Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary on the commodification of street art directed by Banksy but placing Thierry Guetta, a Bansky acolyte who was inspired to enter the art world by Banksy, as the central figure through which to explore its themes. The podcast discusses Guetta’s journey, debating Banksy’s perspective and attitude towards Guetta, whilst questioning whether the figure of Guetta is real or not. Is he just a Banksy invention, a construct through which to raise questions? Does it matter? Aren’t all films constructs? The film is discussed as a documentary and compared to a range of works from Welles’ F for Fake to reality television, including Fake or Fortune. A film enriched by being open to the many interpretations the discussion in the podcast brings up: Class, critique, co-optation, power, art, commerce, hype , humour, the concept of the ‘art expert’ and much more. A fascinating discussion. The podcast may be listened to below:
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:
An insightful conversation on a film that’s difficult to grasp in terms of plot but which nonetheless offers us enough to have returned twice more to see it. In the podcast, we discuss the famous 59 minute tracking shot, how the film shifts gears narratively and stylistically; how the first half may deal with memory and the second with dreams; we talk of the film’s texture, how sound often works against image and how the images themselves are precise and controlled; we relate the film to noir (time, rain, vamps, fedoras, its evocation of BLADE RUNNER). We relate the film to the work of Jia Zhang Ke and Tsiai Ming Lang; and we talk of how it’s a film that may leave audiences initially puzzled but that seems to grow in their estimation as discussion unfolds. All this, and much, much more.