Month: February 2016

The Magic Lantern: Episode 016 – Wings of Desire

And we, spectators always, everywhere,
looking at, never out of, everything!
—Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Eighth Elegy”

Dear Compañeros, I invite you to fall under the spell of Wings of Desire (1987), Wim Wenders’ visual poem of a scarred, haunted Berlin, of the mortals who inhabit it and the immortal angels who observe and comfort. We follow one observer, Damiel (played by Bruno Ganz) who accepts the ultimate of free will choices, to renounce his immortality and embrace the secular pleasures of the human participant, of the man and lover.

Garbo once famously said, “Give me back my beast,” after a clean-shaven, semi-ordinary Jean Marais emerged from his magical prison in La Belle et La Bête (1946). Once Damiel falls to earth, some may have felt the same. After all, what is a man compared to an angel in armor? But I’m not having it. Give me Bruno Ganz’ deep, ancient smile any day. Give me the messiness and the reality of the human animal over the distant spectator. (Peter Falk knows what’s up!)

2017 will mark the 30th anniversary of this film, and I think it has lost none of its potency, its power to bewitch and enthrall. Is it the melodic beauty of Peter Handke’s poetry and dialogue, Wenders’ virtuosity filming a city, the eternal power of a love story, or the meditation on spirituality that isn’t about religion? Or simply that it’s beautifully shot and wonderfully acted? To paraphrase Peter Falk, you have to figure it out for yourself…that’s the best part!

What you’ll find in this episode: how Wenders managed to create a film about angels that isn’t about god, what Ericca imagines Bruno Ganz’ jaw and Ethan Hawke’s goatee smell like, and why we believe Peter Falk really was an angel.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Wings of Desire on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Before Sunrise.
Cole’s further viewing pick of People on Sunday.
Wim Wenders’ early treatment of Wings of Desire called “An Attempted Description of an Indescribable Film.”
An overview of 5 fascinating films on the world’s urban metropolises and 11 documentaries on cities (which may or may not still be streaming).
RIP Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk, Otto Sander, and Curt Bois.

GTGM Episode 21: Purple Rain (1984)

First on the scene, Detectives McCambringe and Lorello of the Minneapolis PD take action! While McCambridge calls in the incident, Lorello uses the time to practice her ‘chalk outline’ skills, ignoring the fact that the victim she’s tracing is still breathing.

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Criterion Close-Up 29 – Fat Girl (2001)

Mark, Aaron and Kristen Sales give Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl a look. We look at Breillat’s methods, and the points about women in society she is trying to make. We delve into feminism, fat shaming, and the dichotomy between the lives of men and and women. We also take a close look at the shocking ending, and try to reconcile what she is trying to say about the world.

Special Guest: Kristen Sales from Sales on Film. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr.

Show notes:

Outline:

0:00 – Intro & Welcome Kristen 6:10 – Kristen’s Criterion Connection. 17:50 – Busy Podcasting 22:00 – Short Takes (Chimes at Midnight, Sada, The Karate Kid) 34:00 – Fat Girl

Where to Find Us: Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

The Magic Lantern: Episode 015 – Suspiria

Suspiria (1977) is Dario Argento’s lurid, unreal masterpiece. Its garish palette (it was one of the last films made in Technicolor), baleful sound design and stylized brutality force us through the looking glass in more ways than one. Little did I know when I discovered this that it would be my initiation into the world of giallo and, by extension, the glorious universe of all things Eurosleaze. I chose it for the podcast not only because it is a bona fide international horror classic and a cacophonous symphony of mood and atmosphere, but because it set me on a most satisfying path and helped me to understand a little better that low, and even vulgar, art can be as legitimate and powerful as those things with loftier aspirations that are endorsed in more genteel circles. So get off your high horse and check out Suspiria with us!

What you’ll find in this episode: stained glass and razor wire, Ericca’s fear of sloths, witches and Goblins, and the pleasure of low art.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Suspiria on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of A Quiet Place in the Country.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears.
A nice breakdown of the giallo genre.
Put on your black leather gloves and kill a few minutes with this giallo title generator.
Goblin performing the theme from Suspiria on Italian television in 1977.

Criterion Close-Up 28: Slacker (1991)

Mark and Aaron are joined by Cole & Ericca from the Magic Lantern Podcast. They are Austin, TX residents and shed a lot of insight into this landmark independent film, Richard Linklater and his involvement in the Austin Film Society. They also talk about how the film reflects the city of Austin, and how much the place has changed in the years since.

Special Guest: Cole and Ericca from Magic Lantern Podcast. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Show notes:

Outline:

0:00 – Intro & Welcome Cole & Ericca. 2:55 – Cole & Ericca’s Criterion Connections. 6:10 – Fat Girl delay 8:00 – Schedule Update 10:55 – Short Takes (Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Wim Wenders Retrospective, Me and Orson Welles, Anomalisa) 24:25 – Slacker

Where to Find Us:

Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd | Tumblr Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

GTGM Episode 20: Scanners (1981) with David Blakeslee

ConSec custodians, Jamie and Doug receive a routine call to clean up a mess in the lecture hall. When they begin scraping brain and skull fragments off the wall and ceiling, they consider handing in their resignation.

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Criterion Close-Up 27: Canadian Close-Up

Mark and Aaron take a trip north to the wonderful world of Canada. This is a special, unscheduled episode to celebrate the O’ Canada Blogathon. We talk about all things Canadian, including our Canadian Connections, film and media culture from Canada, and two particular films from The Criterion Collection — Videodrome and My Winnipeg.

Show notes:

Outline:

0:00 – Introduction to Canadian Close-Up 2:10 – Canadian Connections 9:30 – O’ Canada Blogathon 15:30 – Celebrating Canadian Culture 29:20 – Videodrome 50:10 – My Winnipeg

O’ Canada HQ

Where to Find Us:

Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Criterion Close-Up 26 – Jellyfish Eyes (2013)

Mark and Aaron are joined by Matt Sheardown of … Criterion Close-Up. You heard right. Long story. Matt is also a video games expert, so we borrowed his expertise as we broke down and evaluated the controversial Criterion release of Takashi Murakami’s Jellyfish Eyes. We discuss the visuals, the influences, the intended audience, and how to classify it as a genre. We also ask the big question, which many have asked since the announcement — is it worthy of Criterion?

Special Guest: Matt Sheardown from his YouTube channel. You can find him on Twitter. He is on Twitch as well.

Show notes:

Outline:

0:00 – Intro & Welcome Matt 7:20 – Matt’s Criterion Connection 11:55 – Schedule Update 14:40 – Short Takes (Odd Man Out, Mustang, Room, The Revenant, The Room, Head) 38:15 – Jellyfish Eyes

Where to Find Us: Mark Hurne: Twitter | Letterboxd Aaron West: Twitter | Blog | Letterboxd Criterion Close-Up: Facebook | Twitter | Email

The Magic Lantern: Episode 014 – Let There Be Light

John Huston’s Let There Be Light (1946) was the final installment in a trilogy of wartime documentaries produced for the U.S. Army. He set about following a group of soldiers who had experienced severe battle fatigue and were undergoing treatment in a military psychiatric facility for a wide array of symptoms. Huston’s intent for the film was to show that these “returning psychoneurotics” could be helped by psychiatric treatment; and he intended for the film to be shown to prospective employers in order to educate and reassure that these men were employable and sane. Unfortunately, the film was never seen by contemporary audiences, as it was banned by the same Army who had commissioned it. We have watched these soldiers enter as “human salvage” and struggle to recover and become whole again, and I hope these men ultimately received the fair shake in civilian life they desired.

I invite you to explore the film John Huston considered “the most hopeful and optimistic and even joyous thing I ever had a hand in.”

What you’ll find in this episode: a brief exploration of psychiatry and war, staging the truth versus intellectual dishonesty, and how Pelé got me excited about documentaries.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Let There Be Light on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Primary.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
Let There Be Light: John Huston’s Wartime Documentaries from Olive Films.
Soldier’s Heart: an examination of war veterans in film.