Wednesday Dec 21, 2022
Blood Simple (w/ Producer James Dean)
Wednesday Dec 21, 2022
Wednesday Dec 21, 2022
So this is the penultimate episode of 2022. We were at the Garden Cinema on Tuesday 20th to watch The Coen Brothers Blood Simple. My co-host for the evening was the Producer and now regular contributor to the James Dean. James was absolutely superb, both an astute appreciator of the Coen Brothers as artists, but fascinatingly relaying some nuggets of personal experience from having actually met and watched the Coen's at work. Listening to James and watching the film, which was an absolutely incredible DCP restoration by Criterion with 5.1 sound, I just was reminded about the pure joy of watching a film.
It’s almost heresy to say, but the film seems to offer itself up for the pure joy of watching, without and underlying sense of message. It’s cine-literate, but unpretentiously so, and it’s refreshingly Apolitical. Of course, the argument arises that there is no such thing a culture product that is Apolitical. Everything is defined by an underlying ideology. As a well-trained cultural studies scholar, the notion of being always already within ideology is something that has been drilled into me. Indeed, one could suggest that the Coens, whether they would explicitly acknowledge or speak to the wider allusions of their work, have been knowing chroniclers of the Absurdist contradictions at the heart of the American dream.
Yet, this is never imposed didactically. On the contrary there is arguably a respect for audiences literacy of, and practice in, to borrow from Stuart Hall, decoding and negotiating the signifiers of film. That might sound overwrought, in the way I’ve put it. What I mean is, they revel in the possibilities of cinema as form. Unlike many other filmmakers for who use references as pastiche or as an exercise in nerding out. The Coens invite you to the self-contained pleasure of the film they are presenting you with, without the necessity of connecting a reference external to the text. Even with the noir invocations, exploitation riffs, tours of pulp violence, one never feels excluding from enjoying the fundamental filmic pleasures.
Watching and listening, to this pristinely recreated digital artifact, in such a perfect auditorium, and with the knowledge of a shared audience intent, my will to analyse interpret gradually just succumbed to a purity of pleasure. Looking back, if there has been a theme to this season of the podcast, it has been a kind of tension. Between how we define and categorise films; the push to define the status of cinema in a fractured and uncertain media landscape. And the ephemeral, fleeting joy of those minute of empathy and immersion. Where the mechanistic shaping of light and sound creates a canvas of illusion which offers the chance to connect the external universe with your internal dreamscape.
With just the end of year review to come, I want to thank all the contributors to this season. Guest hosts James Dean, Caroline Catz, Mary Wild, Sarah Cleaver, David Lowbridge-Ellis, Catherine Wheatley, Savina Petcova, Chris Cassingham, Clarisse Lockree, the podcast really has functioned thanks to your generosity of time and insight. Also, thanks to all the other guests we have had on the show this season.
Thanks to George and all the staff at the Garden for Hosting the live episodes. You should all join their membership scheme immediately. It’s a magical and still largely undiscovered venue in the heart of London.
And thanks to Neil of course, who has been on a break apart from the Sight and Sound episode. His support and encouragement behind the scenes has been invaluable. It’s been a challenge to do this without him and I’m looking forward to getting back to the main purpose of the show, which is our movie conversation (DL).
You can listen to The Cinematologists for free, wherever you listen to podcasts: click here to follow.
We also produce an extensive monthly newsletter and bonus/extended content that is available on our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/cinematologists. You can become a member for only £2.
We really appreciate any reviews you might write (please send us what you have written and we'll mention it) and sharing on Social Media is the lifeblood of the podcast so please do that if you enjoy the show.
‘Theme from The Cinematologists’
Written and produced by Gwenno Saunders. Mixed by Rhys Edwards. Drums, bass & guitar by Rhys Edwards. All synths by Gwenno Saunders. Published by Downtown Music Publishing
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments,
please download free Podbean App.