Clift On Herztfeldt

Clift On Herztfeldt

“[Don Herztfeldt] sounds like Bill looks like he feels.”

Animation is the bastard stepchild of cinema: often and mistakenly referred to as a genre, dismissed as kid's fare, and rarely celebrated in the way that live action is. Which is strange, given that animation is, in a sense, pure cinema. Everything you see has been created to be seen. There are no happy accidents, no unanticipated fireworks or weird-looking extras wandering through frame; it is all made.

When guest Tom Clift stepped in at the last minute (again, huge thanks to him), his choice of filmmaker seemed, if we're being completely honest, pleasingly slight. With a dozen short films to his name, Don Hertzfeldt's filmoraphy was clearly one that could be easily tackled with only a week's notice.

The logistical practicalities soon fell away as joy took over. It became clear that Hertzfeldt's films were some of the most imaginative and unusual and deeply funny films we'd seen in a long time. If you want to know what makes them that way, then you either need to watch them, or listen to this month's show. But preferably both.

Before we get to Hertzfeldt, however, we take some time to chat about the key films from this month: Jocelyn Moorhouse's dark comedy The Dressmaker, Todd Haynes's period romance Carol, Steven Spielberg's espionage thriller Bridge of Spies, and Paul Thomas Anderson's music documentary Junun.

We also take a look at the new forms of streaming and distribution. With Don Hertzfeldt self-distributing his films, and Junun released exclusively to online cinema website Mubi, we examine some of the challenges facing filmmakers who are creating content for these new media, and whether it's too early for audiences to be able to clearly curate their viewing habits in this new frontier.

That's a lot for one hour, right? Damn straight it is.

So download or stream us from this website, listen via Stitcher Smart Radio, or subscribe via iTunes. And tell your friends.

Further reading:

  • The Washington Post piece about 1950s nostalgia that Sophie mentions in the reviews segment can be read here.
  • Sophie's book on Sally Potter, A Politics of Love, can be ordered via her website.
  • Three videos below! The first is a seven minute outtake from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Junun, the second is a clip of Don Hertzfeldt at work, and the third is the opening sequence he animated for The Simpsons.

Outro music: “Old Sir Symon the King”, composer unknown, from I Am So Proud of You (2008)

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