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.

Ep98 - The Cinematic Voice

March 16th, 2020

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The voice in cinema is a phenomenon that is in many ways taken for granted. Since the advent of the talkies, the speaking voice synchronised to the human body on-screen is the ingrained process for narrative exposition and character development. However, this accepted synchronisation is one of sound cinema’s fundamental illusions.

This major production for The Cinematologists features the analysis from leading film scholars and critics, each focusing on uses and interpretations of cinematic voice, using a plethora of filmic examples. Many aspects of the cinematic voice are explored including star voices, script and performance, sonic aesthetics of the voice, voice-overs, the singing voice, voices in animation, the disembodied voice, and politics of who has a voice and who listens. We draw upon many of the key thinkers on film sound including the seminal work of Michel Chion. Chion developed concepts like Audio-Vision, to explore how sound shapes how the screened image can be understood, and acousmetré, meaning the cinema’s use of disembodied off-screen voice. Using these ideas he forwards the argument that sound is not a secondary addendum to image in the cinematic experience, but fundamentally structures how we see and understand film.

Unlike our usual conversational format, this episode is an audio-essay; recorded interviews cut together with indicative clips in a sonic collage which is hopefully an immersive experience transversing the boundaries between creativity and criticism. We recommend that you listen to this episode on headphones to get the full effect. As always Dario and Neil discuss the themes of the podcast but also engage with the production and formal approach in the context of film podcasts more broadly.

Contributors to this episode are (in order of appearance are):

Dario Llinares - Website - Twitter

Clive Frayne (11:03-19:18)  - Website - Twitter

Neil Fox - (19:56-29:30) Website - Twitter

Laura Tunbridge - (32:08-37:08) Website - Twitter

Catherine Wheatley - (41:46-47:33) Website - Twitter

Ian Garwood  (48:56-55:00) - Website - Twitter

Farshid Kazemi (55:51-1:01:50) - Website

Jennifer O’Meara - (1:06:14-1:14:24) Website - Twitter

Mark Kermode (1:15:40-1:23:22) - Website - Twitter

William Brown (1:23:56-1:36:14) - Website - Twitter

My profound thanks for their time, labour and critical insight which has made this episode possible.

A full transcript of this episode is available at www.cinematologists.com

Film clips (in broadcast order)

The Jazz Singer (1927, Alan Crosland)

Blackmail (1929, Alfred Hitchcock)

Dead of Night [The Ventriloquist’s Dummy (1945, Alberto Cavalcanti)

To Have and Have Not (1944, Howard Hawks)

The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

Dirty Harry (1972 Don Siegel)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

In the Heat of the Night (1967, Norman Jewison)

Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson)

Dick Tracy (1990, Warren Beatty)

The Shawshank Redemption (1995, Frank Darabont)

Only Lovers Left Alive (2014, Jim Jarmusch)

White Men Can’t Jump (1992, Ron Shelton)

Daughters of the Dust (1991, Julie Dash)

Félicité (2017, Alain Gomis)

Mary Poppins (1964, Robert Stevenson)

Magnolia (1999) Paul Thomas Anderson

The Wind Will Carry Us (1999, Abbas Kiarostami)

All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula)

Her (2014, Spike Jonze)

Toy Story (1995, John Lassiter)

Puss in Boots [Antonio Banderas Voice Session]

Frozen (2013, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck)

Anomalisa (2016, Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson)

Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)

The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin)

The Exorcist Original Voice Recordings

The Exorcist documentary

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979, Terry Jones)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012, Christopher Nolan)

The Great Dictator (1940, Charlie Chaplin)

Valkyrie (2008, Bryan Singer)

The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Flemming)

Some Like it Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)

References (in order of mention):

Altman, Rick. 1980. Moving Lips: Cinema as Ventriloquism. Yale French Studies, 60 Cinema/Sound: pp. 67-79 - https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2930005.pdf?seq=1

Chion, Michel. 1999. The Voice in Cinema. Columbia University Press.

 Barthes, Roland. 1978. The Grain of the Voice. In Image, Music, Text. New York: Wang and Hill. pp.179-189.

Whittaker, Tom and Wright, Sarah. 2017. Locating the Voice in Film: Critical Approaches and Global Perspectives. Oxford University Press.

Kozlov, Sarah. 1992. Invisible Storytellers: Voice-Over Narration in American Fiction Film. University of California Press.

Cavell, Stanley. 1994. A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises. Harvard University Press.

Clements, Catherine. 1989. Opera, Or The Undoing Of Women. Virago.

Cavarero, Adrianna. 2005. For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression. Stanford University Press.

Kiarostami, Abbas. 2015. Lessons with Kiarostami. Sticking Place Books.

Dolar, Mladen. 2006. A Voice and Nothing More. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Sobchak, Vivien. 2005. When the Ear Dreams: Dolby Digital and the Imagination of Sound. Film Quarterly, 58(4), pp. 2-15.

Adorno, Theodor., & Horkheimer, Max. 1944. The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.

Chow, Rey. 2017 ‘The Writing Voice in Cinema’. In Whittaker, Tom and Wright, Sarah. Eds. Locating the Voice in Film: Critical Approaches and Global Perspectives. Oxford University Press.

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Ep97b Berlinale 2020 Part 2

March 2nd, 2020

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Part Two of our Berlinale 2020 special is here. You’d think that after 5 years doing this podcast I’d get a little thing like the audio right, but alas, a couple of my solo recordings here are of a very poor quality - lots of peaking and distortion, which I have tried hard to reduce. Apologies.

The content is still pretty good though methinks. Lots of chat with Dario about films including the award-winning The Woman Who Ran [Hong Sangsoo] and Never Rarely Sometimes Always [Eliza Hittman], Siberia [Abel Ferrara], Entre Perro Y Lobo - plus an interview with that film’s director Irene Gutierrez - Rizi (Days) [Tsai Ming-Liang], Nightshift (Police) [Anne Fontaine], Maggie’s Farm [James Benning], White Riot [Rubika Shah] and from the retrospective, King Vidor’s The Sky Pilot. Plus nestled in amongst my ruminations is a chat with friend of the podcast Neil Young and a few choice clips from some of the films mentioned. In the spirit of the master Tsai Ming-Liang they are intentionally un-subtitled. Enjoy. NF.

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Ep97a Berlinale 2020 Part 1

March 1st, 2020

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It's Berlinale time. Our annual sojourn to our favorite European Film Festival is one of the highlights of the year and the programme looks intriguing with a host of big names in art-house cinema showing their latest work. This is the first of a two-part episode in which we bring our thoughts to bear on the big competition entries and fiction and documentary films from other sections of Berlin's extensive programme. We also interview various critics also in the city no only on their festival picks but on any emergent themes of this year's event. Wild mushroom picking, toxic masculinity and signature central sequences were just some of the obvious motifs. 

Dario and Neil see a film together (Hang Songsoo's wonderful The Woman Who Ran) at the festival for the first time and they ruminate, as usual, on all aspects of the experience. Please enjoy.

Thanks so much to the following critics for giving up their time. Please check out their writing and share/support it on your networks:

Joseph Owen - https://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2020/02/24/berlin-film-festival-2020-first-cow-review/

Savina Petkova - https://savinapetkova.contently.com/

Alex Billington https://www.firstshowing.net/

Serena Scatenihttps://vaguevisages.com/2020/02/25/berlinale-2020-review-hong-sang-soos-the-woman-who-ran/

The films discussed in this episode are:

First Cow - Kelly Reichardt

The Salt of Tears - Philippe Garrel

Undine Christian - Petzold

Never Really Sometimes Always - Eliza Hittman

Pinocchio - Matteo Garrone

Little Girl - Sébastien Lifshitz

Malkkrog - Cristi Puiu

Shirley - Josephine Decker

The Assistant - Kitty Green

Mogul Mowgli - Bassam Tariq

The Woman Who Ran - Hong SangSoo

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Ep96 Adam Mars-Jones

February 21st, 2020

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Adam Mars-Jones is an award-winning novelist and critic. His most recent novel, Box Hill, won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo novel prize. An apt award for someone who is also one of Britain’s most erudite and singular voices in film criticism. In late 2019 a collection of his film criticism, Second Sight, was published. It collects a significant portion of his reviews from his days as The Independent’s film critic (the paper’s first) as well as work for outlets including the Spectator.

In this, the first episode of season 11 proper, Neil sits down in Adam’s kitchen for a chat that takes in art, reappraisal, Kubrick, Altman, music, Galaxy Quest, masterpieces and Don Siegel.

Thanks to Adam for his time and to Reaktion Books for sending out a copy to us and facilitating this conversation.

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Filmstock Extra - Kieran Evans

February 7th, 2020

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Recorded at Luton’s Filmstock Film Festival (co-directed by Neil) in November 2019, this series features long-form conversations with filmmakers recorded specially for the podcast.

Thanks to The School of Film & Television at Falmouth University for sponsoring this strand of Filmstock to enable these conversations to take place.

The series features conversations with directors Jeanie Finlay and Kieran Evans and screenwriter M.R. Carey.

Finally, it’s Neil’s conversation with director Kieran Evans. Clips screened at the talk came from Kieran’s works Be Pure. Be Vigilant. Behave., The Outer Edges, Kelly + Victor and his music video for Edwyn Collins’ I Guess We Were Young.

Filmstock screened Kieran’s film Truth & Memory, prior to the recording of this conversation.

Follow him on Twitter here.

Thanks to Mark Wooldridge for event photos.

You can also listen to The Cinematologists here:

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Filmstock Extra - M.R. Carey

January 30th, 2020

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Recorded at Luton’s Filmstock Film Festival (co-directed by Neil) in November 2019, this series features long-form conversations with filmmakers recorded specially for the podcast.

Thanks to The School of Film & Television at Falmouth University for sponsoring this strand of Filmstock to enable these conversations to take place.

The series features conversations with directors Jeanie Finlay and Kieran Evans and screenwriter M.R. Carey.

Next up, it’s Neil’s conversation with comics, novel and screenwriter M.R. Carey. The conversation covers his work in on legendary comics such as Lucifer, his YA novel and subsequent screenplay adaptation of The Girl With All The Gifts (screened at the festival) and his writing process in depth.

For more on Mike (M.R.) go here, or follow him on Twitter here.

Thanks to Mark Wooldridge for event photos.

You can also listen to The Cinematologists here:

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Filmstock Extra - Jeanie Finlay

January 22nd, 2020

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Recorded at Luton’s Filmstock Film Festival (co-directed by Neil) in November 2019, this series features long-form conversations with filmmakers recorded specially for the podcast.

Thanks to The School of Film & Television at Falmouth University for sponsoring this strand of Filmstock to enable these conversations to take place.

The series features conversations with directors Jeanie Finlay and Kieran Evans and screenwriter M.R. Carey.

First up, it’s Neil’s career-spanning conversation with documentary filmmaker Jeanie Finlay. Clips screened at the talk came from Jeanie’s films Goth Cruise, Orion: The Man Who Would Be King, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch and Seahorse.

Filmstock screened Jeanie’s film Sound It Out, prior to the recording of this conversation.

For more on Jeanie, go here, or follow her on Twitter here.

Thanks to Mark Wooldridge for event photos.

You can also listen to The Cinematologists here:

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Ep95 2019 review

January 1st, 2020

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In the final episode of season 10, we look back over 2019 with film highlights we wanted to discuss again. This is not a ranking or a best of, merely a celebration of the year in film and our personal choices of the work we think should be seen and discussed. Here's a list of all the films on our agenda:

Ad Astra; Amazing Grace; Apollo 13; Atlantics; Bait; Burning; Capernaum; Dolemite is My Name; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Happy as Lazzaro; Her Smell; High Flying Bird; High Life; If Beale Street Could Talk; The Irishman; Knife and Heart; Madeline's Madeline; Rolling Thunder Review; Three Faces; Transit.

We very much appreciate the loyalty of our audience throughout the year. It is one of the key motivators for doing on the show the way we do as we continue to grow. As you probably know, one of the issues for independent podcasts, which don't have 'stars' and the automatic audience that brings, is visibility and discoverability. We hope you continue to find value in the show and we really appreciate it when you share and recommend our episodes on social media:

Twitter: @Cinematologists;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinematologists/?ref=bookmarks;

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecinematologists/

If you ever have time to review the podcast on your podcast player of choice, this also helps with expanding the audience. For those who want to go a stage further please consider signing up for our Patreon membership: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists. It is only $2.50 per month and you get our monthly newsletter along with bonus content and extended interviews with our guests. We are committed to keeping the show ad-free and this small support really helps with running costs and production improvements that we are always looking to make.

All the best for 2020 and thank you for your continued support. Lots of love, Dario and Neil.

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Ep94b BFI Musicals Pt. 2 / Funny Girl

December 27th, 2019

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The second of instalment of our BFI Musicals two-parter sees Neil and Dario take a deep dive into the glorious world of Barbra Streisand. Neil was invited to Plymouth Arts Centre to take part in the Reclaim The Frame screening of Funny Girl (a film neither Neil nor Dario had seen), hosted by Mia Bays and the brilliant Birds Eye View organisation.

This episode sees Neil and Dario discuss the stardom and career of Streisand, alongside an interview between Neil and Mia, Mia’s introduction to the screening and the post-screening panel featuring Neil, director and music video legend Andrew ‘Wiz’ Whiston and Professor of Performance Studies at the University of Plymouth, Prof. Roberta Mock.

Thanks to Annabel Grundy and the team at BFI National Seasons for the opportunity and support.

You can also listen to The Cinematologists here:

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Ep94a BFI Musicals

December 23rd, 2019

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The first of our episodes in partnership with the BFI’s Blockbuster season on Musicals finds us discussing our relationship to the genre and its descendants as well as responding to a series of interviews conducted by Neil over the last couple of months. Guests on this special episode are the critic/historian Pamela Hutchinson who gives a brilliant overview of the musical form and suggests some gems to look out for, writer Tom MacRae who talks about the process of adapting his own West End smash Everybody’s Talking About Jamie for the screen, and Justine Waddell from Kino Klassika, an amazing organisation bringing Russian and Soviet Cinema to the screen, talks about their stunning programme of Soviet Musicals touring cinemas from January 2020.

To really celebrate the Movie Musical, this episode features a plethora of musical delights. You will be hearing (in order) – Leonard Bernstein’s overture from West Side Story, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland, from Meet Me In St. Louis, Elvis Presley singing Trouble, from King Creole, the official trailer for the West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the title song from Leto (Summer), Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga singing Shallow, from A Star Is Born, and Science Fiction Double Feature from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, sung by Richard O’Brien. 

Thanks to Annabel Grundy and the team at BFI National Seasons for the opportunity and support.

You can also listen to The Cinematologists here:

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