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Cinema in Context

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New Zealand


Every month we discuss a current film and a connecting retrospective film. We look at technical aspects in each film, how they exemplify their genre/director/subject matter and then how each film fits into the wider cinema landscape. Enjoy!




Episode 16: Baby Driver & Reservoir Dogs

Heist films with music. Max Tarrant, William Chen and Jeremy Downing discuss the films Baby Driver (2017) and Reservoir Dogs (1992). The discussion begins by talking about the tightly woven nature of both films and a clear confidence in each. We focus initially on Reservoir Dogs, talking about the strength of the characters and relationships, particularly the work of Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi. We then talk about how the narrative is constructed, with the...

Duration: 00:42:33

Minisode: Best and Worst Cinema Experiences

William, Jeremy, Max and Sarah discuss their best and worst cinema experiences.

Duration: 00:12:39

Episode 15: Wonder Woman & Barbarella

Comic book action heroines. Sarah Watt, Max Tarrant, Jeremy Downing and William Chen discuss the films Wonder Woman (2017) and Barbarella (1968). The discussion touches on the fun to be had in both films, as well as its exploration of female empowerment, sexual politics and the qualities of both title characters. Sex plays a prominent role in the cult classic sexploitation Barbarella, while careful discussion of sex is explored in the mainstream Wonder Woman. The production design in...

Duration: 00:43:31

Episode 14: Get Out & Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Bringing racial tension home. Sarah Watt, Max Tarrant, Jeremy Downing and William Chen discuss the films Get Out (2017) and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967). The discussion touches on: uncovering racial prejudices in society that both films investigate; how the films shift social perceptions on issues like interracial marriage, and both the problematic and successful aspects of that; the gap between generations, when social expectation ideals are different between parent and child; the...

Duration: 00:41:40

Minisode: Alien: Covenant (2017) (SPOILER WARNING)

William, Jeremy and Max discuss Alien: Covenant (2017). Warning: Spoilers!

Duration: 00:20:42

Episode 13: The Salesman & La Strada

Oscar winners of the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award: the first winner and the latest winner. Jeremy Downing, Max Tarrant and Sarah Watt discuss the films The Salesman (2016) and La Strada (1954). The discussion touches on the treatment of the women in the films and the meta quality of Federico Fellini. The connection between the theatrical in both films is discussed, with the travelling circus in La Strada and the play “Death of a Salesman” in The Salesman. Both films are working...

Duration: 00:42:57

Episode 11: T2: Trainspotting & Trainspotting

Trainspotting times two. Jeremy Downing, Max Tarrant and Sarah Watt discuss the films T2: Trainspotting (2017) and Trainspotting (1996). The discussion touches on the films of Danny Boyle and his fall out with Ewan McGregor. The strength of T2 as a sequel, with themes of reconciliation and redemption, as well as the questioning of one’s past and how they have spent their time. Talk then continues into the uncomfortably of films dealing with drugs, but then Danny Boyle’s mastery in creating...

Duration: 00:42:50

Episode 9: Top Films of 2016 (DOUBLE EPISODE)

Top 2016 films. In this double episode William Chen, Jeremy Downing, Max Tarrant and Sarah Watt share their top films for 2016. Max’s picks: 1. The Salesman 2. The Lobster 3. Zootopia 4. Tickled 5. The Handmaiden Wildcard: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words William’s picks: 1. The Handmaiden 2. Hunt For the Wilderpeople 3. Kubo and the Two Strings 4. 10 Cloverfield Lane 5. Green Room Wildcard: Gods of Egypt; League of Gods Sarah’s picks: 1st equal: The Revenant; Green Room 3....

Duration: 01:22:03

Episode 8: Arrival & Close Encounters of the Third Kind

First alien encounters. William Chen, Jeremy Downing and Max Tarrant discuss the films Arrival (2016) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Both films have the premise of human first contact with aliens. The discussion touches on connection between humanity’s fascination with aliens being metaphor for relationships. We also talk about the exploration of mental health issues in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Fantastic cinematography and lighting. The balance of having a...

Duration: 00:41:06

Episode 5: Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters

Sarah Watt, Max Tarrant, Jeremy Downing and William Chen discuss the films Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters (1984). The discussion touches on nostalgia, the strangeness of the original film, the baffling sexism the stars of the new film have been facing, the radicalisation of pop culture, Ghostbusters hate stepping into Gamer Gate territory, the new film’s meta quality of addressing the kick back towards the film, the logic of ghost busting, the influence of women collaborating in...

Duration: 00:45:29

Episode 4: Independence Day & Independence Day: Resurgence

William Chen, Jeremy Downing and Max Tarrant discuss the films Independence Day (1996) and its sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). We discuss nostalgia, fast food, over-the-top-ness, practical visual effects being more tangible that CGI, Roland Emmerich’s connection to Steven Spielberg, pacing, films both pre and post 9/11, international box office strategies, diversity and globalisation, and the future of blockbusters.

Duration: 00:55:54