Episode 98: Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night (2014)

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In this episode, I explore the Dardenne brothers’ 2014 film, “Two Days, One Night.” Marion Cotillard stars as Sandra, a factory worker who tries to return to her job after a bout of depression only to find that her coworkers have voted to receive a bonus and eliminate her position. Over the course of a weekend, she visits each coworker and tries to convince them to support her in a second vote. I talk about my own experiences of working at a factory, struggling with depression, and living as a working class person. I also provide behind-the-scenes information about the making of the film and Marion Cotillard’s preparation for her performance.

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Episode 97: Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue (1993)

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In this episode, I explore Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 1993 film, “Three Colors: Blue.” Juliette Binoche plays a woman who loses her husband and daughter in a tragic car accident. Overwhelmed by grief, she tries to cut herself off from human connection and sever ties with the past and her memories. I provide behind-the-scenes information about the making-of the film and discuss key scenes and why they emotionally resonate with me. I also talk about the devastating loss of my father when I was just a teenager and detail my own struggle with grief. This episode contains spoilers.

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Episode 96: Pablo Larraín’s Jackie (2016)

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In this episode, I talk about Pablo Larrain’s 2016 film, “Jackie.” It looks at Jackie Kennedy’s grief in the days after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. I explore how the film represents grief and trauma, delve into the real struggles Jackie faced after losing her husband, give information about the making of the film and Natalie Portman’s performance, explain why the film is comforting to me as someone who has known a great deal of loss, and more. As I recorded this episode, the 13th anniversary of my father’s death passed. I channel my heartbreak into the episode and go in-depth about losing him and how devastating his death has been for me. There are spoilers in this episode.

 

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Episode 95: Agnès Varda’s The Gleaners and I (2000)

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On this episode, I talk about Agnès Varda’s 2000 documentary, “The Gleaners and I.” It looks at people who glean in modern society, whether in the fields, at orchards, or after the markets have closed in Paris. With her camera, Varda inserts herself into the film, reflecting on ageing and how she gleans images. I talk about Varda’s presence in the film, how she critiques the wastefulness in society, and why the film remains deeply relevant. I also include a discussion of the follow-up documentary she made in 2002, called “The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later” and how it’s a powerful look at the afterlife that a film can have.

 

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Episode 93: Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven (2002)

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In this episode, I explore Todd Haynes’s 2002 film, “Far From Heaven.” It’s an homage to 1950s melodramas and stars Julianne Moore as Cathy Whitaker, a Connecticut housewife who develops a deep connection to her African American gardener (Dennis Haysbert) while her marriage starts to crumble when her husband (Dennis Quaid) starts struggling with his repressed homosexuality. I talk about melodrama, woman’s films, Douglas Sirk, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, how the film looks at race, sexuality, and gender, and much more! Spoilers are in this episode.

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Episode 92: Todd Haynes’s Safe (1995)

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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.

 

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

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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.

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Episode 90: Maïwenn’s My King (2015)

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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