The real-time, film commentary podcast about films (or film aspects) that may have been overlooked. This podcast is intended to be played alongside the film in question, as you watch.
Babette's Feast (1987)
Jules: Do we deceive ourselves when we attempt to distinguish the sacred from the carnal? A small film made in a small village in a small (for Scandinavia) country seeks answers, as do we.
David: When a fortress of encrusted ascetic piety and propriety suffers an unexpected incursion of fabulous french cuisine, something more than its inhabitants' impoverished taste buds cracks open. Rather than the conflict against which the god-fearing community steels itself, Babette's state-of-the-art feast triggers a cathartic synthesis of sensory and spiritual joy, to the great elevation of all concerned.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
David: The perenniality of the vampire genre derives from its capacity for reinvention. Its form mimics its content in similar fashion to the zombie genre, transcending death. Here, the immortality of Jarmusch’s vampire couple is a perfect foil for retrophile hipsterism. They are aficionados of a lapsed cutting edge – analog technologies, first edition guitars, a dash of Tesla tech for colour and in the garage is a perfectly-poised-between-eras XJS Jaguar. They disdain contemporary ephemera and are content to await its fall. Only Lovers Left Alive takes its time. It may irritate some but bewitch others, who will return to bask in its sunless, bohemian langour.
Jules: Are vampire tropes a means or an end? Is the grand tradition of vampire fiction standing for nothing other than itself? Is it a debasement of said grand tradition to use vampirism as a metaphor, for themes like drug addiction, sexual obsession, metal illness, or mere aristocratic fecklessness? Or can a vampire picture possibly be nothing more than a cosy suburban story of rekindled love between senior citizens? The beautifully titled Only Lovers Left Alive ponders and enacts these and other questions to a delightful and confounding conclusion.
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Film commentary track for Last Year at Marienbad (1961).
The Hill (1965)
David: When a military prison devoted to regimentation, correction and the rebuilding of wayward units fails to manage its own, the hierarchy of power turns upon itself. As those who covet power scramble to avoid responsibility, repercussions twist and twist again into a Rubic’s cube of blame and counter blame. We salute the departing Sean Connery with this not-quite-obscure-but-lesser-known anti-Bond vehicle directed by Sydney Lumet.
Jules: A rare pleasure for those interested in well-constructed plots and characters who are just complex enough to support the dramatic conceit. Adroit and affecting work from all, especially Connery.
Jules: Is it possible to make a film about vampires that is not a vampire film? The genre is perennial, with familiar tropes that filmmakers endlessly adjust to achieve varied ends. Power, class struggle, sex, death, eternal life and eternal damnation; each theme intersects vividly across the genre. Neil Jordan seeks transcendence for his antiheronies, from their plight, and their genre within film, with some success.
David: At the heart of many a vampire story sits the dramatic tension between desire or love and the hunger to devour, and next to that the ultimate existential question - would immortality be a prize or a curse? Neil Jordan’s third foray into romantic horror and his second vampire-duo story (after Interview With The Vampire - 1994) this time with a gender flip, wanders among some interesting themes, though perhaps with more convolution and less art than it could have done.
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)
David: A black satire perhaps running overlong with other ideas. It presages a spate of dark, disillusioned and memorably bleak films from the following year 1969. What does this say about the realities of 1968? The swinging 60s was as dead as the Summer of Love and the young boomers came out of it a cynical lot. This telling of the famous doomed British cavalry charge overviews the production of cannon fodder, from street urchins to gold-buttoned mounties of imperial glory and, with one blunder from overconfident under-experienced aristocrats of bought rank, into the valley of death. A reminder that war is most famous for its disasters. A stellar 60s British cast is present, featuring what must be Trevor Howard’s greatest role.
Jules: Is warfare a matter of duty, ambition, or efficient management? Tonal confusion meets tragicomedy in this anti-war epic.
Listening to the demonlover episode. Love the relaxed tone of this podcast, the commentary is insightful but not pretentious or overly academic. Same way I would discuss a film with my friends, so cozy. Also the bizarre chronology of the episodes is borderline experimental, a chunk in 2014, a long hiatus with an odd ep here and there, then a continuation in 2020. Very interesting! Looking forward to listening more