Episode 102: Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder (2003)

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In this episode, I talk about Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 film “Memories of Murder.” It’s based on the real-life Hwaseong serial murders that happened in a rural area of South Korea in the 1980s and early 1990s. At the time the film was released, the case was unsolved. However, shortly before recording my episode, major news broke that a suspect had been identified through DNA. I go into this new development and provide information on the original murders. Since the film is based on a true crime story, I discuss my own interest in true crime and focus on the way the film looks at abuses of power and violence against women. Finally, I talk in-depth about the ending. This episode contains spoilers. It also includes discussion of rape, violence, and dark subject matter.

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Episode 101: Roberto Rossellini’s Journey To Italy (1954)

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In this episode, I talk about Roberto Rossellini’s groundbreaking 1954 film, “Journey To Italy.” It stars Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders as Katherine and Alex Joyce, a couple whose relationship starts disintegrating during a vacation in Italy. Katherine is haunted by a man she knew before her marriage to Alex and who was stationed in Italy during World War II. As the distance grows between her and Alex, she visits museums that the man wrote about in his poetry. In her wanderings, she confronts death and the enormity of ancient history. “Journey To Italy” has haunted me for years. In this episode, I articulate why it’s so compelling to me and discuss themes like time, history, mortality, death, and much more.

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Episode 100: Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D. (1952)

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In this episode, I talk about Vittorio De Sica’s classic 1952 Italian Neorealist film, “Umberto D.” It’s about an elderly man trying to evade eviction against the backdrop of post-World War II Italy. As his life becomes more precarious and desperate, he clings to his only companion, his dog Flike, and struggles to survive. I talk about Italian Neorealism, why this film moves me so much, and more. At the beginning of the episode, I also reflect on this being my 100th episode! I’m thankful for all my listeners.

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Episode 99: Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy (2008)

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In this episode, I talk about Kelly Reichardt’s 2008 film, “Wendy and Lucy.” It stars Michelle Williams as Wendy Carroll, a young woman stopping in Oregon on her way to Alaska when her car dies and she ends up losing her dog, Lucy. Much of the film revolves around her desperate search for Lucy and her interactions with various people who either show a bit of kindness or cruelty. Released at the beginning of the Great Recession, the film resonates more than a decade later in the way it looks at financial instability, the struggles of the working class, and the precarious nature of our lives. One bit of bad luck–her car breaking down–sends Wendy’s life into a kind of tailspin that she tries to get out of with very few resources. I talk about many things in this episode, including the bonds we form with pets, our responsibility to other people, the making of the film, and much more! There are spoilers.

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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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