• Stereoactive Movie Club Trailer

    The Stereoactive Movie Club is discussing some of the greatest movies ever made. Who says? Sight and Sound magazine says. Every ten years, since 1952, Sight and Sound has surveyed critics and directors to determine which films, according to those surveyed, might be considered the best. The five film-loving friends take turns picking movies that have appeared on the list and then dig into them with an eye on their cultural impact, how they stand up today, and just whether they’re actually as good as all those critics and directors say they are.

    Listen at stereoactivemovieclub.com or anywhere you get your podcasts.

    And follow/subscribe to Stereoactive Media.

    0m - Mar 7, 2024
  • Ep 37 // Beau Travail

    It’s Jeremiah’s Round 6 Pick: Beau Travail, the 1999 film directed by Clair Denis.

    Beau Travail, which is something of a loose adaptation of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, was commissioned by a European culture channel Arte as a film about foreignness. It updates the classic novella to feature French Legionnaires stationed in the East African nation of Djibouti, which at the time of the film’s production had only recently, relatively speaking, ceased to be ruled by France after nearly a century of occupation. The film received good reviews when it was released in the United States, even topping the Village Voice’s critics poll in 2000. It was also recognized at several film festivals and by critics associations.

    As for our purposes, Beau Travail made its first appearance in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s “greatest films” polling in 2022 when it was ranked #7 by critics; it was also tied at #14 on the directors poll. Among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists that year were Steve McQueen, Kirsten Johnson, Atom Egoyan, and Barry Jenkins.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E37 - 1h 3m - Jan 31, 2024
  • Ep 36 // Wild Strawberries

    It’s Alicia’s Round 6 Pick: Wild Strawberries, the 1957 film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman.

    Wild Strawberries was Ingmar Bergman’s 18th feature film in eleven years. It was written while he was in a hospital for stress and gastric issues, then quickly produced as his personal life was in disarray.

    Critics in Sweden pretty much loved the film, while its reception in the United States was more mixed. But its influence has been strong over the years and directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky have listed it among their favorite films. 

    The film was honored at various international film festivals and awards ceremonies, including the Oscars, where, after opening in the US in 1959, it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay… though Bergman refused the nomination in a letter where he called the Oscars a “humiliating institution” for the art of motion pictures. The Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedy Pillow Talk is what eventually won Best Original Screenplay that year, while the big overall winner of the year was Ben-Hur. But to give a sense of what was popular in the United States when Wild Strawberries was released in Sweden a couple of years earlier… The Bridge on the River Kwai was the big Oscar winner for films released in 1957 – and it was also the top-grossing film of the year in North America.

    As for our purposes, Wild Strawberries appeared in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s “greatest films” polling once – when it was ranked #10 in 1972. In the 2022 polling, it was ties at #108 by critics and tied at #72 by directors – and among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists that year was Michael Moore.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E36 - 1h 21m - Sep 12, 2023
  • Ep 35 // Modern Times

    It’s Stephen’s Round 6 Pick: Modern Times, the 1936 film starring, written, and directed by Charlie Chaplin.

    Modern Times marked at least the 60th appearance of Charlie Chaplin in a film as the Little Tramp – and depending on whether you think the barber character in The Great Dictator is also the Tramp, Modern Times may be the last time Chaplin played the character. And while his previous film, 1931’s City Lights, featured synchronized music and sound effects, Modern Times was the first time Chaplin employed synchronized dialogue, though obviously minimal. At first, Modern Times was conceived of as a potentially full-on talkie, but eventually Chaplin decided that his famous character worked better in the silent format, so the film mainly adheres to that style, other than the final moments of the film, with the previously mentioned sung gibberish

    Reviews at the time were positive and the film was a financial success despite its anomalous nature 9 years after the debut of The Jazz Singer – which is a testament to the long popularity of Chaplin and his character up to that point. In 1998 it was ranked #81 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list – and it rose a few spots to #78 when they redid the list in 2007. It also ranked #33 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Laughs list in 2000.

    As for our purposes, Modern Times has never been in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s polling of critics, but it was ranked #6 in the very first polling of directors in 1992. In the 2022 polling, it was tied at #78 in the critics polling and tied at #72 by directors – and among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists in 2022 was documentarian Frederick Wiseman.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E35 - 1h 8m - Aug 15, 2023
  • Ep 34 // Battleship Potemkin

    It’s Mia’s Round 6 Pick: Battleship Potemkin, the 1925 film directed by Sergei Eisenstein.

    Divided into 5 acts, Battleship Potemkin, in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of what is known as the First Russian Revolution of 1905, tells the story of a mutiny aboard the titular Russian naval vessel

    In the film’s telling, the crew’s refusal to eat borscht made from maggot-infested meat is the first domino in a series of events that leads to a sort of mini-revolution in the port city of Odessa.

    And in the reality of the time when the film was made and released, it effectively helps to connect the still very new USSR to the historical struggles of its citizens under the previous Tsarist regime by portraying the institutional power of those sailors as aligned with the people at a time when the Soviet regime had much to gain from its people believing in such an alignment.

    While the film was produced intentionally as propaganda, Eisenstein also used it as a vehicle to further his own experimentation with the concept of “montage.” 

    Of course, while he may have had his own personal, artistic motivations for this exploration, it’s also undeniable that his work was itself influenced by and part of the Soviet effort to use the medium of film for its own purposes.

    The film was considered shocking at the time for its use of graphic violence, much of which has been referenced in other films over the years – especially the Odessa Steps sequence.

    But even criticism of the film seems to acknowledge the power of its craft.

    As for our purposes, Battleship Potemkin was in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s critics survey every decade, from the first poll in 1952 up until 2002. In 2012, it ranked at #11 making it a runner up, and in the 2022 poll, it was tied at #54. It’s never been in the top 10 of the directors survey and in the 2022 poll it was tied at #93. 

    Among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists in 2022 are Michael Mann and Sally Potter.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media


    Mentioned in the episode:



    S1E34 - 1h 32m - Jun 30, 2023
  • Ep 33 // Round 6 Picks!

    In our next batch of movies, we'll be traveling from the Soviet Union to Florida with stops in Sweden, Hollywood, and Djibouti along the way...

    So, listen up as we reveal our picks for what we’ll be watching in Round 6 of the podcast! 

    Also, we introduce a special guest who’ll be joining us for all of Round 6!

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E33 - 22m - May 17, 2023
  • Ep 32 // Boyhood w/ Max Goransson

    It’s Jeremiah’s Round 5 Bonus Pick: Boyhood, the 2014 film directed by Richard Linklater.

    Boyhood tells the story of a young boy, his slightly older sister, their divorced parents, and the people who come in and out of their lives over the course of 12 years, from the time the boy is 6 until he’s 18. Step-parents come and go, or even stay. Many moves are made. And we see the ways in which the parents’ decisions and actions affect their kids until they begin to have more agency and independence.

    The story is told a year at a time, and, of course, the special thing about it is that it was also filmed a year at a time, so we see every main or recurring character actually age as the film progresses. The effect of the year-by-year production schedule is that each section of the film is something of a time capsule of both the era when it was shot and the time in each cast members’ life, thus lending an air of docu-realism that could never be achieved if it had been filmed more traditionally as something of a period piece. Linklater, cast, and crew would shoot for a few weeks each year, with the script being written as they went to take into account where the actors were in their lives and, to some extent, what was going on in the world and culture from year to year.

    The film was budgeted at $200,000 per year of shooting – or $2.4 million total – and ended up earning $57.3 million making it a box office success, especially when considering that it was never in more than 775 theaters in the US. Critical reception was also strong, with many naming it the best, or among the best, films of its year. 

    Sight And Sound magazine, for the record, polled 112 international contributors and colleagues to decide their top 20 films of 2014 and ranked Boyhood #1. 

    The film also won the top prize of the year from a number of other critics groups and other organizations. And Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, received much praise for their portrayals of the estranged parents in the film. It was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, but only Patricia Arquette won, for Best Supporting Actress. It’s other nominations were for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

    As for our purposes on this podcast, Jeremiah chose this movie as one that he thought deserved to be in the conversation of the Best Films for the 2022 Sight And Sound Poll. It was chosen back before the 2022 poll was out and, as it turns out, it did not make the list. That said, of the ballots that have been made public, director George Miller noticeably had it in his top 10.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E32 - 1h 25m - May 3, 2023
  • Ep 31 // Apocalypse Now

    It’s Alicia’s 5th pick: Apocalypse Now, the 1979 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

    Coppola’s fellow New Hollywood/Movie Brat filmmaker, John Milius first conceived of adapting ‘Heart of Darkness’ as a Vietnam War movie sometime in the late ‘60s. The original plan was for Milius to write, Coppola to produce, and for George Lucas to direct. Eventually, as Lucas became busy with other projects, Coppola became the project’s director and co-writer.

    The film’s shooting schedule in the Philippines was originally set for 5 months, but ended up taking more like 14 months. A lot of the reasons why are pretty well documented in the 1991 documentary spearheaded and co-directed by Eleanor Coppola, Francis’ wife – it’s called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse and is totally worth checking out.

    Reviews at the time were mixed, with some crowning it a high achievement from the start while others praised the impressive craft of the filmmaking, but found the storytelling wanting. Despite its mixed critical reception, it made good money at the box office and ended up winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It also won two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Sound, and was nominated for another 6: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Robert Duvall; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing.

    The big winner at the Oscars that year, though, was Kramer vs. Kramer.

    As for our purposes, Apocalypse Now has only been in the top 10 of one of Sight And Sound’s polls once, when the directors list had it at number 6 in 2012. In the new 2022 polling, it was ranked #19 by critics and #18 by directors.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E31 - 1h 26m - Apr 18, 2023
  • Ep 30 // Raging Bull

    It’s Lora’s 5th pick: Raging Bull, the 1980 film directed by Martin Scorsese.

    The film is a character study of boxer Jake LaMotta, who himself is presented as questionable in character but pure in talent. It is considered one of the best films of its decade and quickly became legendary for DeNiro’s feat of gaining weight for the later scenes. It also basically introduced Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty to the world in star-making turns and was, in more ways than one, something of a saving grace for Scorsese.

    As for our purposes, Raging Bill has never been in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics survey, but was ranked #3 by directors in 1992 and then #6 in 2002.

    In the 2022 polling, it was ranked #129 by critics and #22 by directors – and among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists were Bong Joon-ho, Brett Morgan, Abel Ferrara, Oliver Stone, Richard Ayoade, Kenneth Branagh, Ari Aster, Michael Mann, and James Gray.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E30 - 1h 17m - Mar 28, 2023
  • Ep 29 // Pierrot le Fou

    It’s Stephen’s 5th pick: Pierrot le Fou, the 1965 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

    Godard himself said the film was "connected with the violence and loneliness that lie so close to happiness today. It's very much a film about France."

    And with its fourth wall breaks, often jarring editing style, and tendency to internally jump among mass culture and/or pop art references in both extremely metatextual and self-referential ways, the film is at once recognizable as a Godard film, a French New Wave film, and in a broader way, a certain type of arthouse film that is at once exciting for many and probably challenging if not off-putting for many more.

    As for our purposes, the movie has never actually appeared in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics or directors surveys, but it was tied as a runner up with Hiroshima mon Amour and The Gold Rush on the 1972 list. 

    In the 2012 polling, it was tied at #42 by critics and #91 by directors. And since we recorded this back in October, it tied for #85 on the 2022 critics list and was not included on the directors top 100 list.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E29 - 1h 1m - Mar 7, 2023
  • Special Episode // The Sight And Sound 2022 Polls Revealed!

    The 2022 edition of Sight And Sounds magazine’s polls of the “greatest films ever made” were released last week, and since our entire podcast is about movies that have been on these decennially updated lists, we got together to share our reactions to the new ones.

    Here is the top 10, as decided by 1639 critics:

    1. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
    2. Vertigo (1958)
    3. Citizen Kane (1941)
    4. Tokyo Story (1953)
    5. In the Mood for Love (2000)
    6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    7. Beau Travail (1998)
    8. Mulholland Drive (2001)
    9. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
    10. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

    And here is the top 10, as decided by 480 directors:

    1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    2. Citizen Kane (1941)
    3. The Godfather (1972)
    4. Tokyo Story (1953)
    5. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
    6. Vertigo (1958)
    7. (1963)
    8. Mirror (1975)
    9. TIE: Persona (1966), In the Mood for Love (2000)
    10. Close-up (1989)

    In our discussion, we reference:

    S1E28 - 1h 26m - Dec 8, 2022
  • Ep 28 // The Grapes of Wrath

    It’s Mia’s 5th pick: The Grapes of Wrath, the 1940 film directed by John Ford.

    The film is based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, which was also the best-selling novel of that year and was cited as a major part of the basis on which Steinbeck was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. The politics and story of the book were potentially thorny enough that Daryl F. Zanuck, the famed producer at 20th Century Fox, sent investigators to witness just how bad the situation in Oklahoma actually was so he’d know whether he’d feel equipped to defend the film against any criticism for being potentially pro-Communist. That said, the aforementioned politics and story were still softened somewhat as compared to the book.

    Ford was coming off a banner year, having directed 3 films in 1939: Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk – the latter two both with Henry Fonda, who himself had additionally been in 3 other movies in 1939.

    The film received plenty of rave reviews and accolades including this incredibly laudatory one from Frank Nugent for the New York Times:

    In the vast library where the celluloid literature of the screen is stored there is one small, uncrowded shelf devoted to the cinema's masterworks, to those films which by dignity of theme and excellence of treatment seem to be of enduring artistry, seem destined to be recalled not merely at the end of their particular year but whenever great motion pictures are mentioned.

    To that shelf of screen classics Twentieth Century-Fox yesterday added its version of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath…

    John Ford won a Best Director Oscar for the film, while Jane Darwell won Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Outstanding Production (or what is today called Best Picture), Best Actor (Henry Fonda), Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Recording. In more recent years, The Grapes of Wrath was on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list, ranked at #21 in 1998 and then at #23 in 2007.

    As for our purposes, the movie has never actually appeared in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics or directors surveys, but it was a runner up on the very first list back in 1952. In the 2012 polling, it was ranked #183 by critics and #174 by directors – and among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists that year was Lawrence Kasdan.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E28 - 1h 27m - Nov 8, 2022
  • Ep 27 // Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

    It’s Jeremiah’s 5th pick: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, the 1927 film directed by F.W. Murnau.

    Based on a 1917 short story called “The Excursion to Tilsit,’ written by Hermann Sudermann, the film was Murnau’s first in the United States, after he was brought over from Germany by William Fox to make something for Fox Film Corporation like the expressionist work he’d produced in his home country – Nosferatu, The Last Laugh, and Faust among those. As with his previous work, the art design is exaggerated or even distorted to represent the emotional and symbolic tone being strived for. Add in innovative camerawork and one of the first synchronized soundtracks featuring a specifically composed score and sound effects, and the technical achievements alone begin to make it clear why the film had been popular and influential.

    The film was hailed as a masterpiece by many critics of the day. And it also holds the distinction of being the only film to ever win Best Unique and Artistic Picture at the Oscars – an award that only existed in the ceremony’s first year. More recently, AFI listed Sunrise at number 82 in the 2007 version of their 100 Years… 100 Movies list of the greatest American films.

    As for our purposes, Sunrise has appeared in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics survey twice – at number 7 in 2002, and then at number 5 in 2012. Also in the 2012 polling, it was ranked #22 by directors; among the filmmakers who had it on their top 10 lists were Francis Ford Coppola and the Dardenne Brothers. And one more thing worthy of noting: Sunrise was released on September 23rd, 1927… Two weeks later, on October 6, is when The Jazz Singer was released, ushering in the beginning of the sound era for motion pictures.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E27 - 59m - Oct 20, 2022
  • Ep 26 // Round 5 Picks!

    Listen up as we reveal our picks for what we’ll be watching in Round 5 of the podcast!

    Spoiler alert: we have two bonus picks this time around, so we’ll be watching 7 films total.

    And, as referenced in the episode, here is the list of all movies released after 1980 that appeared in the top 100 of the Sight & Sound critics and directors surveys in 2012:

    • 1982 - Blade Runner (Ridley Scott / USA)
    • 1982 - Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, France)
    • 1982 - Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden)
    • 1983 - L’argent (Robert Bresson, France)
    • 1985 - Come And See (Elem Klimov, USSR)
    • 1985 - Shoah (Claude Lanzmann (France)
    • 1986 - Blue Velvet (David Lynch, USA)
    • 1990 - Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami / Iran)
    • 1990 - Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, USA)
    • 1991 - A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, Taiwan)
    • 1994 - Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, Hungary)
    • 1988-1998 - Histoire(s) du cinéma (Jean Luc Godard / France)
    • 1999 - Beau Travail (Claire Denis / France)
    • 2000 - In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong)
    • 2000 - Yi Yi (Edward Yang, Taiwan)
    • 2001 - Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, USA)
    • 2005 - Caché (aka Hidden, Michael Haneke, France/Austria)
    • 2007 - There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E26 - 26m - Sep 15, 2022
  • Ep 25 // Pather Panchali
    It’s Lora’s 4th pick: Pather Panchali, the 1955 film directed by Satyajit Ray. Pather Panchali, which translates as “Song of the Little Road,” is based on the 1929 novel of the same name, which is the semi-autobiographical work of author Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Satyajit Ray was a graphic designer working on illustrations for a 1944 abridged edition of the book when it was suggested to him that the stoy’s depiction of rural life in the Bengali region of India would make for a good film. A few years later, as Ray became interested in making a movie, he decided to take that suggestion. After a start-stop-start production beset by funding issues, support from the regional government, as well as MoMA and filmmakers like Jean Renoir and John Huston helped to eventually push the production over the finish line. Its success was eventually sure enough that there were two sequels that, together with this film, form what’s known as the “Apu trilogy,” which when taken together follow Apu’s life through adolescence and into adulthood. Pather Panchali won Best Feature Film and Best Bengali Feature Film at India’s 3rd National Film Awards. It was also honored at Cannes with the aforementioned award for Best Human Document and was nominated for or won several other critics, festival, or industry awards around the world. As for our purposes, the film has appeared in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics polls twice, once as a runner up in 1962 and then again at number 6 in 1992. In the 2012 polling, it was ranked #42 by critics and #48 by directors. Produced by Stereoactive Media
    S1E25 - 1h 0m - Sep 6, 2022
  • Ep 24 // Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    It’s Stephen’s 4th pick: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the 1964 film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

    Often cited as one of the best comedy films of all time – as well as simply one of the best films generally – this was Kubrick’s follow-up to Lolita, released two years before in 1962.Its making began with the director’s desire to produce a movie about a nuclear accident during the Cold War. As he was doing research for the project, someone suggested he read Peter George’s book, Red Alert, and he eventually bought the rights for it and began working with the author on an adaptation.

    As they began to write, Kubrick at some point came to the conclusion that there was no real way to depict the scenario he was interested in without it seeming absurd, so they decided to lean into that absurdity and make it a satire, which is a departure from the more serious depiction of the novel. Satirical author Terry Southern (perhaps best known by movie fans as a co-writer of Easy Rider a few years later) was brought in to help with the tone.

    The casting of Peter Sellers was instrumental in getting the film made, with Columbia Pictures making it a condition that the actor play 4 roles – one more than he had in 1959’s The Mouse that Roared. Originally, he was set to also play Major Kong, the bomber pilot, though perhaps against his better wishes since he wasn’t comfortable with the character’s Texas accent. But an injury forced him out of the role and it was recast with Slim Pickens, though not before it was offered to John Wayne. Another change of note is that the film legendarily originally ended with a giant pie fight between all the personnel in the War Room.

    The film was originally set to open in late 1963, but was delayed due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Instead it was released in January 1964 to good box office and it was eventually nominated for 4 Academy Awards – Best Picture, Director, Actor (Peter Sellers), and Adapted Screenplay – though it won none. It did however win 4 BAFTA awards, including Best British Film and Best Film From Any Source. And it was nominated for or won other Guild and Critics awards.

    As for our purposes, it only appeared in the top 10 of one of Sight & Sound’s polls once, when it was ranked the 5th greatest film by directors in 2002. In the 2012 polling, it was ranked #117 by critics and #107 by directors. Among the directors who included it in their top 10s were Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Mann, and Amos Poe.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E24 - 1h 9m - Aug 29, 2022
  • Ep 23 // Persona

    It’s Mia’s 4th pick: Persona, the 1966 film directed by Ingmar Bergman.

    Persona is a film that is open to much interpretation about its themes, meaning, and maybe even its plot. In the most basic way, it’s the story of a well known Swedish actress who suffers an emotional shutdown and is put in a hospital. It’s explained that there is nothing wrong with her either mentally or physically, but she is completely unwilling to move or speak. A nurse is assigned to her, but a lack of any progress soon leads the attending doctor to send the actress, with her nurse, to a seaside cottage. With the actress still not speaking, but beginning to otherwise take part in life, the nurse finds a willing set of ears to spill her thoughts and secrets to. This eventually leads to a seeming betrayal of confidence. Meanwhile, both for the nurse and for the audience, the identities of the women become increasingly blurred.

    Persona was Ingmar Bergman’s 27th film as a director and was released 20 years after his first. It also came about a decade after The Seventh Seal firmly established him as a well-known name of world cinema. The experimental opening moments of the film effectively set up an experience that is harder to pin down than other, more mainstream films. Discussion and debate about how to interpret Persona tend to follow several different lines, from identity, gender, and sexuality to Jungian psychology, art, and even vampirism.

    For our purposes, Persona only appeared in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics poll once, in 1972, when it was ranked 5th. In 2012, it was tied with The Seventh Samurai at number 17 on the wider critics poll, and it was ranked number 13 on the directors poll.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E23 - 1h 5m - Aug 3, 2022
  • Ep 22 // The Rules of the Game

    It’s Jeremiah’s 4th pick: The Rules of the Game, the 1939 film directed by Jean Renoir.

    ‘The Rules of the Game’ was the most expensive film ever made in France at the time of its production and came on the heels of a series of successful films that had made Renoir one of the top French directors. After initial preview screenings that began in June of 1939 and a premier in July that met with low box-office and mixed reviews, a series of edits eventually whittled  the film down from its 113 minute runtime to 85 minute; many of the edits excised Renoir’s own performance, resulting in a much less complex and integral character. By October, the film was banned in France for being "depressing, morbid, immoral [and] having an undesirable influence over the young." A successful 1956 attempt at restoration led to the discovery of negatives and other prints and audio for the film that had been thought lost during World War II. Eventually, with advice from Renoir, a 106 minute cut was assembled that largely restored what had been cut after the film’s post-release failure. This restoration was screened for Renoir in 1959 and reportedly left the director in tears.

    Director Satyajit Ray – whose film, ‘Pather Panchali,’ we’ll be watching for an upcoming episode – said of The Rules of the Game: it is “a film that doesn't wear its innovations on its sleeve ... Humanist? Classical? Avant-Garde? Contemporary? I defy anyone to give it a label. This is the kind of innovation that appeals to me."

    For our purposes, this is the only film that’s been in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s critics poll every single time since it began in 1952, when it debuted at number 10 (even before it’s restoration). It then fluctuated between number 2 and number 3 from 1962 to 2002 and was at number 4 in 2012. Additionally, it was on the directors poll in 2002, at number 9. In the 2012 polling, 100 critics had the film on their list – and 17 directors, including Olivier Assayas, Lawrence Kasdan, Steve McQueen, and Paul Schrader.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E22 - 1h 6m - Jul 20, 2022
  • Ep 21 // Hiroshima Mon Amour

    It’s Alicia’s 4th pick: Hiroshima Mon Amour, the 1959 film directed by Alain Resnais.

    With ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour,’ Resnais and screenwriter Marguerite Duras, explore the intersection where tragedy and trauma meet history and memory.

    The film was released on May 8, 1959 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize.

    Among its other accolades was recognition by Cahiers du Cinéma on its list of the top 10 films of 1959, where it was ranked 2nd after Kenji Mizoguchi’s ‘Ugetsu.’

    It opened in the United States in May of 1960 and went on to earn Marguerite Duras an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

    To give a sense of what was popular in the United States in the years ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ was first released, then when it opened in the United States, the top grossing films in North America for 1959 and 1960 were Ben-Hur and Spartacus, respectively. Meanwhile, Ben-Hur was also the big winner at the Oscars for 1959, while The Apartment was the big winner for 1960.

    For our purposes, the film has never been in the top 10 of either the critics or directors polls done by Sight and Sound magazine to determine the greatest films ever made. It did, though, place, as a runner-up in both 1962 and 1972.

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E21 - 1h 21m - Jul 7, 2022
  • Ep 20 // Round 4 Picks!

    Listen up as we reveal our picks for what we’ll be watching in Round 4 of the podcast!

    Spoiler alert: it’s our most international round yet!

    Produced by Stereoactive Media

    S1E20 - 16m - Jun 23, 2022
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