The Cinematologists Podcast

Film academics Dr Dario Llinares and Dr Neil Fox introduce a live screening followed by an audience Q&A. The podcast also features interviews with filmmakers, scholars, writers and actors who debate all aspects of cinema and film culture.

Ep87 Film-Philosophy Conference 2019 (part 1)

September 19th, 2019

Season 10 of the Cinematologists podcast kicks off with a double bill of episodes from the Film-Philosophy Conference held at the University of Brighton in July. Hosted by our very own Dario Llinares the event which boasted an internationally renowned line-up of keynotes and delegates. 

Both episodes are made up of interviews we managed to grab as the conference progressed and, we hope gives you a sense of the eclectic mix of themes, methodologies and films that were discussed. Neil and Dario are joined on interviewing duties by Kat Zabecka, who studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Shownotes

0.0 Introduction - Dario and Neil Discuss the build-up to the conference.

8:45 Janet Harbord (with Dario) Janet's keynote speech entitled Film as a Training for Neurotypical life explores gesture in medical film, focusing on the autistic gesture as a practice that resists interpretation through conventional means, troubling the terms of intention and agency.

26:40 Matt Holtmeier (with Neil) Matt discusses the video essay he screened at the conference - Vital Coasts, Mortal Oceans: The Pearl Button as Media Environmental Philosophy - interweaving Chilean philosophers Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, and Ricardo Rozzi, with Patricio Guzman’s cosomovisions in order to highlight the complex ecological insights at the intersection of indigenous thought and film form.

37:00 Savina Petkova (with Kat) Savina talks about her paper Real Metaphors. Animals in the Films of Yorgos Lanthimos and the role of animetaphors, Akira Lippit’s eloquent way of describing a non-anthropocentric way to look at animals and animal transformations.

50:42 Murray Pomerance (with Dario) Returning to The Cinematologists Murray outlines The Sound of Silence and his formulation of the "screaming silence" created by the sound design in the famous shower scene in Hitchcock's psycho.

01:10:57 Mila Zuo (with Kat). Mila's paper, entitled The Girlfriend Experience: Virtual Beauty and Love in Post-Cinematic Times, explores the ways new media technologies (and their representations) enable a fetishistic disavowal in virtual displays of feminine beauty and unfaithful love.

01:31:00 Colin Heber-Percy (with Dario) Under the Skin offers fruitful material for philosophical analysis and Colin's analysis - "The Flesh is Weak." Empathy and becoming human in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin - analyses the film's “mechanics” of illusion, its deconstruction of cinema itself, reversing the gaze of the viewer: this is a film that observes us.

01:44:20 Lina Jurdeczka (with Neil). Lina's work - Untimely Cinephilia and Spectral Images in Phoenix and Ida - examines films that are set in cultural climates that seek to move on from the trauma of the Holocaust: Germany in 1945 and Poland in 1961. Yet formally their film-historical imaginaries emphasise the co-existence of past and present, dismantling the possibility of closure.

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(Repost) Bronco’s House w/ director Mark Jenkin

September 3rd, 2019

This repost features director Mark Jenkin whose new release Bait opened last Friday (29th August 2019) to almost universal praise. Back in February 2016 Mark joined Dario at the Electric Palace in Hastings to screen and discuss the film. The story of a young man striving to provide a home for himself, his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child, Bronco's House is an aesthetic meditation on property, power and the future. Like Bait the film is shot on a clockwork camera, using 16mm black and white negative stock, and processed by hand through an instant coffee based developer. Mark will be coming on the podcast again very soon, but until then we hope you enjoy this discussion wone of his seminal earlier works.

Bronco's House is available to download and stream. CLICK HERE.

Ep86 Sweet Country

June 28th, 2019

It's our final episode of the season and in response to a request from one of our listeners Andrew Peirce (www.thecurb.com), we discuss the powerful outback western Sweet Country. Directed by Warwick Thornton and inspired by the true events, the film is a brutal indictment of the colonial terrorism that forged modern Australia and the specific impact on Aboriginal existence, identity and culture. The film invokes the mythos of the Western in aesthetic terms yet it is also a revisionist project that doesn't shy away from a pointed critique of European expansion and its corollary: uncompromisingly violent, white masculinity. Beautiful and terrifying we would definitely recommend watching the film before coming to our discussion.

We also reflect on our highlights of the season and Neil discuss new BFI releases of classic features and shorts by female filmmakers including Margaret Tait, Germain Dulac, Lois Weber, Dorothy Arzner and Alice Guy Blaché. Thanks for your continued support, and well be back in the autumn. 

Listen on:

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Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0RjNz8XDkLdbKZuj9Pktyh

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists

Ep85 Canons & Cinephilia (w/ So Mayer & Girish Shambu)

May 30th, 2019

The latest episode sees The Cinematologists going deep on some of the central conversations in contemporary film culture, joined by the peerless So Mayer & Girish Shambu. 

Coinciding with So's 'A Queer Toolkit for Blowing Up The Canon' talk at HOME in Manchester, and Girish visiting the UK for the Queer & Feminist Cinephilia Workshop at the University of Birmingham, Neil talked to them both about canons, cinephilia and the responsibility of cinephiles in the current moment.

Following that conversation, Neil and Dario share their thoughts on the state of current online discourse and share their vulnerabilities about their place in it, coming back to the sanctuary of the podcast as a space that feels positive and discursive and does good work in promoting positive cinephilia and opening up the conversation to and about different voices.

Many thanks to So and Girish for their time and incredible wisdom and thoughtfulness. It's an honour to feature such important and inspiring film thinkers on The Cinematologists.

Girish Shambu - Time's Up For The Male Canon

Girish Shambu - For A New Cinephilia (A Manifesto)

So Mayer on Twitter

Girish Shambu on Twitter

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On the episode So and Girish shout out some colleagues and people doing great writing and publishing that captures the essence and spirit and tone of the work of New Cinephilia and challenging the canon. Here's where listeners can find them:

Another Gaze, Cleo Journal, MAI, Maggie Hennefeld, Devika Girish, Veronica Fitzpatrick, Kelley Dong, Miriam Bale, Alissa Wilkinson, Monica Castillo, Pamela Hutchinson, Erika Balsom, Elena Gorfinkel

Also listen on:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-cinematologists-podcast/id981479854?mt=2

Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0RjNz8XDkLdbKZuj9Pktyh

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists

Ep84 Sleep Has Her House (w/ Scott Barley)

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. 

Also listen on:

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Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists

Ep83 California Typewriter (w/ dir. Doug Nichol)

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.

Also listen on:

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Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0RjNz8XDkLdbKZuj9Pktyh

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists

Ep82 Children of Men

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.

Show notes

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

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Ep81 Dr Racquel Gates

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.

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Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Ep80 BFI Comedy Genius Finale

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.

Our line-up:

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.

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Website: www.cinematologists.com

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists

 

Ep79 Berlinale 2019 Part 3

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.

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