How do American movies portray Africans? Has that view changed over time? Special guest Jessina, an African studying politics in the U.S. joins Gil to break it down via Coming to America (1988), Concussion (2015), Black Panther (2019) and Coming 2 America (2021).
With so many films about Ancient Rome, it's easy to find those that follow the timeline of the Roman rise and fall in the Mediterranean, with a prequel of Alexander (2004): Hannibal (2006) for the Roman destruction of Carthage, the post-war American epic of Cleopatra (1963) for the end of Hellenistic Egypt and North Africa, we then go to the Common Era with some Jesus films, visit Roman Spain and Tunisia in the immortal Gladiator (2000), and cap things off with the magnificent Agora (2009) that chronicles the transition into the Chritian-heavy Middle Ages.
With record heat waves in Canada, and a few weeks ago in Northern Russia, climate change is manifesting more and more clearly. In this episode, we look at how Hollywood depicts it. Gil and Rutger review three films: The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Snowpiercer (2013), and Interstellar (2014).
To better understand the geopolitics of China, we need to dive into the painful historical memories of this proud all-time global power. Between 1839 and 1949 China found itself divided and ransacked by European powers and Japan, which resulted in the fall of the 2000-year-old Chinese system of government, civil wars and then the rise of the communists. We look at this period through The Opium War (1997), Warlords (2007), 55 Days at Peking (1963), The Last Emperor (1987), Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and Farewell My Concubine (1993).
The Biden administration is investigating a lab leak as a possible origin story for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart has gone all-in on the scenario in the Late Show. All of a sudden, it has become thinkable among liberals that nearly 4 million people (and counting) have died from what might have been an accident in a research lab. Gil and Rutger rank the main hypotheses and the arguments for and against them.
After 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ousted as Israeli prime minister by a motley crew of far right, center, and leftist parties, who partnered with a Muslim conservative party to form an unprecedented coalition. How did this happen? And what's next? Omri Harel joins Gil Kidron to break it down and maybe celebrate.
The Dutch have maintained a colonial presence in what is now Indonesia for over three centuries. What started out as swashbuckling adventures that are still sometimes viewed with chest-puffing pride gradually evolved into increasingly pervasive domination. The final chapters were only written in the mid-twentieth century and still cause lingering trauma. In this podcast, Gil and Rutger review three films that span the full period from the "Golden Age" spice trade beginnings propagandized in Admiral (2015), through the cash crop exploitation poignantly depicted in Max Havelaar (1976, after a highly influential novel from 1860), culminating in the bloody decolonization and war of independence in the current film De Oost (2021).
Humanity is on the brink of cloning itself in a lab. The technology works on non-human primates and other mammals but has not yet been applied to us - though gene editing using CRISPR already has, with the birth of two edited girls in China. Gil and Rutger watch three films around these topics and their applications: the classic thriller The Boys from Brazil (1978), nineties dystopian future in Gattaca (1997), and the claustrophobia of Moon (2009).