Lily Edwardes-Hill and Luke Brown return to the podcast, this time to discuss Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010). There are three foci of discussion: body horror, the coming-of-age film and mother/daughter relationships. Lily and Luke explore how the film makes us question what truly happens in the narrative. We see the action through the perspective of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) but the whole film is about her descent into madness, making the viewer question the reliability of that narration. Black Swan brings up images just at the end of shots and then drops them to convey this idea of things being on the edge of vision or the unconscious. The film is structured as a change from the white swan to the black swan, a mournful and uncomfortable one in which the push and pull between Nina, her mother (Barbara Hershey) and her director (Vincent Cassell) play the central role though her adoration of Beth (Winona Ryder) and her competition with Lily (Mila Kunis) also figure prominently in developing themes of coming of age, independence and the price of artistic integrity and success. Lily and Luke discuss the use of mirrors and the way Aronofsky uses devices familiar to viewers of other films such as Requiem for a Dream (2000). In the end, Lily and Luke deem the film akin to a two-hour panic attack, and a success for conveying it so complexly and powerfully. A podcast that makes one want to see the film again.
Luke Brown and Lily Edwardes-Hill get together for a stimulating exploration of Shin Godzilla (Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi, 2016), the first Japanese Godzilla film since 2004, and a considerable financial and critical success: it was made for 15 million and grossed 78 million whilst also winning the equivalent of Japan’s Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. The podcast discusses how it differs from the American Godzilla films; how it may be seen as a response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster. The conversation explores how the film fits into the Godzilla canon and how it departs from it, arguing that narratively it mainly shrugs off the canon but nonetheless cites it with visual references and particularly through its use of music. Luke and Lily discuss the meaning of the film’s title in Japanese and why the English translation was ultimately rejected as a title for international release. Luke argues that it is a film about Tokyo and about Japan and that in this iteration there is a return to Japan as a place and as a people with, ultimately, a belief in the establishment and the ability of the people to deal with disasters; a film that is very aware of Godzilla’s past and present and also that of Japan, one with unique attributes, but also exhibiting a return to themes of climate change and nuclear technologies missing in a lot of recent reiterations of the character. There is, of course, also a discussion of CGI, models, etc. A podcast worth listening to, and you may do so here: