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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...


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


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...


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, George 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...


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!...


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


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...


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...


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


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...


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. Follow me on Facebook at @herheadinfilms....


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


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...


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. Listen on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. Subscribe to the Her Head in Films Newsletter to...


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. Listen on...


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! Listen on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. Subscribe to the Her Head in Films Newsletter to stay up-to-date about the podcast and to get exclusive...


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. Articles and videos cited in this episode Turner Classic Movies article on the film:...


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...


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...


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...