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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 my recent move, my own struggle with mental illness, the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and I expand on my previous ideas about a Cinema of the Unruly Woman.
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.
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.