We launch a new series of episodes titled The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies to draw a line from American history - and more importantly, their depiction of American history - to the political, social, and economic crisis it is living through now. The first episode is about America's creation story - its War of Independence. Its so-called Revolutionary War. The movie we chose for that momentous occasion is The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson, encapsulating all that is wrong in the way Americans think of their beginnings.
Archive for the 'world politics' Category
With the elections in the United States coming up this November, we map out five different archetypes of fictional TV and movie presidents (Frank Underwood, Jed Bartlet, Charles Lindberg, the president from Independence Day and Dave), and what they tell us about how America sees itself through its president, what it wants to imagine about itself and what kind of image it wants to send to the world. Writer and editor Omri Harel joins Gil Kidron to look at it all from an outsider's perspective.
Imperial China has survived from antiquity all the way to the beginning of the 20th century - an unequalled historical feat. How do Chinese filmmakers view that? Are there differences between directors from Hong Kong, from Taiwan, and from the mainland? What does Hollywood do with it? Rutger and Gil glide through 2000 years of rich history through a Pod Academy record of 9 movies: Hero (2002), Red Cliff (2008), Dragon Blade (2015), Mulan (animated, 1998), The Great Wall (2015), Mulan (live-action, 2020), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001) and The Last Emperor (1987).
In anticipation of the US elections coming up in November, Rutger and Gil go over the possible scenarios on the table from a global perspective.
In a completely unexpected announcement, Israel and the United Arab Emirates made peace. The development between the eternally warring neighbors is especially surprising because they are not neighbors and have never really been at war with one another. Also, is it really a peace deal or is it a deal to cancel annexation? Just for now? Gil and Rutger discuss.
In our second instalment of Revolutions in Movies, we look at two of the most earth-shattering societal overturns history has ever seen, the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Communist Revolution. We analyze the Russian Revolution via the classic Doctor Zhivago (1965), and the turmoil in China that led the nation from imperial rule to Maoism via The Last Emperor (1987). Joining Gil and Rutger yet again are Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge and Christine Caccipuoti from the wonderful history podcast Footnoting History. Check them out at footnotinghistory.com
Fauda is a hit Israeli television series about an Israeli undercover unit fighting Palestinian terrorism. It has been picked up by Netflix and turned into an international success, with season 4 being in the works. Abed El Rahman Natour is the Arabic translator for the show, taking the parts of the scripts that need to be translated into Arabic, either for the Arab-speaking characters, or the Jewish characters working undercover as Palestinians.
We re-tell the story of 20th century Paris through four movies from different time periods that represent the evolution of the French capital in the 20th century. Moulin Rouge (1998) takes us back to the bohemian wave of 1900 (La Belle Epoque); Midnight in Paris (2012) hearkens back to the Roaring Twenties (Les Annes Folles) when post-WWI Paris was a Mecca for artists from around the world; we then leap over WWII and the fall from grace as the US ascended to dominance, to get to Amelie (1997), a French fascist movie masquerading as a rom-com, and we end with the hit drama La Haine (1995) and its intense portrayal of the downtrodden minorities that live around The City of Light but were never part of its story. Does Paris live up to its hype? Gil Kidron and Dr Rutger Vos disagree.
Police brutality has been on display in the United States since George Floyd's murder became an international story, but the problem with policing is, unfortunately, a global phenomenon. In this episode, Gil Kidron and Dr Rutger Vos explore five movies (three Americans, one French and one Israeli) to better understand what kind of system has been put in place that produces the same result, over and over again in so many places. The movies are: Do The Right Thing (1989), La Haine (1995), Crash (2004), Ajami (2009) and Fruitvale Station (2013).
The Corona pandemic seems to be on its way out of our lives, at least for now, so it's a good opportunity to go over the mistakes, bungled models and government policies that turned the global effort against the virus to be less than stellar. Dr Rutger Vos joins Gil Kidron again to break down the scientific angles of the virus.