the film's many social, cultural and political elements sometimes takes away from the fact it is a brilliant piece of action cinema with an aesthetic immediacy and depth of world-building, that has become a signature of Cuarón's filmmaking
We screened the film at Kings College London and would like to thank PhD Student Joseph Jenner for organising the event and co-presenting the screening with Dario.
Why Children of Men has never been as shocking as it is now - Nicolas Barber (BBC)
Humanity Adrift: Race, Materiality, and Allegory in Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men - Zahid R. Chaudhary (Camera Obscura)
Future Shock - Abraham Riesman (Vulture)
Why Alfonso Cuarón's anti-Blade Runner looks more relevant than ever - Stephen Dalton (BFI)
The Child to Come: Life After the Human Catastrophe - Rebekah Sheldon
March 29th, 2019
Dr Racquel Gates is assistant professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the College of Staten Island. She is the author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke, 2018).
For the latest episode, Racquel talked to Neil about her book and a number of other topics including contemporary black screen art and criticism, Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, Black cultural scholarship and the Academy, Empire, Reality TV, Sorry To Bother You and lots more. Racquel was very tolerant of Neil’s rambling enthusiasm for her work and the ideas and thoughts it spawned in him. Her book is incisive and entertaining and as a thinker Racquel expertly discusses texts while understanding the fluidity of ideas and issues around flaws, problems, virtues and areas of scholarly note. This conversation is one of our favourites. It gets into some really fascinating areas and touches on black film history and the wider contexts of the contemporary moment. We hope you enjoy it.
Here’s a link to the book Racquel mentions whose title gets lost on the episode due to a drop in the Skype signal - Horror Noire by Robin R. Means Coleman.
A link to Wesley Morris on the Longform Podcast and his NYT essay, and the Harper’s Podcast Like This Or Die, all of which are referenced in Neil and Dario’s chat around the central conversation on this episode.
March 7th, 2019
Our long-awaited final episode in partnership with the BFI’s Comedy Genius season is finally here and it’s a doozy. Compiled over the last few months as the national season was taking place between November and January, this episode sees a diverse range of film critics, academics, filmmakers and an illustrator (as well as Neil and Dario of course) sharing some of their favourite comedy films and performances.
This episode was envisaged as a joyous journey into screen comedy and our guests have picked a range of performers from cinema (as well as television and stand-up comedy) history to reflect upon. We hope it serves as a reminder of the joy and importance of laughing and the innate and deeply personal connection that audiences have with screen comedy.
Thanks to the BFI FAN Network for supporting the making of this episode. Thanks also, to our amazing roster of participants who shared their time and their love of comedic performances in all different shades.
Dr Sabina Stent talking about Spy / Scott Tanner Jones talking about Midnight Run / Dr Felicity Gee talking about Nicole Kidman in To Die For / Jason Wood talking about Sons of the Desert / Annabel Grundy talking about Jennifer Saunders / Ash Clark talking about Eddie Marsan in Happy-Go Lucky / Ren Zelen talking about Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau / Hel Harding-Jones talking about The Out Of Towners / Mark Jenkin talking about Stir Crazy / Hope Dickson Leach talking about 3 Joan Cusack performances / David Litchfield talking about Raising Arizona / Violet Lucca talking about Step Brothers & Dr Racquel Gates talking about Katt Williams and his stand-up special It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin’
The Wile E. Coyote cartoon featured in this episode can be viewed here.
February 23rd, 2019
The final episode of our Berlinale trilogy is a continuation of Neil’s travels around the German capital watching films and talking to filmmakers and critics, and a culmination of Neil and Dario’s reflections on the festival and the films they both saw. The pair discuss Andre Hörmann’s Chicago boxing documentary Ringside and the episode also features some of Neil’s interview with the filmmaker as well as a section of his chat with Kim Longinotto, whose film Shooting The Mafia Neil and Dario discussed in the first Berlinale episode. Neil also shares his thoughts on the PJ Harvey documentary A Dog Called Money, the Colombian genre-bender Monos, the Kino Lorber revival of Bette Gordon’s Variety and the finally revealed to the world concert film masterpiece that is Amazing Grace.
Film critics sharing their time and reflections on this episode are Rhys Handley, Ian Mantgani and Kambole Campbell.
Thanks to everyone whose contributions have made these three episodes possible including, and maybe especially, Kingsley Marshall of Film at Falmouth.
February 20th, 2019
(Baracoa, 2019 Pablo Briones, Sean Clark)
Part 2 of the Berlinale trilogy sees Neil and Dario discuss film festival podcasting, the films Baracoa and BAIT to coincide with interviews conducted by Neil with the filmmakers behind those films, Pablo Briones and Jace Freeman, and Mark Jenkin respectively. The episode also features Neil’s chats with film critics Elle Haywood, Ella Kemp, Neil Young, Megan Christopher and Steph Watts. Finally, the episode also features Neil’s in the moment reflections on a number of films he saw.
The films discussed in this episode are:
Baracoa (Pablo Briones, The Moving Picture Boys)
BAIT (Mark Jenkin)
I Was At Home, But (Angela Schanelec)
The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg)
Varda by Agnès (Agnès Varda)
February 16th, 2019
We are really excited to put out the first of three special episodes cover the 2019 Berlin Film Festival which both Dario and Neil attended in a kind of tag team configuration. Having applied for a press pass for the Cinematologists, and was taking 40 his students to the festival, Neil had organised a whole raft of interviews with directors and critics which form parts 2&3 of our Berlinale coverage. Dario made a last minute decision to go for the opening weekend. So this first episode consists of 3 mini reports of each day's and then a rather bleary-eyed catch-up with Neil after he arrived after midnight on Sunday. The films discussed in this episode are:
Rebels of the Neon God (1992, Tsai Ming-Liang)
Shooting The Mafia (Kim Longionotto)
Serendipity (Prune Nourry)
Out Stealing Horses (Hans Petter Moland)
Light of My Life (Casey Affleck)
Systèm K (Renaud Barret)
Der Boden Unter den Füben [The Ground Beneath my Feet] (Marie Kreutzer)
February 2nd, 2019
The first episode of Season 9 sees Dario and Neil duke it out over the merits and problems of comedy, finding themselves on opposite sides for the first time in a while. They are put in this position by guest programmer Ryan Gilbey whose choice of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 comedy Clueless. New Statesman film critic Ryan joined Neil onstage at The Poly in Falmouth to introduce the film and discuss it with the audience. Prior to the event Ryan also wrote a blog over at the New Statesman about the film.
Around the live discussion Neil and Dario talk about the function and role of comedy, subjectivity and form and whether it’s a genre that is more prone to becoming dated than others. They also bond over Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace and Ozu’s love of fart jokes.
The episode is the second of three being produced in association with the BFI for their Comedy Genius season and the live event was also made possible thanks to Film at Falmouth, Falmouth University.
Let us know which side of the debate you come down on!
You can rent or buy Clueless globally from a number of different sites including Amazon, iTunes, Google, Rakuten. You can stream it in the UK on NowTV or SkyGO.
December 30th, 2018
In our final episode of 2018, we look back over the cinematic year and discuss the movies that have impressed, affected and stayed with us. We came up with the list independently but there are specific films and themes that emerge, particularly the fact that we both chose Lynne Ramsey's You Were Never Really Here as our film of the year. We hope you enjoy this look back and a big thank you to our audience for the continued support. We look forward to discussing more cinematic delights in 2019.
Dario's top 5
1. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsey)
2. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski)
3. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
4. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
5. Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh)
Neil's top 5
1. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsey)
2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
3. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
4. First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
5. The Dreamed Path (Angela Schanelec)
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
The Guardians (Xavier Beauvois)
Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery)
Lek and the Dogs (Andrew Kotting)
American Animals (Bart Layton)
Milford Graves Full Mantis (Jake Meginsky)
Outside In (Lynn Shelton)
The Image You Missed (Donal Foreman)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)