Black Narcissus (1947)

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Jules: The clash of cultures, faiths, races, and civilisations entire was hardly ever so agreeable as it is in this 1947, somewhat-forgotten classic. See vertiginous, mountain-perched bordellos revamped to serve as nunneries! See lanky actors in too-short short-shorts attempt to maintain their gravitas whilst riding Shetland ponies! See skin-tinted occidental girls reinvented as oriental firebrands!

David: One ought not to rebel against nature, it seems. Nor the nature of things. A gaggle of nuns embark on a girl’s own Heart of Darkness.

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Prometheus (2012)

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Jules: This film divided film viewers and critics to a surreal degree; but is it perhaps the film which most deserved overlooking in 2012? Despite its problems, what does it tell us about the ability of today’s filmmakers to revisit their own pasts?

David:  The franchise that inspired so many imitations borrows back from nearly all of them, with plot tendrils snaking about like a grasping facehugger that’s drunk too much coffee. [review]

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Triumph of the Will (1935)

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David: Riefenstahl’s innovative stylings offer our sensibilities a distraction from this forbidding vision of springtime for Hitler, the blueprint for every insane megalomaniacal dictator movie made thereafter. Everyone (except Hitler and Hess) looks miserable, as if already aware they are swept up in something that will shortly eat them alive.

Jules:  Leni Riefenstahl may possess the most problematic oeuvre in cinema history, famously combining technical and artistic skill with one of the most pernicious ideologies of the Twentieth century. Did she shape history as she shaped public opinion, via this outing? (Apologies for the sound issues: a time-travelling NAZI mosquito apparently infested the recording gear for this podcast.)

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