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Valeska Grisebach's Western (2017) transposes many of the iconographies and thematics of the western genre to the setting of a contemporary border town between Bulgaria and Greece, where a group of German construction workers build a hydro-electric plant. Their presence stirs up contemporary and historically layered tensions which are exacerbated by the communication barriers between the groups. This leads to a familiar, male driven tribalism, which one of the Germans, the stoic Meinhard (played by first time actor Meinhard Neumann), looks to navigate.

In this episode, we are joined by Dr Hannah Paveck whose article in Film-Philosophy Journal - Taciturn Masculinities: Radical Quiet and Sounding Linguistic Difference in Valeska Grisebach's Western considers the relationship between film sound, gender and settler colonialism. We talk about her use of Jean-Luc Nancy and Eugenie Brinkema to explore how the film undermines the codings of silence associated with the heroic male hero. Furthermore, she discusses the film in the context of geopolitics and the aesthetics of art-cinema particularly the Berlin School, to which Grisebach is associated along with filmmakers such as Angela Schanelec and Christian Petzold.

Neil and Dario also talk about the writing processes they are currently involved in, their processes of work, how they approach different styles and the difficulties of moving between academic writing, journalism and blogging, particularly when the expectations from publishers and reviewers for each, can be very different.

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Music Credits:

‘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.

 

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