Her Head in Films
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My head isn't in the clouds. My head is in films. I'm Caitlin. On this podcast, I share my personal thoughts and feelings about the films I watch, mainly art house and world cinema. This podcast celebrates the personal, the subjective, and the emotional. I weave together my life experiences with an in-depth discussion of the movies that haunt and astound me. Facebook: @herheadinfilms, Instagram: @herheadinfilms, Twitter: @herheadinfilms, Patreon: patreon.com/herheadinfilms

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    Episode 92: Todd Haynes's 'Safe' (1995)

    In this episode, I talk about Todd Haynes's 1995 film, "Safe." It stars Julianne Moore in her first collaboration with Haynes. Moore plays Carol White, a California housewife who comes down with a mysterious illness that could be a result of the chemicals and toxins in the environment. When her doctor and mainstream medicine offer her no help, she seeks relief and answers at a New Age treatment center called Wrenwood that espouses individualist self-help ideas. I talk about my own struggle with chronic health issues, how women are often not believed by doctors, why the film remains so relevant to the modern world we live in, and I also critique self-help messages. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/da9be361

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    Episode 91: Jane Campion's 'The Piano' (1993)

    In this episode, I talk about the mysterious power and beauty of Jane Campion's 1993 film, "The Piano." It stars Holly Hunter as Ada McGrath, a Scottish woman who goes to New Zealand with her daughter, Flora, for an arranged marriage to Alisdair Stewart. Their marriage is troubled from the start, and Ada ends up falling for George Baines. I share my memories of watching the film for the first time and talk about themes of muteness, violence against women, and the complicated relationship between Ada and Baines. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/d9174a13

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    Episode 90: Maïwenn's 'My King' (2015)

    In this episode, I talk about Maïwenn's "My King," a raw and intense film that stars Emmanuelle Bercot as a woman struggling to heal her body and mind in the wake of a toxic and destructive relationship. I discuss how the film looks at emotional abuse, shows a woman reconstructing herself, and questions culturally-held beliefs about love. At the beginning of the episode, I also talk about how Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film, "Stalker," recently helped me through a difficult time. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/40de0d16

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    Episode 89: Peter Webber's 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' (2003)

    In this episode, I talk about Peter Webber's 2003 film "Girl with a Pearl Earring." It's an adaptation of the 1999 Tracy Chevalier novel by the same name, which imagines how Johannes Vermeer's 17th century painting, "Girl with a Pearl Earring" came to be. It's 1665 in Delft, Holland and a young girl named Griet goes to work at the home of the Vermeers to provide for her family after her father is injured at work. She enters a home rocked by domestic and financial instability. When Vermeer starts to paint Griet to appease his lecherous patron, more drama ensues as Vermeer's wife becomes jealous and the attraction between Vermeer and Griet intensifies. I discuss the profound impact that both the book and the film had on my life because it sparked my deeper engagement with art. For this episode, I talk about Johannes Vermeer's life and art, and I explain why I think the film is so powerful in the way that it centers the life of a teenage girl who is a maid, explores the difficulties of women's lives in the 17th century, and shows the power of art to expand and enrich our minds. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/b96a1f4f

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    Episode 88: Pete Travis's 'The Go-Between' (2015)

    In this episode, I talk about Pete Travis's dreamy 2015 film, "The Go-Between," produced by the BBC, based on the classic L.P. Hartley novel of the same name, and starring Jim Broadbent, Vanessa Redgrave, and Lesley Manville. It focuses on a 12-year-old boy named Leo Colston who, in the summer of 1900 in England, goes to stay at the opulent estate of his friend, Marcus Maudsley. During his time there, Leo becomes the messenger, or go-between, for Marcus's sister, Marian, and her secret lover, Ted Burgess. After the summer, none of their lives will ever be the same and Leo will be forever haunted by what he experienced. I talk about class, nostalgia, loss of innocence, and the devastating wounds of childhood. At the beginning of the episode, I also discuss how cinema has helped me cope with trauma. This episode contains spoilers. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/a4e7ca36

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    Episode 87: Patricia Cardoso's 'Real Women Have Curves' (2002)

    In this episode, I talk about Patricia Cardoso's feminist coming-of-age classic, "Real Women Have Curves" (2002). I discuss body image, factory work, the exploitation of immigrant labor, and the profoundly political and radical messages in the film. At the beginning of the episode, I also talk about recently re-watching Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique" (1991). Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/7928922c

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    Episode 86: Nancy Savoca's 'Dogfight' (1991)

    In this episode, I talk about Nancy Savoca's beautiful 1991 coming-of-age film, "Dogfight." It stars River Phoenix and Lili Taylor as Eddie Birdlace and Rose Fenny, two teens who connect in 1963 in San Francisco, just before the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the escalation of the Vietnam War. It's the night before Eddie is to be sent over to Vietnam and he and his marine buddies are holding a dogfight, which is a party where men invite the ugliest women they can find and the one with the most unattractive date wins a cash reward. Eddie invites Rose, but, although their initial meeting doesn't go well, over the course of the film these two very different people gradually develop a profound connection. In my discussion, I talk about the politics of ugliness and beauty standards, the damage of toxic masculinity, and provide information on the making of the film. This episode contains spoilers. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/97739d65

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    Episode 85: An Interview with Leon Lee on 'Letter From Masanjia' (2018)

    In this episode, I interview director Leon Lee on his latest documentary, "Letter from Masanjia." In 2012, a story in The Oregonion went viral. A woman named Julie Keith had opened a box of Halloween decorations from KMart and discovered an SOS letter written by Sun Yi, a man imprisoned and tortured in a Chinese labor camp for engaging in the spiritual practice of Falun Gong. Keith publicized the letter, and the international attention eventually led to the abolishment of these labor camps and freed many people in the process. I talk to Lee about Sun Yi's story, how the documentary was made, and the larger issues it raises about the source of cheap goods, the persecution of minorities, and the power of small actions. Go to letterfrommasanjia.com for more information on the film and the steps you can take to make a difference. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/69d7f8ee

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    Episode 84: François Ozon's 'Under the Sand' (2000)

    In this episode, I explore François Ozon's mysterious and emotionally devastating 2000 film "Under the Sand," starring Charlotte Rampling as Marie Drillon, a woman whose husband, Jean, unexpectedly disappears during a vacation on the beach. The film is about Marie's struggle to come to terms with the loss of Jean. I talk about the complex career of Rampling, why her performance is so powerful, and why I personally connect to this film because of its look at loss and death. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/c66fd2fc

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    Episode 83: Jem Cohen's 'Museum Hours' (2012)

    In this episode, Carolyn Petit joins me for a conversation about Jem Cohen's 2012 film "Museum Hours." Carolyn is managing editor at Feminist Frequency and is the co-host of the podcasts Feminist Frequency Radio and Cinemaball. "Museum Hours" is about Johann, a security guard at a Vienna art museum and how he meets Anne, a woman visiting the city to see her cousin who is in a coma. Over the course of Anne's stay, she and Johann become friends as he shows her around and offers emotional support in her time of need. In our discussion, Carolyn and I explore the power of art, the mystery of human connection, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/fb1eb403

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    Episode 82: Robert Wise's 'The Haunting' (1963)

    In this episode, I talk about Robert Wise's 1963 cult classic, "The Haunting." THERE ARE SPOILERS. It's based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel "The Haunting of Hill House," and stars Julie Harris as Eleanor Lance, a young woman who joins three people at a haunted house to investigate paranormal phenomena. Eleanor has spent over a decade caring for her invalid mother who has recently died. I explore how this film represents psychological disintegration and a woman searching for belonging as well as how the film uses sound and cinematography to create a frightening, claustrophobic atmosphere. At the beginning of the episode, I also talk about the recent news that Filmstruck is shutting down. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/2fe6df4b

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    Episode 80: John Cromwell's 'The Enchanted Cottage' (1945)

    In this episode, I welcome my first guest, Jesse Ataide, and we talk about our love for John Cromwell's 1945 film, "The Enchanted Cottage." It tells the story of Laura Pennington, a woman who struggles with her unattractiveness, and Oliver Bradford, a disfigured and disabled WWII veteran who fall in love in an old cottage that seems to have the magical power to transform the way they see each other. In our discussion, Jesse and I touch on themes of ugliness, queerness, disability, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/74209f1d

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    Episode 78: Carol Morley's 'Dreams of a Life' (2011)

    In this episode, I talk about Carol Morley's haunting 2011 documentary, "Dreams of a Life," which tells the tragic story of Joyce Carol Vincent, a woman who died in 2003 but whose body wasn't discovered in her apartment until 2006. No one reported her missing or noticed she was gone. Joyce was beautiful, talented, and had lovers and friends throughout her life. How had this woman been completely forgotten? Morley spent years searching for answers. Her film includes interviews with people who knew Joyce and re-enactments that imagine what she was like. In the end, Morley constructs a portrait of a complicated, mysterious, and ultimately unknowable woman, and probes important themes such as loneliness, disconnection, and the breakdown of community. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/a78c4f55

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    Episode 77: Jessica Hausner's 'Lourdes' (2009)

    In this episode, I talk about Jessica Hausner's 2009 film, "Lourdes." It tells the story of Christine, a young woman in a wheelchair who goes to the famous Catholic holy site of Lourdes in France where she and other pilgrims hope for healing and possibly a miraculous cure. I talk about loneliness, disability, and my own struggle with religion. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/6f8a7156.

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    Episode 76: 'Sharp Objects' Recap - Ep 7 and 8

    In this episode, I provide my concluding thoughts on the final two episodes of "Sharp Objects." I discuss episode 7 ("Falling") and episode 8 ("Milk"). I discuss female violence, my conflicting emotions about the ending, why this is one of the most important shows I've ever seen, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/335e7eef

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    Episode 75: Wong Kar-wai's 'In the Mood for Love' (2000)

    In this episode, I talk about Wong Kar-wai's 2000 film, "In the Mood for Love," which follows two people--Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan--in 1960s Hong Kong whose spouses are cheating on them with each other. Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow spend more and more time together, imagining how their spouses met and started their affair, but they start to fall in love. Intent on not acting like their spouses, they resist temptation. In my exploration of the film, I emphasize the themes of longing, loneliness, desire, memory, and nostalgia. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/38878357

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    Episode 74: David Lean's 'Brief Encounter' (1945)

    In this episode, I talk about David Lean's 1945 film, "Brief Encounter." Set in 1938, in pre-WWII England, it's about Laura and Alec, two strangers who fall in love despite being married to other people. I talk about how the film centers a woman's tormented inner life and why it's such a romantic classic . Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/484e2601

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    Episode 73: 'Sharp Objects' Recap - Ep 5 and 6

    In this episode, I recap episodes 5 ("Closer") and 6 ("Cherry") of the HBO limited series, "Sharp Objects." I talk about how the relationship between Camille and Adora is getting darker and how the show continues to explore trauma and memory in an evocative way. I share some of my own personal memories and struggles when it comes to grief and loss. Warning for discussion of self-harm, sexuality, and rape. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/cbd363d4

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    Episode 72: James Ivory's 'Maurice' (1987)

    In this episode, I talk about James Ivory's 1987 film, "Maurice." It's based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster. It's set in 1910 and tells the story of Maurice Hall, a young man who attends Cambridge University and falls in love with Clive Durham. The film follows them over several years, tracing the turmoil of their relationship. Clive eventually marries, and Maurice finds love with Alec Scudder, a man who works on Clive's estate. Made and released in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, "Maurice" is a film that celebrates and affirms queer love. It features brilliant performances by James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves, who all were deeply committed to their roles. For this episode, I talk about E.M. Forster, Merchant Ivory Productions, the filming of "Maurice," and I explain why this dreamy and romantic film continues to enchant me. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/b0ac85ed

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    Episode 71: 'Sharp Objects' Recap - Ep 3 and 4

    In this episode, I recap episodes 3 and 4 of the HBO limited series, "Sharp Objects." I discuss the importance of more women having a role in films and television, my current obsession with woman-centric crime fiction, the show's representation of female sexuality and mother/daughter relationships, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/dd6e1ff9

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    Episode 70: Ingmar Bergman's 'Autumn Sonata' (1978)

    In this episode, I talk about Ingmar Bergman's devastating 1978 film, "Autumn Sonata." It's an unforgettable portrait of a mother/daughter relationship that is toxic and damaging. It was Ingmar's only collaboration with Ingrid Bergman. Their working relationship was difficult at times, but there is no denying that both she and Liv Ullmann give powerhouse performances. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/c9bf8a6c

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    Episode 69: Ingmar Bergman's 'Wild Strawberries' (1957)

    In this episode, I explore Ingmar Bergman's 1957 classic, "Wild Strawberries," in which an elderly man remembers moments from his past and struggles to connect with the people in his life. The film helped to catapult Bergman to worldwide fame and is one of his most enduring films. While I do provide an in-depth analysis of the film, I also discuss how it brought up my own childhood memories and made me reflect on my painful loneliness, alienation, and disconnection. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/f69a4dee

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    Episode 68: 'Sharp Objects' Recap - Ep 1 and 2

    In this episode, I try something new by talking about the first two episodes of the HBO limited series, "Sharp Objects." This is more than just an episode recap. It's a personal exploration of the ways in which the show represents memory, trauma, mental illness, and complicated women characters. I discuss why I can't get the show out of my system and why I felt the need to talk about it. I will cover this series as it unfolds on HBO, bringing you an in-depth analysis every two weeks that will cover the last two episodes of the show.

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    Episode 67: Ingmar Bergman's 'Summer Interlude' (1951)

    In this episode, I talk about Ingmar Bergman's 1951 film "Summer Interlude." It's about Marie, a young ballet dancer who receives the diary of a young man with whom she had a passionate love affair in her teens. The diary plunges her back into memories of their brief and tragic romance. I explore themes of love, loss, mourning one's childhood, how we build up walls to keep out pain, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/e04edfcf

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    Episode 66: Jonathan Glazer's 'Birth' (2004)

    In this episode, I explore the mystery and power of Jonathan Glazer's 2004 masterpiece, "Birth." This is the most important episode I've ever produced for the podcast. This is the film that defines me, that I can't get out of my system, that has haunted me for over a decade. I have never identified so profoundly with a character as I do with the woman in this film. She is Anna (played by Nicole Kidman), a widow who encounters a 10-year-old boy who claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband, Sean. For me, "Birth" is a film about grief and ghosts and how we can't always let go of the dead. I talk about my own struggle with grief, how this film is part of my soul, and quote Joan Didion and James Joyce as I chart the emotional impact of this unforgettable movie. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/1cde2255

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    Episode 65: John Cassavetes's 'A Woman Under the Influence' (1974)

    In this episode, I explore Gena Rowlands's raw and uncompromising performance as Mabel Longhetti in John Cassavetes's 1974 film, "A Woman Under the Influence." Mabel is a woman struggling with mental illness and coming apart in the midst of family turmoil. I talk about why Cassavetes's work was so groundbreaking and provide details about his and Rowlands's relationship. The heart of the episode is my in-depth analysis of Rowlands's acting in the film and why I think she gives one of the greatest performances of all time. I also talk about mental illness, the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and I expand on my previous ideas about a Cinema of the Unruly Woman. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/060befac

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    Episode 64: Michael Haneke's 'The Piano Teacher' (2001)

    In this episode, I explore Michael Haneke's 2001 film, "The Piano Teacher." Isabelle Huppert gives one of the greatest acting performances of all time as a masochistic piano teacher who becomes involved with one of her students. If you have not seen this film, I insist that you watch it before listening to this episode. There are spoilers. This episode also contains graphic sexual content. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/472d5d32

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    Episode 63: Yasujiro Ozu's 'Late Spring' (1949)

    In this episode, I explore Yasujiro Ozu's 1949 classic, "Late Spring." Setsuko Hara stars as 27-year-old Noriko who feels a strong bond with her widower father and prefers to live with him instead of getting married. Worried that he will doom his daughter to an unfulfilling life, Noriko's father claims that he intends to re-marry and insists that Noriko have a life of her own with a husband. I talk about Ozu's life, why his directing style is unique, and why this film moves me so deeply. I focus on the relationship between Noriko and her father, and I question why we prioritize romantic love and often do not acknowledge the power of other kinds of love, like that for our parents or our friends. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/4ef20e2a

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    Episode 62: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's 'The Lives of Others' (2006)

    In this episode, I continue my exploration of films that helped me through my grief after my father died in 2006. "The Lives of Others" is an important film in my life. I have intense memories of watching it for the first time in a theater. It's about playwright, Georg Dreyman, and his lover, Christa-Maria Sieland, who come under surveillance in 1984 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). After WWII, Germany was split between West Germany and East Germany, the latter being controlled by the Soviet Union. It was a repressive government that used a secret police known as the Stasi to turn everyday people into informants through threats, interrogation, and violence. I talk about why this film is so important due to its examination of themes like surveillance and how people resist (or don't resist) under a repressive government. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/30da6eff

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    Episode 61: Guillermo del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth' (2006)

    After my father died in 2006, my mom and I lost ourselves in the films shown at a local discount theater. In this episode, I talk about Guillermo del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth,' a movie I saw in that theater and one that left a lasting impression on me. This episode is deeply personal. It's not just about 'Pan's Labyrinth.' It's also about grief, mental illness, my love of cinema, and much more. It even features an interview with my mom. She's making her very first appearance on the podcast! We talk about why films were such a comfort to us as we struggled to cope with our grief. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/21bd7cee

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    Episode 60: Donna Deitch's 'Desert Hearts' (1985)

    In this episode, I explore Donna Deitch's 1985 cult classic, "Desert Hearts." It's about Vivian Bell, who travels to Reno, Nevada in 1959 to get a quickie divorce. While she stays at a ranch for six weeks, she meets the vivacious Cay Rivvers, and the two women fall in love. "Desert Hearts" was one of the first films to represent a lesbian relationship without it ending in tragedy or suicide. See full show notes here: https://simplecast.com/s/6fbe5479

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    Episode 59: Kathleen Collins's 'Losing Ground' (1982)

    For decades, the work of Kathleen Collins languished in obscurity. She was a writer, filmmaker, and professor who is considered one of the first black women to direct a feature-length film. That film is 'Losing Ground,' an extraordinary portrait of a marriage in turmoil and a complex representation of a deeply intellectual woman in search of ecstasy and magic. In this episode, I explore Collins's life, discuss the barriers that have made it difficult for black women to make films both in the past and today, and I provide an in-depth analysis of 'Losing Ground.' Full show notes can be found here: https://simplecast.com/s/ba5e9b0d

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    Episode 58: Ounie Lecomte's 'A Brand New Life' (2009)

    In this episode, I explore Ounie Lecomte's moving 2009 debut feature film, "A Brand New Life." The film is based on Lecomte's own life and centers around a 9-year-old girl who is abandoned by her father at an orphanage in Seoul in 1975. I discuss the film's themes of abandonment, loss, loneliness, and the marginalization of women. I also talk about more general things at the beginning of the episode, like why the Her Head in Films podcast means so much to me and why I am putting so much of myself into it. See full show notes here: https://simplecast.com/s/2c8a2cda

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    Episode 57: Joanna Hogg's 'Unrelated' (2007)

    For the month of April, I'm focusing on debut feature films by women directors. I'm kicking off the series with Joanna Hogg's 2007 debut film, "Unrelated." The film explores the emotional crisis of a woman who escapes ostensible marriage problems by going on a vacation in Italy with a friend. It's a subtle but devastating look at loneliness, ageing, and disconnection. There are spoilers in this episode. Find full show notes here: https://simplecast.com/s/520e1313

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    Episode 56: Abbas Kiarostami's 'Close-Up' (1990)

    What happens when cinema becomes an obsession? I explore that question and many more in this episode on Abbas Kiarostami's 1990 genre-blending film, "Close-Up." It revolves around the true story of Hossein Sabzian, a passionate cinephile who deceives a family by impersonating the director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and is charged with fraud in an Iranian court. All the people involved in the story play themselves in the film, but, at every turn, Kiarostami blends documentary and fiction and raises questions about the nature of truth and the construction of reality. Not only that, this film is an unforgettable portrait of a man willing to sacrifice everything for cinema. Follow me on Facebook at Her Head in Films. Find all the show notes here: https://simplecast.com/s/9c8c6bdf

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    Episode 55: Michelangelo Antonioni's 'L'avventura' (1960)

    In 1960, Michelangelo Antonioni released "L'avventura," a film that would make him world-famous and that would change cinema forever. Antonioni was crucial in elevating cinema to an art form and expanding the language of film by constructing a deeply visual style that would influence filmmakers for decades to come. In this episode, I talk about the mysterious power of "L'avventura," why it has haunted me for years, and why it matters so much. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/ce10f75f

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    Episode 54: Agnès Varda's 'Cléo from 5 to 7' (1962)

    In this episode, I talk about Agnès Varda's 1962 film "Cléo from 5 to 7." It's about a French pop singer who is waiting for test results that will confirm if she has cancer. This film was my introduction to Varda and got me interested in her unique and important body of work. I talk about time, loneliness, and mortality in "Cléo from 5 to 7". I also provide a brief overview of Varda's life and work. See full show notes here: https://simplecast.com/s/b7f1ce12

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    Episode 53: Chris Marker's 'La Jetée' (1962)

    In this episode, I explore all the many facets of Chris Marker's landmark and influential 1962 short film, "La Jetée." Told almost exclusively through black-and-white still photographs and set in a post-apocalyptic Paris, it tells the story of how the survivors of World War III harness the memory of one man who is haunted by a scene from his childhood. I talk about time, memory, grief, nostalgia, and so much more. This film is responsible for sparking my interest in European art house cinema. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/946abd71

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    Episode 52: Carl Theodor Dreyer's 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' (1928)

    I would not be a cinephile without Carl Theodor Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc." This silent film from 1928 awakened me to the power of cinema and changed my life forever. On this episode, I discuss the life and times of Joan of Arc, provide behind-the-scenes information about how the film was made, and offer my own analysis of the film itself and why it made such a monumental impact on me. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/4745a637

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    Episode 51: Ceyda Torun's 'Kedi' (2016)

    For thousands of years, stray cats have roamed the streets of Istanbul, becoming an integral part of the city. Ceyda Torun's extraordinary 2016 documentary, "Kedi," is not just a touching look at the cute and scrappy cats, it's also a beautiful portrait of the people of Istanbul who take care of them. Woven into my discussion of the film is my own experience of losing my beloved cat, Bella, in 2016. I talk about how she taught me to love and impacted my life in profound ways. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/f39d740e

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    Episode 50: Celebrating the 50th Episode of the Podcast and Answering Listener Questions

    For the 50th episode of the podcast, I answer listener questions! Thank you to all who listen. I am so grateful to have this outlet for all my thoughts and feelings about cinema. In this episode, you'll learn what films I think are overrated, what I think are some underrated films, what film I'd add to the Criterion Collection, and much more! Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/216c7c30

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    Episode 49: Peter Weir's 'Dead Poets Society' (1989)

    I saw 'Dead Poets Society' for the first time when I was a teenager. It was a revelatory film for me because of the way it celebrated the power of literature and poetry. In this episode, I talk about why the film means so much to me. I also provide behind-the-scenes information about the making of the film and even discuss criticisms that it has received over the years. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/4357ce4d

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    Episode 48: Larisa Shepitko's 'Wings' (1966) and 'The Ascent' (1977)

    Larisa Shepitko is one of the greatest directors that many people have never heard of. In this episode, I seek to change that. I talk about two of her greatest films: "Wings" (1966) and "The Ascent" (1977). Shepitko died early in 1979 in a car accident at the age of 41. In her brief life, she created films that were concerned with the individual psychology of her characters and in raising moral and spiritual questions for her audience. She was married to fellow director, Elem Klimov, who made a short film about her after she died. It's called "Larisa," and I also talk about it. Warning: this episode contains spoilers.

    "Wings" is about a Soviet woman who fought in the Second World War and who struggles to adjust to her more mundane life after the war. She is also haunted by the lover she lost in the war. The film explores themes of nostalgia, loss, and aching. "The Ascent" is about two partisans--Sotnikov and Rybak--who are captured by the Nazis in Belarus during the Second World War. Sotnikov refuses to collaborate with the Nazis, while Rybak does collaborate. The film examines the complex moral issues of the war and extends sympathy and respect to all the characters. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/4fb17371

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    Episode 47: Luca Guadagnino's 'Call Me By Your Name' (2017)

    In this episode, I talk about Luca Guadagnino's 2017 film "Call Me By Your Name." In 2017, I read Andre Aciman's book by the same title in one sitting. I was consumed by the story of 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver who fall in love one summer in Italy in 1983. The film is beautiful, and I loved it. This episode was recorded immediately after I finished the film because I wanted to capture all my thoughts and feelings in that moment of afterglow and elation. I talk about many things, including the sensuality of the film, why I connect to Elio, why I'm moved by Elio's relationship with his father, and much more. Note: Spoilers abound! Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/1b66af7c

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    Episode 46: The Keepers, Big Little Lies, and Broadchurch

    For the final episode of 2017, I thought it would be interesting to spotlight three television shows that I loved over the year--The Keepers, Big Little Lies, and the final season of Broadchurch--and how they address violence against women, toxic masculinity, and patriarchy. Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence. Spoiler alert for discussion of certain details in each show, though I do not talk about the final scene of Big Little Lies, and I don't reveal the perpetrator on Season 3 of Broadchurch. I do discuss details of Season 1 and 2 of Broadchurch. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/1c321b6c

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    Episode 45: Reflections on the One-Year Anniversary of Her Head in Films

    On December 8, 2017 the Her Head in Films podcast officially turned a year old! This is a major milestone. Over the past year, I've brought you over 40 episodes about a wide range of films from all over the world. I've shared my personal experiences. I've shared my passion for cinema. This podcast has changed my life. It's helped me find my voice and to feel like my voice matters. In this episode, I reflect on the past year and why the podcast matters to me. Above all, I thank each and every one of you who have listened to Her Head in Films. I'm so grateful for your support. Here's to another year of great cinema! Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/1c17cfb2

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    Episode 44: Elem Klimov's 'Come and See' (1985)

    In this episode, I talk about Elem Klimov's monumental 1985 Soviet film, "Come and See," which follows a young man named Florya who witnesses atrocities and violence that happen in Nazi-occupied Belarus in 1943. The film is both personal and historical. Klimov himself experienced the Second World War as a child in Stalingrad. He was forever scarred by what he witnessed. Together with writer, Ales Adamovich, Klimov wrote the script for "Come and See" and based it on real-life testimonies. Over 600 villages were destroyed by the Nazis in Belarus during the Second World War. In the end, around 2 million people in Belarus lost their lives during the war. This film bears witness to their suffering and it's also a searing representation of the horror of war. Klimov resists glorifying violence. Instead, he shows us the sickening and frightening reality of what war is and what it does to human lives. While the film is graphic, it is also restrained, often only showing us things from afar, like a glimpse of a pile of dead bodies or the sounds of people burning in a building. I discuss how I think this is one of the most important films about war and atrocity ever made and how a film like this can awaken our sense of morality and truly transform the viewer. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/7d9d7c23

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    Episode 43: Tasha Hubbard's 'Birth of a Family' (2016) and Kalina Bertin's 'Manic' (2016)

    In this episode, I talk about two powerful documentaries from the Montreal International Documentary Festival. The first film is Tasha Hubbard's "Birth of a Family," which is about four siblings--Betty Ann, Ben, Esther, and Rosalie--who meet for the first time, 50 years after they were taken away from their mother, Mary Jane, during the Sixties Scoop in Canada. The Sixties Scoop was a program that took First Nations children and put them in foster care or with white families. "Birth of a Family" explores how the four siblings cope with the past and create a new future together.

    The second film is Kalina Bertin's "Manic," a personal film that explores both the complicated life of Bertin's father and the struggles of her siblings, Felicia and Sean, who have manic depression. Bertin's film is a raw and unflinching look at mental illness and how the ghosts of the past haunt the present. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/38e9cdd6

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    Episode 42: Ettore Scola's 'A Special Day' (1977)

    In this episode, I talk about Ettore Scola's 1977 film, "A Special Day," starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in some of the most raw performances of their careers. The film takes place in 1938 on an important day when Hitler visits Mussolini in Rome. While much of the city attends parades and festivities to celebrate the meeting, two people remain in their apartments: Antonietta (Loren), a working class housewife who believes in fascist ideals; and Gabriele (Mastroianni), a former radio announcer, antifacscist, and gay man. On this day in 1938, Antonietta and Gabriele--two people from vastly different backgrounds, holding profoundly different political beliefs--will meet and find connection.

    In this episode, I weave together a discussion of the film with my thoughts on the one-year anniversary of the election of Donald Trump, exploring how right-wing extremism and fascism have been on the rise here in the United States. "A Special Day" has much to show us about gender, sexuality, masculinity, political divisions, and human connection. It also has much to tell us not just about Italy in 1938 but the United States in 2017 and beyond. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/e725e23a

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    Episode 41: Mathieu Amalric's 'Le Stade de Wimbledon' (2001)

    Released in 2001, Le Stade de Wimbledon (The Wimbledon Stage) is French actor Mathieu Amalric's second feature film, and it stars his ex-wife, the brilliant Jeanne Balibar. It is based on the Italian novel, Lo stadio di Wimbledon by Daniele Del Giudice. In Trieste, Italy a woman searches for information about Bobby Volher, a writer who never wrote a book. She wants to know why someone with so much talent did not seek out publication. The film never really answers this question but that's not the point. The film wants to raise questions, it wants to meander and explore and investigate; it revels in the search itself and asks us to consider what we might discover along the way.

    For me, this film is so beguiling because it's interested in the meaning and mystery of writing itself. Why do we write? For ourselves? For others? For fame and publication? And what do we make of writers who had little interest in being published, like Emily Dickinson? I explore all this and more in this episode. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/bf95431e

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    Episode 40: Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' (1973)

    In this episode, I talk about Nicolas Roeg's 1973 psychological horror film, "Don't Look Now." It's about John and Laura Baxter, a British couple who have recently lost their young daughter, Christine, and are living in Venice, Italy when they meet two sisters, one of which is psychic and says she can see and communicate with Christine. The film is based on the Daphne du Maurier short story of the same name. I explore many things in this episode, including the horror of loss and the human longing to know what happens after a loved one dies. At the beginning of the episode, I also discuss the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other men in Hollywood. I question if there will be institutional, systemic change. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/c1b86c3d

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    Episode 39: Herk Harvey's 'Carnival of Souls' (1962)

    It's the most ghoulish time of the year now that Halloween is here. In this episode, I explore Herk Harvey's 1962 cult horror classic "Carnival of Souls." The film tells the story of Mary Henry, a church organist who survives a car crash and is menaced by a zombie-like man. What makes "Carnival of Souls" so powerful and unforgettable for me is its narrative ambiguity, its complex portrait of Mary, and its exploration of loneliness, alienation, disconnection, and trauma. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/63701d9a

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    Episode 38: Agnieszka Holland's 'The Secret Garden' (1993)

    In this episode, I talk about Agnieszka Holland's beloved 1993 children's film "The Secret Garden," which tells the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl orphaned after her parents die in an earthquake in India. She is sent to England to live with her uncle, Lord Craven, and discovers a secret garden on his estate. I discuss not only the film itself and its themes of love, connection, friendship, and regeneration, but I also explore what it means to re-watch films from your childhood and how that can be both a valuable and emotional experience. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/b45711a6

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    Episode 36: Lee Chang-dong's 'Poetry' (2010)

    In this episode, I talk about Lee Chang-dong's devastating 2010 film "Poetry". It tells the story of 66-year-old Mija, who is struggling with her health and with the revelation that her grandson, Wook, is connected to the death of a young girl named Agnes. As all this is happening, Mija is also taking a poetry class and desperately wants to write a poem. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/aa74e780

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    Episode 35: Andrea Arnold's 'Fish Tank' (2009)

    In this episode, I talk about Andrea Arnold's 2009 film "Fish Tank." It's about 15-year-old Mia who lives on a housing estate in England with her mother and younger sister. Mia has a passion for dance and spends a lot of time alone choreographing dance routines. The film explores issues like poverty, the mother-daughter relationship, and desire. Andrea Arnold is one of my favorite directors, and I think "Fish Tank" is her best. I also think "Fish Tank" is one of the best films of the century so far because it centralizes a teenage girl's subjectivity and shows the damaging effects of capitalism and inequality on people's lives. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/9aee3932

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    Episode 34: Laura Citarella and Veronica Llinás's 'Dog Lady' (2015) and Notes on a Cinema of the Unruly Woman

    In Laura Citarella and Veronica Llinás's 2015 Argentine film "Dog Lady," a woman lives in the woods with no companionship except that of her dogs. This nameless woman lives outside of society, either by necessity or by choice or perhaps a little bit of both. The film provides little information about her and prefers to linger in silences and the sounds of nature. It's a slow, immersive cinematic experience that shows an unconventional way of life. In many ways, the film reminded me of other films that similarly portray women who are misfits and outcasts, like Mona in Agnes Varda's "Vagabond" (1985) or Janina in Agnieszka Holland's "Spoor" (2017) or even the title character of Barbara Loden's "Wanda" (1970). These are women who are, in a word, unruly and who are often marginalized because of their unruliness. They resist, subvert, transgress. They defy our attempts to categorize or make sense of them. They are flawed and excessive and different and strange. They are part of what I've coined a Cinema of the Unruly Woman, and I talk more about what that is and how I hope that it can be a starting point for looking at representations of women who are difficult, challenging, and elusive. I think we need these kinds of representations, these kinds of women, and I will continue to examine, explore, and champion a Cinema of the Unruly Woman. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/6b3140ed

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    Episode 33: Barbara Loden's 'Wanda' (1970)

    Released in 1970, Barbara Loden's "Wanda" is a monumental achievement of American independent cinema. It tells the story of a woman living on the margins of society, rejected by almost everyone, a failure in just about everything she does. Loden was inspired to make the film after reading about a woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison and thanked the judge. "Wanda" was Loden's first and only film. For me, "Wanda" is personal. It is about the many lost, forgotten, erased, and silenced women in the world, including myself. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/9b97e5ea

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    Episode 32: Katell Quillévéré's 'Heal The Living' (2016) and Radu Jude's 'Scarred Hearts' (2016)

    In this episode, I talk about Katell Quillévéré's "Heal The Living" (2016) and Radu Jude's "Scarred Hearts" (2016), two films that explore illness, disability, physical vulnerability, and the thin line between life and death. I delve into many issues, including the harmful rhetoric we use to talk about illness and how health is too often attached to morality and personal character. Both films show us how the body is always precarious, that a healthy body can suddenly and inexplicably become ill. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/44ae7121

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    Episode 31: Vadim Perelman's 'House of Sand and Fog' (2003)

    In this episode, I talk about the ways in which Vadim Perelman's 2003 film "House of Sand and Fog" foreshadowed many of the issues that would dominate American life in the years after its release, including growing anti-immigrant sentiment and people losing their homes during the 2008 Recession. I also discuss my own personal experience of losing my house and almost becoming homeless. "House of Sand and Fog" is about the collision between two lives--that of Kathy, a young woman who is mistakenly evicted from her home and Mr. Behrani, an Iranian immigrant who buys that home at an auction and sees it as his path to the American Dream. After their lives intersect, neither one of them will ever be the same again. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/6a5e6f55

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    Episode 30: Sally Potter's 'The Tango Lesson' (1997)

    In this episode, I talk about Sally Potter's 1997 film, "The Tango Lesson." The film stars Potter as herself in a semi-autobiographical story about a film director who becomes interested in learning how to tango. The film explores her complex, fraught, and intense relationship with her dance instructor, Pablo Veron, also playing himself. Films about dance often end up being about human relationships--about touch, intimacy, and the power struggle between men and women. I dig into all this and more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/df13a5d9

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    Episode 29: Mike Mills's '20th Century Women' (2016) and a Tribute to Jeanne Moreau

    In this episode, I talk about Mike Mills's exceptional film "20th Century Women." The setting is Santa Barbara in 1979. Dorothea (Annette Bening) is a single mother, raising her 15-year-old son Jamie. Dorothea is worried about Jamie becoming a good man. So she asks her tenant Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and Jamie's best friend Julia (Elle Fanning) to help raise him and make him a better person. Things don't go quite as planned. Along the way, intimacies are forged, life is shown in all its messy and beautiful complexities, and we get a view of the United States before Reagan, before the internet, and before the world changed in the 1980s. This is a very personal film, based on the life of Mike Mills's own mother and the relationship he had with her.

    This episode also features a short tribute to French actress and director, Jeanne Moreau, who sadly passed away this week on July 31, 2017. She was 89 years old. Moreau was one of my favorite actresses and her films laid the foundation for my love of art house cinema. She was an icon and a legend. It's impossible to conceive of French New Wave cinema without Jeanne Moreau. She left an indelible mark on the history of cinema and she was a true artist, infusing her characters with life, passion, and intensity. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/f79c0220

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    Episode 28: Agnès Varda's 'Vagabond' (1985)

    In this episode, I examine Agnès Varda's 1985 film, "Vagabond". It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and Sandrine Bonnaire won a César Award for her performance as Mona Bergeron, a drifter in Southern France who ends up dead due to exposure to cold. The film begins with Mona's death and then goes backward, exploring her life through the various people she met while on the road. In the episode, I talk about the making of the film, Varda's own thoughts about the film and the character of Mona, and I dig into various issues that the film explores, like the lives of vagabonds, the dangers that women face on the road, the meaning of freedom, and much more. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/80f156f2

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    Episode 27: Two Made-For-TV Movies from the 1990s - Christopher Leitch's 'She Fought Alone (1995) and Marina Sargenti's 'Lying Eyes' (1996)

    Often maligned and disparaged, made-for-tv movies from the 1990s have gotten a bad reputation. The biggest critique is that they always portray women as victims. As a child of the 1990s (I was born in 1989), I grew up on these made-for-tv movies that usually aired on the Lifetime Network. As an adult, I wanted to revisit two of these films, in particular, and see what they had to offer. I share my analysis in this episode. While both films--"She Fought Alone" and "Lying Eyes"--have problematic aspects to them, I think they also contain some important messages about violence against women, rape culture, and toxic masculinity. I'm not just interested in how these films portray women but in how they portray men. These films make visible the violence against women in our society and they show the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which men harm women. In the end, I argue for the value of looking at these made-for-tv movies in a complex and nuanced way. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/a2372b32

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    Episode 26: Alain Resnais's 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' (1959)

    In this episode, I talk about Alain Resnais's 1959 classic "Hiroshima Mon Amour." I combine excerpts from Marguerite Duras's screenplay for the film and portions of John Hersey's "Hiroshima" to explore how the film represents (or resists representing) horror and atrocity. I also look at how it portrays memory and grief. As Duras writes, "Impossible to talk about Hiroshima. All one can do is talk about the impossibility of talking about Hiroshima." Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/da3a6fb5

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    Episode 23: Abbas Kiarostami's Koker Trilogy

    In this episode, I discuss Abbas Kiarostami's Koker Trilogy, which consists of the films "Where Is My Friend's House?," "Life, and Nothing More," and "Through the Olive Trees." They span the years 1987 to 1994. Film scholars have grouped these films together because they take place in the geographical region of Koker, a village in Northern Iran that was devastated by a 1990 earthquake that killed an estimated 50,000 people. In the trilogy, Kiarostami explores many themes, including friendship and the continuation of life, while also pushing the boundaries of cinema by experimentally blurring the line between fiction and reality, documentary and artifice. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/a8a1e777

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    Episode 22: Abbas Kiarostami's 'Where Is My Friend's House' (1987) and Mohammad-Ali Talebi's 'Willow and Wind' (2000)

    In this episode, I focus on two films and the ways in which they portray friendship and childhood. The first film I talk about is Abbas Kiarostami's 1987 film "Where Is My Friend's House?" The second film I discuss is Mohammad-Ali Talebi's 2000 film "Willow and Wind," which was written by Kiarostami. I discuss the similarities between the movies and how Kiarostami depicts children with great authenticity and warmth. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/2a2666d6

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    Episode 19: Christian Petzold's 'Phoenix' (2014)

    In this episode, I discuss Christian Petzold's 2014 film, "Phoenix," which is about a woman who survives the Auschwitz death camp, undergoes facial reconstructive surgery, and tries to re-connect with her husband who is the reason she was imprisoned in the first place. This is a masterful film about trauma, survival, and how difficult, even excruciating it is, to rebuild oneself and one's life. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/c88022d5

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    Episode 17: Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy

    In this episode, I share my thoughts, feelings, and emotions about Satyajit Ray's monumental Apu Trilogy, which consists of Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and Apur Sansar (1959). Note: This episode contains SPOILERS and goes into specific plot details in the trilogy. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/dd0f8ad0

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    Episode 15: Jean-Jacques Beineix's 'Locked-In Syndrome' (1997) and Julian Schnabel's 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' (2007)

    In this episode, I discuss two films about Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was an editor at Elle Magazine in France and suffered a stroke in 1995 at the age of 43. The stroke plunged him into a rare condition known as locked-in syndrome. He wrote his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, by blinking his left eyelid. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/a47fe6ac

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    Episode 6: A Break From Films

    In this episode, I take a break from films and, instead, talk about the current situation in the United States after the inauguration of Donald Trump. We are sliding into a fascist state. This podcast is about me trying to make sense of what is happening. I also talk about two books that I read recently: "Hope in the Dark" by Rebecca Solnit and "Freedom is a Constant Struggle" by Angela Davis. Both books remind us that we must hold on to hope as we resist the new administration's attacks and fight for the rights and dignity of all people in this country. Full show notes: https://simplecast.com/s/9b4168b9

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