September 13, 2021

South African Crime Films

How do South African Films portray post-Apartheid crime? Why is there crime? Who are the criminals? What is their life like? Is race more important than class? Gil has South African-raised Jessina Marenga again to look at how South Africans are telling their own stories about crime.

Wall Street and its flaws are a common theme in movies, which emphasize the excesses, the risk-taking, and the societal fallout. But once upon a time, banking and finance were boring, steady occupations - and even before that, they were the domain of Florentine family businesses and Venetian Jews. What changed, and why? Gil and Rutger discuss Hollywood portrays the world of finance capitalism over 50 years: Merry Poppins (1964), Wall Street (1980), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and The Big Short (2015)

The 2020 thriller dark comedy Promising Young Woman breaks new ground on the feminist film continuum, parodying former female revenge movies, narratives about rape as an awesome origin story, and eviscerates the trope of the "nice guy". Lireza Elezaj joins Gil to discuss.

Since the pandemic, the world of sports has changed. We see it all over the world, across athletic fields, across populations, languages, cultures and whatnot: feelings of empathy and collectiveness are on the rise, while the haters have quarantined themselves into a corner. Gil and Rutger discuss Simone Biles and many other cases of extreme global feelings of thankfulness and appreciation.

August 9, 2021

Time Loops on Film

What would happen if time didn't simply move forward linearly, but instead the same trajectory could be taken multiple times? What would the experience be like emotionally, or philosophically? What would the paradoxes be? In this episode, Gil and Rutger explore this scenario through sci-fi films.

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.

Since Rutger and Gil are on a short vacation (separately), here is an episode from Gil's other podcast, A Podcast of Biblical Proportions. After listening, head to that podcast to get all the episodes!

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).

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