Audiovisual Cultures episode 80 – Alice in the Cities with Dr Simon Ward

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this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me Paula Blair visit Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures to find out more and to join the pilots I am really delighted to welcome back Dr Simon wars we are going to talk about it the film Alice in the cities from nineteen seventy four directed by some vendors Simon is not experts in German cinema in German culture Simon thanks again for joining us I'm talking to this economic German cinema you chose this film for us to watch together well not together or separately very very separately and cope with times but to talk about it together yes yeah I would just like to I just first of all tell us why Alice in the cities well the first reason was this was back in March which for everyone is several decades ago and it was you know it was answered this it wasn't only this March but it feels office in my finger and it was when we were starting out on the journey of looks and one it's cool and it seems like to watch a film that is about the journey in a time when Germany's wasn't possible just seems oddly appropriate it's a film I've been teaching for ten fifteen years I've always really enjoyed it and every time I go back to who's enjoyed and it is a very German film in many ways but it's also in many ways a film which is aware of the gradual collapse hold a coherent German culture in the face of American cultural imperialism which is very much present in the film because we've had lots of things that have happened in the past nine months so one of the things that my colleagues in government currently engaging in is T. colonizing the curriculum and and this film is very much a film by a white male traveling in very privileged fashion through a set of landscapes where the restrictions which might be placed on other people is not something the vendors is critically interested enough to see them I'm very aware of that as well and since we're watching a film by a white man on his journey and in your notes you've raised the question of race will come back to that as we move through it is a really interesting but I want to talk about and felt just at one particular moment but it's it's it's also road movie I don't know what a road movie is also something the road movies this is very much a road movie in the sense that it's driving around in a car it belongs I think to a whole set of road movies that were made in the states no easy rider Bucks a subset of other reference points from the early seventies which I think Venice is sinking I think there's no doubt the Venice is seeing those road movies and maybe talk about know that leads from the lungs in that tradition it will work for his well not so much to other American road movies but to the one decent British road moving but if you haven't seen this calls upon political radio on no I haven't well there you go so I think that you can't watch radio %HESITATION without having this in the city I was in the city to having what five easy pieces they're all part of the tradition of men on the move and it lost and there we are so that's true but that's just a set of rules I'm not next one of the things I I should say is that I approach this these objects I'm not a film's gonna per se I started off in German literature and expanded through economic necessity and interest into film and so when I read and watch a film such as this I'm equally in June to the mystery miss all vendors his own cultural influences and all so delicious of German culture per se so this is a film but it's also deeply embedded in all sorts of the forms of German coach will travel may be referred to but not going to teaching so you were in a sense you are you coming at this from the ads from Mars yeah yeah right side much less innocence shooting them probably in a good way not to all the kind of reference points of German culture arcane these things yes so I'll let you start with the first topic you want to talk about and then well something I'd like to pay it and the pop as it were as it might be useful to think about hi I watched it because as you say I've come to this very day it's you know I've seen this film very long time after it was made and released I watched it on my phone and I think technology and its production is also important in this film it's a long convoluted story but I watched on my phone because my laptop that used to be a windows laptop is nyla next laptop when it comes to anything less I jeans anymore but I was given an old iPhone that I use all the time night so I have my I. chains on my iPhone and that was how I watched the film so I just want to put that out there in case it's of interest because there's so much by on a log and this film and what we think of as old technologies that were brand new technologies back then and I just thought there's something going on there without it being situation that I had forty to actually pull it up on a certain level it horrifies me yeah did you have your phones then when you were watching on your phone or did you what was the sound the environmental signed in which we're watching %HESITATION suppressant as a ghost so I think I had my headphones and I mean the image quality of of what I've seen and again I've never watched it kind of remasters decisions so you know I mean that's not get ahead of ourselves let's not imagine there is some kind of authentic cinematic experience I was in the middle of the road movie I I watch I've made the Belmont in Aberdeen which I'm sure you remember portal they somehow got hold of the thirty five million passion of vanishing point system we never seen vanishing point it served taking this road movie from about nineteen seventy two so this is somehow the offense experience at this I was watching the thirty five watching this film on an eight inch screen just seems it seems we even look at what it is but it doesn't I suppose brings me he took me to that point where Alice so one of the first points in your notes was a figure of the child so let me start with the side you're viewing technology and one of the things that one could think about this idea of the child is a child is innocent uncorrupted is is very much a theme of German I think that sentiment saying of culture per se but it's also very much a thing of German cinema in the early seventies something not like Caspar Hauser by van a hat so always worth a watch and this is most of them related to German culture post second World War is this is a nation which is kind of lost its language and its traditions cultures holding %HESITATION isn't by what happened up to nineteen forty five and so they're in a sense this generation which vendors at so fast in there well the gender explain to their %HESITATION kind of meat they're all kind of children who are being nearly condition and that said the child is something that they returned she frequently so we have a child here but this child is already in so many ways these were corrupt is not the right word networking vendors actually presents it as corrupted she's just curious she devours all forms of technology with some of the Germans on on four four hundred on a lack of prejudice it's not the kind of technologies that to you watching this film on the opening is actually very much in the spirit all of this with the philosophical pulled a on the other hand of course to some extent the way these images that are being protected apps Allison presented is then quite so much fun it's just like sports at this I'm I'm thinking of the same in the airport where they're waiting to leave I mean this is like so into the states in the nineteen eighties and one time I went to the U. S. is nineteen eighteen decide did you could get and beats have a safe way to start your own telling you put a coin in Mazen this a lot in there by the way in which images are being presented to people through technology and so in a sense you're entirely correct and having watched on your phone and I think as well I've worked with so far too much I have this tendency to just watch stuff and then just in final you can watch it again and becomes I did the same things other than this phone call wings of desire which the first time I watched it I have seen anybody does watch this film having heard this discussion will be ramblings probate this is quite slow but there is a narrative ninety first missile wing to decide which brand is made in about eighty six eighty seven I saw about nineteen ninety hi Scott this is never seen in Venice before as slow as the norm and of course now I'm itching to it it's like mine well I love the comparison was made as the Ulysses Ulysses a book which I don't think anyone should have to rate an incredibly privileged is cheaper to have read it but it's kind of one of those books that you can just kind of now I can just throw myself into an infant wins is not kind of places and function and Alice as well and I could see what she thinks anyway I'm so gonna very primitive distance here where I can just spend time watching wasting I think my major point but the child really we're doing that then this is interested in how these children are being gradually conditioned by the technology around them so Alice's playfully at this point in her I think Alice comes across and she's also crucial to the development of the male character she comes across as someone who just plays with whatever technology comes to hand but they do have talked about ten minutes there's something you need to Alice is a real driving force in the film I was thinking yesterday when I was re watching clips are meant there's so much bites her false memory or gaps in her memory but also the things that she will just pack up and take on not truly social takes a Polaroid camera and just start and cheered up a using it or the television screen as she say or just the way said she occupies space yes no show lockers away in that bathroom stall and things it's really fascinating to watch it from today's point of view because there's so much paranoia arrange adults and children I don't think you could make this some day was not given you have to say about the storms it's on makeable whenever I teach my students I don't quite give them a content warning but I didn't want to say I want you to think about it hi vendors convinces you to go with us to suspend whatever distrusts the work or whatever you wanna call it you might have about this particular situation I think of course you Khan will attend to the vet can you recommend realizes the film is called Alice in the cities and so therefore there's a fairy tale the mention in the way that it was Alice in Wonderland and I think that's a fairytale dimension it's kind of hard to the point here that things will happen here which are not part of conventional wisdom mark it's not realistic it's not meant to be realistic and not send them in some kind of narrative sense at all so we were in a kind of fairy tale world tell me a bit more but this false memory I think it's trying to find the grandmother it says visit if we roughly guideline the FOMC summer ready done not yet and we're filling the sky it's Philip isn't that and he's supposed to be a writer and he's supposed to be turning around the ass and he's trying to write something about eight different places in the American landscape something vague like that but he's just got this writer's block but he's playing around with this Polaroid camera it's brand new technology at the time and so there's a form of writing and images city takes on they're not quite right images he can't get the framing that he wants and it never turns out right but then he encounters a woman he's having difficulty I think at the airport with language barriers yes and she is trying to get to Amsterdam but her daughter Alice a bunch of stuff happens and she ends up essentially abandoning her daughter with this guy and he tries to get her box somewhere but they end up trying to find where her grandmother lives but she can't remember what time it is and so there's the road may very well one of the roads turning sections of the phone is driving around these different times to try and find the another choice after they've done this trans Atlantic flights back to Europe there's a lot of him lasting going straight back in nesting right words today he sent yeah the best answer I was financing really old because it's almost like she's toward him through the say yes at some point and then later on she reveals the photograph the goal of this hangs it's really difficult to try and work out what the psychology or the motivation of Alice in any of these things is I don't know the answer to that really comes across to me that Philip is actually the more vulnerable person because he's just trying to get rid of this kid but he wants her to be safe she becomes his responsibility but they're all these popsicles or there are just things that to work right right and he keeps getting stuck with her she's very confident in what she wants and what she needs read how nice cream night you know she's just I think you know to to some extent Alice's psychology is basically of the moment it's very direct it's very I need this night I don't know how old she is supposed to be eight maybe eight or nine or something or not certainly pre pubescent very important for the film but this kind of a sense in which you just and that this is the point is she's just Iraq in a way that these apps everything is mediated between him technology in the in the windshield of the car everything is always mediation Alice of course given the directness the experience of directness and of course what she then also brings is not childish playfulness which all the innocents transforms him to some extent over the course of the film and a classic way the film is you know the Japanese not where we were going it was the people we met along with along the way I hate to use it for that every time but what makes the film really is how vendors demonstrate source stages as it were these moments of connection these moments all experience sensual it's sort of the the reawakening of sensory perception and Philip he's someone who as he says in the saying in New York where he meets his friend you know he says and she said I think she says to him you you've lost all sense of connection to the world it's always a problem for me this is what the film is to what extent Alice's function as a figure to person in her own right or to what extent she serves is mainly serving and not plot device with a kind of particular purpose for the male journey it's a problem I don't think then this can ever sold is from within and wears an Alice in Wonderland it's Alice's journey on this no one else for whom these journeys being made I mean I was the one that itself is deeply problematic Charles Dodgson thank you for explaining the plot it's one of the reasons why this is the phone to go to because this actually is the one landers road maybe there are three of them made in the seventies just one actually with the plot I'm with the kind of direction yeah so Alice is faulty memories interesting because again I'm never quite sure what her motivation is why does she remember later on this vehicle photograph white you know not sure should be asking the question why but you know there are all these quest you try and reconstruct and hope that helps you get and police station or something she explained that it has had enough and takes it to the police station so that they can take care of our own and he goes off to a Chuck Berry concert in a way that becomes I don't know if this is the first time we may not be the first I'm pretty sure it may well be the first time in Avengers movie where someone's walking the street and they see a poster for a concert and then they go to that concert this is kind of like this is urban cultures he goes off to this company comes back again and then she's kind of waiting for him and he's caught can you say okay right I'm obviously you're obviously not going away so we'll continue our quest to find the home that could be a transition point talk about the music maybe yeah definitely Chuck Berry is amongst the so what was your impression of music so there's that distinction between the non dietetic music that is accompanying the film and setting a marriage in certain scenes but then there's the needle drop music so quite naturally because it's often that you see it being played on a check box so again you got those new technology %HESITATION you know new yes technologies background that are very very archaic she asks not only this scene that really sticks with me today with music is and the cafe there's a child lunging her on to the site to check box I am so yeah there's a idea of children taking up space second the song is commentates on its on the road again and of course it slightly ironic because it's a one time when they're not on the road yeah seven American music and there's americana in the cafe quite an American style check boxes while yeah that's kinda song that's the one that had really stuck with me and I think because it strikes memories for me the cat that's by the check box it's sort of transports me back to being a bite that H. and hanging around in the video rental shops that I lived near plan on our kids are just looking around at the videos and already you're just making a nuisance of myself basically up space and an adult world and then so I think that's why that say No Way stuck with me it's an absolute literature and vendors will frequently say in the last twenty years he say all if I was making my old films now at Cox much more frequently which I think is just loaded nonsense causes a quite clear reason why he's deciding to have these extended things and this is clearly engaging content the song on the road again takes I measured it once by three minutes fifteen minutes late last night on the exact length of the saying is of course the next song so it's kind of like if you imagine a music video this will be how you would do it but of course as you rightly say nothing happens in inverted commas nothing happens is actually a hell of a lot going on but he's on the center of this thing is going to be the length of the song that's what's gonna happen is kind of recording of times at work of time passing yeah the kid budget books is great so you said that you books the jukeboxes American culture and the ice cream parlor is Italian and this is part of what's going on in in the film is these are post war interventions on the German in German culture German I mean he works in the road at sign is being dug up everything is in transition so in a sense we're on the road again we're we're not actually settled anywhere tool we're always on the move and Alice and Phillip or not getting anywhere there on the road but the cake with his I think he's wearing baseball pants as well he might well do I have to go back and this again that the he may have may have to just remember them thank you want to sing on your phone I'm pretty sure he's wearing sneakers I think they're actually baseball style thanks again influence American culture this is he's in rhythm as the music plays he's lent against the juke box on the return of the juke boxes coming into his body and he's you can hear him singing the whole time he's coming as well absolutely right this also coming in the songs so it's it is a real residents there one of the key words that I I'm trying to go on about this but one of the things that actually interests me thanks this is a German sociologist and I don't really care about the sociological perspective he's trying to so with the fact that we're massively distance from this horrible alienating worldly says what we need to recover is a sense of residence between ourselves and the environment we live in it's all of the new agency in a way but I think that's precisely what's going on here with this Boise there's a residence that's being generated between music and the body of the young kid and I think that the residents of rock and roll listened when he from this perspective find very difficult to imagine so this is Chuck Berry sequence as well where Chuck Berry sings live it's a concept Exeter of Chuck Berry singing Memphis Tennessee which if you go and research Memphis Tennessee it's a song about a man is disconnected from his child that was probably quite deliberate choice by vendors so I think the music here is essential because it is a bite the rebellion this implicit in so much American rock and roll and the win which that's taken up in western Europe in the fifties I'm so vendors has an ambivalent relationship to America percent which we see rain in the first off what you called the first touring it is a film where we see as it were negative America will come backs up maybe a little bit matrons thing about music a little bit more we have the new drive on the road again we also have Philip singing humming under the boardwalk yeah the stock in the film when he's on the beach in North Carolina somewhere like that again these things in this America is very abstract to me until we get to Shea Stadium in New York and share it's really just enough each and Eric America which is not differentiation anyways just roads with the open water actions photography kind of being alluded to as well fenders is born in nineteen forty five their generation which grows up with thanks kind of cultural tradition with that bothers quite naturally until some metaphorically without a kind of patriarchal order islands where American culture is an escape represents an indifferent to the kind of soulless materialism of the German economic miracle until we find it really hard I think connect to this kind of very localized notion that you go to a cafe and listen to them this is what my dad did in the fifties but I think it's very strong and it's very strong for vendors and his friends the writer who's very influential on impact the hunter okay well I could talk to and car trying not still on campus he's a very in front again of two very much same generation I'm writes essays about the jukebox and what it means to him about how it kind of is a transformative object and moving away from traditions of German culture but at the same time as we see the fairy tale is actually very strong part of German culture as well still here and so so on the one hundred American rock and roll and then the other hand if we have crack rock the non digest eccentric is will you describe for me it felt quite hold time that was the man failing maybe a bit melancholic quite sides yeah I think it's against damages where you're looking at it speeches but they seem quite desolate tonight some black and white so you should know about yeah it gives it a sort of uniqueness and the American landscape that probably is actually there but it comes across as Blake because it's quite washed all rights and the gray scale I mean those are the main things for me I don't know a lot of fight can you check out that's not really it is I think holding this right I mean it's not the non digested music of a road movie where you might expect it's some kind of energy so if you think about it but on the road again in the way in which the energy of the music transmits itself to the bodies there's no energy to the sound track it's quite you know it's just that it's been different guitar you know single notes Upton Dino pigeons often done precisely not going anywhere there's no progression in the music whatsoever it's just the kind of awaiting us on the suspension but I think it's it you know it it underscores a relates the images never any interesting way that you have this sense of traveling but not really going anywhere not really going anywhere for seminal moving forward so exposed in terms of the kind of German American relationship it's quite interesting that you have this German music this abstract experiment I mean common knowledge the experimental fare and Khan had maybe one top ten hit I think that largely their music is again it's not something for the younger generation raining it's quite I mean it's really fascinating once get into and it's the other thing that's not present here but then turns up in the in the transfer of movie rating on his cross found which is electronic much we clearly electronic pop music so that that will come later than this really is just working with again a general this is all the same generation that they're trying to generate German a new German culture so using and is also part of that using the coach's been generation that time in Germany rather than going back to traditional sources and that's what's interesting is what about Alice in a way is that and so maybe the next topic which was one of your notes was the landscape of early to mid nineteen seventies German cinema now I don't have a whole lecture on this many times my line but one of the things that's interesting about this is that it doesn't take well a lot of film directors went during the time which was traditional measuring material %HESITATION simply transposing making a movie about because he knew the book has cultural way so if you take a photo of it and that gives the film culture when there is a kind of luxury source for this but it's not really it's not in the way that you would be the filming of a novel that there's a text about a journey through America but as we know if we watched it this is only the first twenty five minutes thirty minutes this from what your journey through American film is really about the journey through Germany it's quite interesting from that point of view that this is an attempt to define the German narrative and Martin German narrative then this is interesting because there are a number of directors in the early seventies who kind of come to international prominence that part of what's known as the German cinema which is a follow on from the initial kind of break with the past which comes in the early sixties when Watson called Oberhausen manifesto where the number of young German filmmakers and we fathers Papa's keno is stoked on his dad's cinema is dead we're going to start something new something out of office in the wake of prince you wave and so on this is the German first I'm being German restaurants much football stay here an intellectual as anyone who's seen any stroke creating films or Alexander to the films will know this is really tough stuff commercially I mean it was basically state funded there was no money in the industry for the kind of films that can guns from being wants to make folks enough wants to make so basically they were still being funded by the state in a time I think when state funding didn't quite have the negative connotations which sadly it seems have taken on nine under the law of the filmmakers of that first wave ended up working in soft porn movies because that was as it were where German commercial cinema when in the late sixties was as as there was a growth in soft porn so this is where they have to the technics victories to work and stuff so they did unless the result if not you have a nearly seven he's an attempt by vendors and a group of other I'm trying to establish their own kind of distribution organization called sim for locked out torrents of film publishing house of the out to us and I'm pretty sure Alice is one of the early films in this particular tends to as it would create a market along signed this rather debased commercial German film production it's very idealistic does he fails immediately well not me but after about five years it comes clear that there is no actually a kind of business model the user can you see the way in which our language is being destroyed so for a lot that we did have a business model but it was of the fighting against a set of vested interests which didn't necessarily want to win I'm also have course these are commercial artists and if necessary to get on with one another so I mean one of the things about hats open fast and there is that they are radical individualists they're not really team players they really interested in doing their own thing and eventually that's really what will lead to the collapse this then this is interesting and I think this is this is important really to think about vendors is whereas have something fast and it came to filmmaking without having been trained in such vendors is an absolute semifinal of the worst kind as I'm sure will come through in any interviews whenever sings with him because he basically said it was in Paris what can I find a six films a day in his mid twenties or so and he went to film school as well he has the level of training and while conditioning as it were into the tradition of film I think fast and enhance %HESITATION dump or then come off much more radically than just wants to make a beautiful film still always wants to make me feel so questions of race gender politics are largely with second to form to the aesthetic of the possibility of cinema means he will worry later on about the disappearance of cinema I'm trying to dress the coming of video but always in that sense something is being honest about the social connection anyway so that's N. as in the early seventies and this is an attempt to engage with what's going on in German cinema constructing a cinema that is somehow specifically German language I think to some not I mean although a lot of those issues that are not primary concern term that might not even be second results for him but he does manage to have a level of inclusion that a lot of the others just wouldn't anyway I find because we're just so alert to it these days and I mean I was I watched the film before a lot of fat you black lives matter really the up again this year but it's just something that we are and generally these days were more there to fight I mean watching at the early part of the seventy S. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised at how many African Americans maybe not characters but definitely there's a presence there and baby I think there's always meant that these are the work force and that there may be a silent work force but adding created them and it's specialized M. %HESITATION there there and then there's a really stark absence of stopped in Europe you know when they go to the Netherlands and then on to germinate so I mean that was just something that struck me when I was watching it and then of course so much of to be sick we'll have pain so Chuck Berry or music I can take that is very influenced by black musicians maybe that's accidental I don't know how conscious and if that is definitely not the forefront I just find it and that it was there and it was an acknowledgement that they start this is the state of things that's right one of those scenes when he's driving through Mexico for the Venice's gains is very influence on America's very influenced by the %HESITATION photographer for Grafton's on that kind of such a graphic projects he did in the science in the nineteen thirties so there's one point where he stops and takes a picture of slightly dilapidated Gary H. on this black dying kind of standing in front of two Garrett when he takes the phone we see from that taking the photograph on this black guy standing in front of and then when we see the photograph as it's developed of course on the beaches of the voter ID is it kind of helps in real time to get on the list the black guys disappeared and it says never what you saw is on photographs and the something about a regime going on that it's really quite interesting and I don't know enough about the whole Evans project and how to what extent he's axes the exercising the dilapidation of the science and how vendors my perfect now but that that was a really interesting thing because it speaks very much I think the vendor's being aware of this there's a really weird then we talk about the absence of a very homogenous white western Europe %HESITATION Saddam Germany the real complete yes again is this slightly %HESITATION big US kind of thing so the highest they finance it means what we should take this things in cinema is when they have this picture the highest and then somehow they've driven rind I'm just very interested in driven rang and rang this very industrialized of West Germany and it was last year and then we have to remember that it was Horace James the next or the last of the road movies kings of the road will actually take on board this question of germ division so they find this kind of resolution the only time an Avengers film we're actually anything came with some kind of conclusion and of course the government doesn't live there anymore and it's yes workers from Italy it also brought the Italian ice cafe as well so you know this idea that you can go home again there's no sense in that sense of a kind of nostalgia for Germany as well as your grandmother has left her grandmother's moved on but then there's another reading actually one of remember this or seen it written first because I didn't see the first and final as the wandering around this pretty darn big industrialized time does just one very brief scene of a couple of Turkish people it's almost like the accidentally come within the purview of the camera and then moved on and and they look slightly worried or offended or describe the same but the it's a very old man it's like vendors camera again it's it's vendors camera something since I'm documented it is from the times the camera kind of documents whatever it sings of documents the presence of these guest workers but it's not sure what to do with them the confidence the narrative that is kind of there and then we move on this will be something that at the time a lot of more radical some like Fassbender is actually engaging with the presence of US workers and their experiences vendors with his usual kind of distance which is also for the S. in these kind apologizing because it's Phillips this is the world and it's %HESITATION there's also kind of just it's there on my program yeah he's got enough problems welcome to the world as it seems I think for vendors and for that generation the Americanization of their culture is is the thing that I'm most worried about more than most reflecting upon and it would take a long time rainy before German history culture can properly engage with the present self say Turkish guest workers in there later generations then that's part of what it means to live in Germany and I think part of that is the language as well because there's this seepage of English into things and for that base competent with English you know when it comes to the rescue of a German person he has no English at all so their status even if Philip himself to somebody he isn't necessary engaging because there says Spurlock for him with American and culture the American landscape pickup right up by debt he has no words for it but yet he can communicates to a degree in English so I was wondering if you had any thoughts not or is that something that you'd like to happen so those difficulties with language and words the first point really is that vendors I think it's still making the organ which is crucial for older German filmmakers at the time that film is it is a valuable artistic medium that can communicate stuff on those different works of literature and it may be that literature is kind of over the film is the future and as the future cultural form so I think this question about languages of deep suspicion about language is something that conditions what will suit the limits of what we can say about the world our in our language itself and there's a very strong sense of that for the writer's block the inability of language to actually communicate the experience where else it rich calendar this is very much what Phillips going through and in the states does it again I don't know what to make a statement that the scene where he meets his commissioning editor and in New York and for some reason this commission and start talking German tunes well did you know that it's almost like you're one of the things you brought up with liminal spaces lease spaces are kind of space when language gets confusing culture tends to get confused and it's a really weird moments of Phillips almost like re entering Germany already in New York both that and then the experience with Alice's mother not at the airport by the way at the pond desk okay only say that because just by playing we don't go to a condom office in the city to buy a plane ticket it's such a fifty year old thing today I see amazing so there are these spaces were languages countries and I'm Saddam I think also that the singer is getting his hair cut is a really interesting one where Alice is kind of in control of the language and of of what's happened to so I think on the one hand the suspicion about language per se I suppose the image which vendors believes can be more truthful than what it communicates oversee than the suspicion is the way in which the image it's been commercialized American very famous in west in the kicks over the TV yeah thanks for watching thanks John Ford film and is interrupted by adverts is young Mr Lincoln and prescriptions the Lincoln and it's interrupted by adverts and then it gets so annoyed by this is this is kind of the suspicion of television he kicks a television over in a very rock and roll fashion this the idea that languages in in perfect communicator form where where's the image can do more and then there's the sense as well which you get I think in Germany of all so the coming off an Americanized English in the German landscape I don't think that's quite some melancholy I think I think that's just like it seems kind of inevitable thing obviously on the road again is an American song being played in an Italian ice cafe in baton probably one of the more German very German name I mean language will always be important vendors %HESITATION we can go forward to Sunday night Paris Texas we see in Paris Texas then this is kind of cumulative Rhode mansion where he actually sets a road movie in America but can't get away from Europe so meniscal Paris Texas the scene at the start of the film if anyone ever does well with fortune in this sense it's vendors film which is has the strongest narrative and hasn't touched you can ski in it and is very accessible as well it's quite long but it starts off in a kind of new Mexico toward the Mexican border kind of landscape where there's a German doctor for some reason and German doctor tending to this guy he's walked into the desert after years of wandering around the desert I know my figure and this place is between America and Mexico it's between Germany and Europe and it's a really confuse kind of land language doesn't fit hi there is this idea of language not fixing which I think the public at the number of scenes in the film I mean I think there's a way to tie that in with the idea of the Polaroid as well and things not setting and modes of expression or capturing images just not quite fitting you know eat because this thing with I was watching yesterday from vendors and conversation at BFI event a few years ago where they had been screening I attended a restored version of Alice in the cities he was talking about high the polaroids Hyatt dam in the viewfinder it was basically a gas it wasn't going to give you an accurate images so the way we can hold our phones up and we can see right that's the photograph I'm going to get it wasn't like that with the Polaroid you have to just figure it out just gas so your square inmates that Kim might it wasn't the squire makes that you saw in the viewfinder and so I think that's where the absences come and inclusions come that you didn't intend right so there's something there and by miscommunication visually possibly but it's a way of accidental writing for Philip when he he has no words words are not coming to him he has this writer's block do you know if they do not actually know where that product originated it's because it was Braun's bronze ni at the time no I've never going to get that sometimes that that really is because whenever you see any photo event is he's always doing nothing okay you know what my future and I think three is quite fascinated by the way in which the technology and looking through the camera shapes what we can see so I love this idea that you know the something imprecise about the bone because you don't think about that so let's never seem at times that in thing can mean so I'd read the example talked about earlier on but when he takes a picture of the dilapidated garrison but actually that is then a very practical observation about the limitations of the technology which is great and that's that's a softening idea and I suppose it may be it's similar with the photo base and that he you have a rough idea of what your picture's gonna come right out and it's quite immediate but it's still a bit of a surprise when you actually see the photos you know so %HESITATION because there's a scene where Philip and Alice are in a photo based because they just start messing about you know they just start down around them so yeah I can I think for me by this stage the two of them St still knows from Germany I think I think it is so by this point in time that both engaging playfully you know he starts off San Andreas game and he plays the game and so the both playfully engaging with this automatic technology there's no one behind the camera Mr innocence and entirely automatic persons it's really nice yeah they take control of it they take south face you know that they're taking sound right in nineteen seventy four so fever and then of course you know the polaroids would be the best probably for Instagram more recently so the icon for Instagram it's roughly like that so it's so square with the circle in battle it gives you an idea of the polaroids amity square and you can pay it pretty sure there's more yeah you can put a frame around your picture a white frame so make it look like polaroids by that statue he was talking is followed by tight the film a sixteen millimeter and meant by the time make major to call face it was just shot to pieces I really badly damaged and so they actually set this digital restoration from the original negatives and we're able to clean up all of the scratches and all of the terriers and allegedly splotches and everything so the version of it that I saw I think one stop digital restoration and it was clean yeah really really claim that Connor back in the day that makes sense because I don't remember seeing that person my visual memory of is of a very mucky and scratchy image but that's part of it I mean there's always something about vendors Q. rating and I said this before it is curating his legacy Olympics you know this is a man who spent ages and ages in Paris watching endless films that are being preserved as it were what's interesting about this is actually not I don't know if we've made that clear enough for me it wasn't Vallas is unsurprisingly that it's not by the eternal quest for the male protagonist to find his identity that's a very boring it was always a boring narrative I think I even I at the age of wherever I am and I was given up on not being even slightly interesting as American as a historical document them in certain ways that I think probably this film ends up to me it's the complexities of the sound track on the back and forth between the town and its launching this and then Chuck Berry and the energy of on the road again this friction the friction as well between the idea of having a narrative arc and then also having scenes which is like three minutes long of nothing happening are really what make the film interesting or still worth thinking about I think we would have this problem with films there are nine and this is terrifying internet forty five years old %HESITATION what's you know why what why I still and I I kind of confess this little bit I still will will be devising our first year film course last year I still searchers okay sorry Paula and John Ford well yeah I use that as a kind way of saying that this is also the ambiguity of vendors that are you know I want to create a German film culture but the tradition I take is not of invite heartland and fix lands in a big U. S. figure and then this is history of germs man sentenced to terms and that doesn't exist largely into a little bit later on in this number there's almost nothing of German film history in here a John Ford with a lot of said German filmmakers exiled from Germany early on I mean they are a huge part of what became only leads to come through the back door yes yeah exactly you know Sir that was thank you for your of your own yes and no other thing with the search as well as a it's just we need to get some my son he's nine thirteen I made an option because I thought well I the students who are going to watch this a much configuration they are so okay and to what extent the acting's not because this acting as if it's on yeah no exactly couldn't get that full on the narrative you could see the narrative coming three miles off or so it is and this is obviously the struggle I then have featured something like the searchers was thinking about what can we learn what can we learn with no %HESITATION films they don't exist in some kind of perfect version we we have to admire but rather than on the floors and the and the tensions in there and yet you still when they run their asses and I shouldn't say this but you know when they write their essays that John Ford was one of the great director and now it's so difficult yeah yeah you don't need to spend just won't but I think the vendors want strictly enough people undergraduates to start an essay is one of the greatest German directors of the twentieth century yeah I'm sorry no no no no no it's I mean it's an issue I think it's I don't know what it is I think and shouldn't signing I think we've all been through that stage and then you have to get it knocked out if you work you don't have to write a review just give me information yes don't have any of that you don't have to think it's amazing just information so I teach this film to German students to film students well I have a phenomena when I was teaching my rope with the course and everything I don't think I ever dared to anything that slows this summit not a German students like him and they don't it's not through the German this is all that they actually quite you know there's something quite genuine about this film I think because well in the way that he tries to again we haven't talked about the non representation of women in the film this is something that you can track all the way through all of his work to essentially women are secondary to the experience on the journey of male protagonist whatever you do with vendors you never going to get away from this problem welcome to come the uncomfortable misses the erotic relationship with women is also just quite blatant training I don't know whether you thought much affected corner yeah I don't know I think I was trying to be mindful that I was watching the famine twenty twenty yeah so I was trying to be reasonably kind with that but I don't know if a shape I don't really know and I thought certainly with Alice I find that Alice was quite genderless she was a child rather than a girl there is nothing really of girl hates there she was a yeah one of the things that having children in cinema is they've got to be able to and the performance is again it's one thing to make this film watchable really is the yellow ribbons performances so natural is not the word for it but it's it is childlike she has not and I don't know whether that's what she is who knows the minimum certainly comes across as very direct yeah for me there is a lack of being self conscious you know sometimes she wants children and cinema and you can see them working through the machinations of I am acting nine that's not their fault and you know and I think it can take either very special child or a very special patient director to get a performance side of a child that will not do that which is must be extremely difficult she came across to me as totally lacking in self consciousness is almost it this is like many gravitas check well I want to explain it %HESITATION and during this time I need to go to China you know and it was very things just right on the table this is may start on Jan like it or lump it meant you know the socks about a change I'm sure this is something to do with the fact that vendors rarely works in a very tight script and making this up you know I imagine it'll most of that scene in the in the ice fail ever recorded in the country with the ice cream they just sitting around and saying let's come in their hands I think that helps we haven't really talked about this is probably good that we didn't anyway my favorite sequence as a whole is another one I get my German she's think boxes are of course we're doing is really how long is the same as the airplane journey and the once you get the answer wrong wrong answers only other ones to say was when the plane takes off when it lands and that's not right it starts with them sitting in the airport looking on the window or that I'm missing ends with them on the travel later I think that's what it's called in in ship all or they're just being dragged along and then %HESITATION actually walking there's no walking in this because I don't have a German road moving without walking that doesn't make any sense Germans wonder and so the something quite important about the fact that this is a film about germs wondering that involves almost no walking Watson there's no kind of can you take some been Martin Heidegger going to mind is none of that it's old technology sized technologies travel which and if you really want the ski mask the next phone vendors makes false move which is even slower and has really just sent to male protagonist some second exercise and and how many forms of technology as transport kind we have known for a lot and I'm not recommending it but it's much less excessively numbers there was one particular scene where Alice is kind of walking through whichever application your don't know enough about you Mr York airports LaGuardia whatever and it's a beautiful thing to see it's like fifteen seconds of of her just walking through an airport looking at stuff who knows what's gonna happen she doesn't know what's going to happen she just bangs and stuff sticks around in the rubbish bin it's great do you have any final summaries I mean there's a huge amount for every ticket and say but I think that's probably quite a lot to cheer on do you think you have any sort of final roundup observations that %HESITATION what my final observation this is obviously a fairy tale there's a moment in the film where Philip it's almost like a transformative when we've become he is asked to tell a fairy tale and someone who's still stories left not to mention the very kind of bored you don't have to be actually throws himself into telling this fairy tale but it's a really weird fairy tale again it's a fairy tale which involves Lawrence it's almost like he's taking the German tradition of Grimm fairy tale and then destroying some lorries and you see this right to the end of the film as well when they're on the train its reputation among homes in your but it's kind of the token with extra and then train window inspector had sent the train is moving along the river Rhine at this point in the helicopter comes up and goes over the Rhine so we just kind of return to an archetypal German landscape but it's not like sign posted in the mafia's flag so I suppose my conclusion is there's something still very deeply German about this film but you don't need to know any of this from joint for great find Simon it's been really lovely to have you back thank you so much for sharing all these really interesting I chance everyone well it's been a pleasure I apologize for rambling I hope you can what if you can edit it alight but hello if anyone's watching is not seen the film that they did manage to go on more it's really not a difficult Washington please like comment straight there's not really in jeopardy no no there's no it'll it's not often but conflict they really help us thanks okay thank you very much

Audiovisual Cultures episode 51 – Roaming Privileges with Dr Simon Ward automated transcript

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hello and thank you for tuning in to another episode of audio-visual cultures I’m the host and creator Paula Blair and I’m delighted to be joined by dr. Simon Ward’s associate professor in the school of modern languages and cultures at University of Durham we caught up at Newcastle Tyneside cinema over a screening of Christian pets old’s adaptation of transit about a German man fleeing a fascist regime spreading from Germany to France and while trying to get transit papers and Marseille he falls in love with the widow of the writer whose identity he assumes huge thanks to members on forward slash a V cultures unto everyone listening sharing and engaging on social media I have more details for how you can get in touch and support at the end do you enjoy this spoiler if ik discussion with Simon so obviously all you’ve never seen a film before whereas I taught one or two of them for many years now I’m much more attuned to the kind of style the kind of the manner the kind of cinematic references that are going on there that someone would a relative knowledge of German film will pick up I mean they’re pretty iconic images but I suppose what we were just saying there was Petzl starts writing about contemporary or making films but he writes he’s an outer in the old tradition really in many ways he starts making films about contemporary Germany and shift from traditional social structures to a more fluid and investigating those structures and there’s a fantastic moment right at the end of the film there so these are spoiler alerts although if he can read German the spoil is there at the very start of the film when we’re dramatically focusing on the fact that the ship has gone down the shot is actually piloted is of the man there doing the labor of loading up the band who is clearly a not from Marseilles clearly an immigrant or illegal or some kinds of work he said we operating in that system and that’s very petal and petal learn that from Shiraki the focus is on labor focus on the world of labor and that’s what we’ve got to have in your image your image has to always try and do justice to the fact that there is labor in course here so the image is country even though we’re being carried along by the melodramatic I kind of focus on the fact that the boats gone down how lucky unlucky etcetera for everyone this whole situation that’s a very very pets all bein rocky is her rocky moment it’s something he’s that’s where he kind of learned it from but I suppose why I was trying to say and I’m rambling here was that he moves from contemporary Germany in the last few films to historical material so the previous when Phoenix was about a Holocaust survivor and so returns to that very typical German material and this is obviously very historical as well but then completely played with your mind by setting a film or a book a novel is set in 1940 then seems to be playing out in the present no it’s really weird the clothing is sometimes four thirties forties certainly the central character seems to be operating in that kind of dress code no mobile phones obviously right but obviously the leash stateless operating again petals so aware of the images yeah that we are contemporarily confronted with and what he’s doing is there’s probably a lot of Brecht in here as well yeah it’s a lot of Fassbender there’s a scene where they’re in the castle there’s any number of romantic Superbird I think I can we’ve seen it is there’s only ten minutes to come but there’s a scene where the two of them at a Congress but it’s a male female too and just behind you’re a sailor and a woman who are gauging in their just kissing as it weren’t it there’s a lovely scene in problems marriage of Maria Brown which again is right at the core of this if you think about Maria’s obsession with her husband although that’s already in the novel it’s also the core of web presence in anyway that kind of thing classes are love we’ve seen it where I think it’s a memory of maybe some rest of what so much mass business where there’s kind of like sexual congress going on in the background really disrupting what you’re supposed to be focusing on so yeah there’s lots of that so Toni sort of fifty minutes I found now quite intense it’s really intense because I mean we were sitting right to the front so you’re there’s no one between you and the images as it were I just think at this point today and it’s just funny when you have people on the film saying in two week it’s gonna be chaos here and they obviously mean that social cohesion is about to break down and it’s already broken down in so many ways is lack of trust between the French and the Germans who are passing through and what’s actually filmed in 2017 so where it’s kind of it’s not I don’t think I mean it must have because it’s fascinating hearing conversations with God and Europe in these countries and we’re in the middle of it and it feels very similar it just felt like a bearer like right in the top in a transitional space yeah we can watch the street the alleyway

there’s a lot of that in them and so much normality obviously one of the things I said before that I’m obsessed with this away pet uses cars

yes absolutely I mean obviously people seem to be conducting a kind of semi visible but it feels very much like we’re watching this absolutely small but

probably nobody sorry but you’re absolutely right I mean Jeremy the we can’t call it that there are certain phrases in German you can’t use like the Jewish Question that already alluded to the fact that there is a question of so in Germany don’t open Lewis question cuz that’s a racist framing and also in Germany there is a debate about immigration that again that’s also romantic way of describing it and Petzl is also looking into intervene that because there is a typical populist agitation against immigrant populations in Germany manner which has been there were problems around unification there has always been about others we know that it’s very much today there are so many shares so it’s 1930s Germany so it’s circulating everywhere yeah okay one of the things I would say in why it’s not in pencils defense but you know there is no hero here I’ve read the novel but I can’t remember the novels that well what’s happening obviously in the Pillman you’ve got this voice coming in which seems to be a novel authority so in a sense it’s a story foretold in descendants you what you’re right it’s too it could be described as too intelligent too clever for its own good this is this what we worry about now I think to be fair what Petzl tries to Tony does this in all his films is construct plots which will draw us in and supposed to work on a property but again is it too clever it’s a bit like Fassbender who will use melodramatic plots as a kind of structuring device to draw you in the deeper politics but again is that and that’s why I wonder whether pets are everything stuck actually in his admiration for new German cinema and for the kind of hopes for what you might hope film to do there’s too much expectations in its weight placed on the capacity of film to generate the cars but I thought we all at the end Harbor that’s right that very much reflects at where this is happening right but also because the to do is to look somewhere between and that’s why there’s a lot of language in here and that again brings back to then there’s a brings about new German cinema which was obsessive like no sorry I’m being a big unless you matter so he German speaking French to the boy the boys transmitting and to the German yeah it seems to have a German yes and then so the boy is

for anyone listening to this you have to go watch Alice in the cities by them vendors where the boys eating the ice cream outside the cafe there is a sequence that is absolutely in other cities which one of my favorite films which is a film about an older man with the younger child traveling lost in Europe but again that comes in the mid seventies and so this historically place is actually closer to 1914 vendors filming 274 is almost important medicines fill mr. vendors fill and it’s important because it’s night actually integral to the refugee crisis that’s been ongoing for several years mine all over Europe and yeah they’re becoming highly skilled you see Molly’s radiatively new stories about kids a common English is maybe their third or fourth language and then there Kelly yeah if their exams are absolutely just yeah well you don’t need to talk to me about the benefits of learning a foreign language again that is so invisible that is generally presented in the I’m not gonna use the word mainstream media but essentially the conventional perspective is this is a problem that we have children using this is not the first language in our schools and yet we have no teaching them and it’s happening invisibly really and I think think that’s one of the things trying to make certain things visible that won’t or was particularly visible and animal and this is where he’s coming from the kind of particular for rocking yes for Rocky is critique lifted conventional media images that we get on a daily basis to your face it gets interesting as well is that it’s a reminder that white people are also considered to be refugees or have been at some point yes or no I’ve learned not just from people but we today and 2019 consider refugees I mean Brian

personally always been the case white people are also krills or they’re white people one of the things that’s very much belongs to novel in the period is you have middle class Jews being displaced and are being you know so you have the one with dogs and the doctor both of whom come from middle class backgrounds I’m not Syria today because people here exactly they have been yeah they are intelligent they are educated they have a lot of skills and abilities and again the perspective we have is very simplistic and it’s just an important reminder that actually it knows no color there’s discrimination of so many different counties and I’ll show you if you’re a refugee if you find yourself is a refugee Piper you managed to get kind of depend want your economic background maybe well this doctor has 5000 in the film the doctor has 5000 whatever suggests we didn’t mix in the currency no they just said it because of course my reviews are going to change because I’m weird the swords and there were certain sequences they were reminding me I wouldn’t be surprised it’s a long time you know when

know to be honest I think we’ll pet salts much more Cindy literate Malaya and you can pretty much take for granted that if he is Chris Marker in to play keyboards but that’s also our problem isn’t it with these directors who know so much and I’ve watched as much sitting there a lot much more tuned by the way out is it becoming fact that yeah I mean I’ve already I’ve already guilty of it already but I would make an argument for the lilius they’re bringing borders of these places up and I think they place themselves in that lineage of experimental filmmaker and that’s what’s interesting about pencil that’s what makes Paula’s films really interesting as they are generically satisfying we’ve got a melodrama you’ve got a story you can enjoy it for the two hours but this food for thought I suppose it’s that idea you know because I’m going in and I know basically nothing about the Somme you know where as you’re very familiar with and there were times when I was questioning no exactly it was the zombie riffle yeah I thought that was a reference its own of the day yeah exactly and it was very I think it was something that you could imagine somebody in the fifties or 40 just saying oh wait 20 in that world I think we can’t know is trying to fight consistency and I think that’s quite a little room there is that mixture of tiny levels so come back tomorrow time is kind of the logic of history that there’s some kind of progress and that we move forward and we leave stuff buying we’re actually dealing with the traces of a horse in Europe here and so the way which are present every port city you go to they are there what were you saying you were so at the anachronism this is then a film this is a world and which Dawn of the Dead exists but Casablanca does because there’s no way this film exists simply yeah so it replays Casablanca and the boy lets the other guy go off with a girl but at the same time and this is the pencil my point always capitalism drives it so it’s not presented as a heroic act so it’s very clear that there are economic transactions all the time it’s weird because I was wondering my feeling was there’s a moment where it shifts into genre mode and it’s the moment where the two of them are sitting on the bed and up to that point it’s been kind of you know we’ve been paying attention to those kind of contemporary politics and the raids and suddenly a narrative love story it’s almost like you decide Petzl almost decides it’s on us and it’s almost so clunky you think this is a bit nonsense where it suddenly becomes the love story and there’s and again another Maria Brown thing okay with the scene where it comes back from the war ever mr. Brown is I don’t remember his name mr. brown come back from the World War and she and he finds Maria in bed with a black – American GI and then there’s a fight and then mr. Brown goes to prison for his wife having anyway yeah now that’s see it’s almost exactly it’s not sexy but it’s very similar but it was like right we need something to keep the moon be going now because there’s a lot of the images are very pretty even though it’s late already

I think oh you’re up you’re up yes very bright very bright sunny push graffiti everywhere I mean and I do think that’s really interesting in terms of shots of Marseille and I think you could imagine a critique of the film or a criticism of the film which says actually this isn’t what more say looks like you know I mean that area where interests and his mother lived really quite no it doesn’t I mean so innocence and this was just surely our favorite bit this brings me back to my favorite bit when he’s being asked why aren’t you gonna go write about this stuff and that sort of the new German cinema again because my favorite bit of the film there’s no question is my favorite the family says oh yeah we went on a trip and we had to write an essay about it let’s go there and we’re in Italy so much that you’ve actually also spoken always deserves of Showtime that’s what the point is it you know he doesn’t want to have to make social conscience so much it doesn’t want to have to do an essay about that and so the criticism which comes out and that it’s not Ken Loach it’s not pretty enough that doesn’t look pretty old sorry my other favorite bit was he says no I don’t wanna be a writer I want to be a film and TV technician yeah and those are three very important concepts I think so not an artist but a work an engineer someone who makes make stuff work so it’s not about being an artist yes absolutely but also that you’re a technician Europe rather than think someone who was the romantic imaginary of the poet who dreams up all this stuff you’re actually working with a set materials which you have to engineer in a certain way to construct so film is in district as a kind of engineering exercise I think is yeah I think that’s very sensible I was thinking as I’ve just done year me this joint when he’s out is so telling the woman get strategize and they’re all selling narrator we should talk about this scenario as well yes we should it sort of observes that what we all felt was jammy because they’re just signing their motion so it’s to buy some girth is that what you’re saying man that the maker has decided to check on the bystander person

observing motion art appointment efficiently not yet not to as it were take a party or I may use Ken Loach his name in vain here it’s very unfamiliar not to take a kind of partisan view on this or a kind of moral stamp the air stands make a clear moral to have a clear moral position but and not the right track so the filmmaker is someone whose job it is is to make us witness these image yeah and make a scene something like the my immigrant problem described we know that make the questions around immigration see us see them afresh see them there’s something really complex that anyone can anyone anyone can attend up in the scenario it’s not us in them because the people who are looking shameful or also refugee yeah exactly it’s not like there’s a lovely scene at the start where the woman’s a street singer there he went that way you know French collaboration as it were with the security forces but what point does she become the person they’re looking for no I think that’s right and again you know they can almost anyone so there’s no understood you don’t really get any sense of why our central figure is on the run we don’t get any sense of a particular political affiliation use no real identity somebody else’s well it’s interesting this is what’s for the novels written by woman and so there’s a not a savior and as I guess who went to Mexico herself haven’t so there’s something really quite interesting and she was a member of she was closely affiliated with a common but she’s much more the figure of some writer who’s committed suicide than the central figures the bystander then becomes the bloke in there this is also a bit of a reveal this is narrated figure B then it’s revealed at the end to being a waiter and I use the words waiter deliberately there yeah I was working German that johan but the waiter is one of the kings actually on the other side of the bar so we’re all in the same space and the wait was obviously someone who was economically bound into a certain structure what he’s reliant on the refugees coming in and eating his food to keep him in a job that was a really intimately our lefty liberal positions we recognize that we are we have some shame of being bystanders but these bystanders are also people who are caught up in this history in this mess they haven’t escaped they’re not free they’re in the same car yeah they’re next this might just be a silly nerdy thing I don’t know heard significant news but I noticed at one point in the cafe their peak serve the day was for me a melon well no but everything know that the meson say yes there’s also a nod towards novel in terms of when outside the flat or the apartment waitress and his mother okay there’s a thing that says boulevards Boulevard it’s the housing estate or what we call the project whatever does tremendum afraid for those of us who are they there’s incredible attention to detail there you can’t go wrong with a petal comb you can dig away at the lease of centers you wanna and it’s always a problem because again it’s is tickling our tummies as it were he’s giving us a little a cinephile a bit of fun you know you’re noticing references and especially with an adaptation you know a lot of people say oh well the film adaptations very much stuff you know guess I’ve had patient is actually a really important thing here because in a sense Petzl is working with a novel which already exists all this stuff in the film about the stories already told it’s all fatalistic in a sense he’s cause he can’t get away from the fact as this story’s already been written and he’s kind of hamstrung that’s what I have not least there are certain Bank trees he can’t escape and then to come back to your point in a racer it’s really annoying when the narrator you’re not fine but the rate the first company thinks hold on is this gonna destroy the tone

absolutely I so then how reliable is what you’re seeing at any point before he feels it’s all in German yeah the narrator is in German which again is also very interesting because that would imply that the narrator behind the bomb a refugee and therefore also to pay attention because where they speaking French and the parts were resolved and the speaker already speaking German well that’s one of the things I have a lot of fun in investing in looking at this well if you really want to think when you’re just concentrating or making subtitles yeah it can replace a better track I mean I know the same in German contain their sound some of them obviously either said the German yeah without great I mean the film is I think totally aware of what it’s doing and who speaking war and I mean there’s probably something to do with accents as well cuz I’ll send to a figure with the speech impediment compared to the cut-glass German love the women or the dogs yeah there’s all sorts of potentials there I think which are embedded in the language you know these points you begin to think ah what time zone is this anyway so when the go is going on about Borussia Dortmund oh we have and all these bits of German he’s learn now how does he listen to the radio yeah I mean these days you’d say it was a Champions League in but then maybe from his father yes imagine you know that’s also another reference to a really terrible sorry there’s a really terrible film called the miracle of bound okay never watch it anyone please there’s maybe thousands into and it remembers Germany West Germany winning the World Cup 1954 and it’s about farther in a song relation and the son’s obsessed with football yeah you know Martha Maria Bonneville radio yeah donut you’ve done it give up cuz I was thinking you’re back oh that is so right the football pitch on the radio he’s just reworked so other things you noticed because George should what you sing cuz I yeah I’m kind of sitting all this Carlo how can I teach this the lead I’m sure there was something about like in Phoenix about him but also I notice he has this scar on his mice which makes him very distinctive and I mean it’s probably not relevant at all but you wonder what the sessions have been mirroring thank someone in this country and certainly in America that sort of person would be called a character actor is that maybe cleft palate I mean I don’t know I don’t know what I you know don’t know the scar surgery I didn’t think that it was right up to his nose to stop I wonder I don’t know the actor I’m never falling in the pool because it’d be interesting to see if that is that you know because if that’s actually a surgical intervention or some kind of wound it’s actually would actually be really interesting yeah I would agree it’s very what’s interesting is in the earlier pencil films so contemporary abilities what he’s really trying to investigate is the kind of well in Britain we do it by a David Brent in the office but in Germany they do it slightly more seriously he’s investigating the mindset of the middle manager and so all those men are very clean cuts you know smooth and Sinti been working offices and so this is quite a different take one thing you will do when you Swaney watch the other pets or thorns which are I’ll send you a list of recommended ones in order as I mean generally use aleena us okay as his general central female character she looks very much like the woman who was playing with Murray in this book very similar I don’t know the back some than any research on the trances I don’t where there is a reason why Nina hospitals looks very very similar shapes and refined okay you know almost like I wouldn’t wouldn’t say it has a type but there is a kind of in the way that Fassbender – agora unmanageable it was in all that almost all of us benders films so he has a kind of actress he works with and they have a very clear method then as well always a very clear method so it’s interesting in a sense the women would be much stronger in previous have been much more at the center of a lot of previous talk them certainly Phoenix which is about a female of course survivor Barbara which is about woman existing in the GDR again more historical material and then some of the forms which are about middle managers but also account women caught up in the neoliberal economic environment so this was a nice new one I think it tells you probably quite a lot about the 1940s in this insanity has didn’t feel able to place a female character at the center this the hero there’s a lot of calf game here on the poster will say Caprica meets Casablanca category been first published in 26 so some lioness acres will be familiar with Africa and it is yeah diminutive weirding around in massive cues a bed of people again I love the way in which that’s updated and they know it essentially it will look the same it’s just there’s a number ticking over as zeros your number comes up so category is very strong in the saviour’s imagination and obviously in Kafka it’s a man the senator of that Lasker’s camp is writing in 1913 and it’s full of male neuroses but Vegas doesn’t necessarily reflect on that when she’s writing about it’s a problem of existential drama something about their you know poster there across the road that’s not the image she would feel and watch the film that’s not the image of the man you would take away with because he looks like I am here for babies he’s bigger than the fray the venetian blinds maybe well yeah I said there is a lot of my marketing to get people in this room yes I think that I figure that’s the case we can transitory but not moving yes it’s not gonna I mean it’s interesting is it also doesn’t however maybe there is something bottom like about that that’s actually you know in the sense of being what are the motivations for him doing any of the things that he does because we never actually find out he is quite a mystery we can’t even remember what his name is because he very quickly takes yes he’s a writer who was very clear well-known identity today very much he just turns up and people say yes and to also back tomorrow when you could do that Maurice today what did you open a surveillance camera that’s the classic pets or moment as well sorry there was a bit when and actually because this is what we might move what are you saying about the non visibility I say you don’t see me anywhere you know you don’t see us anywhere we’re there with a don’t see us anywhere yeah and there’s a view which is a CCTV camera and it’s ironic and obviously irony is you don’t see us anywhere and yet were being protected you said they were always saying so you know he’s having his cake and eating it he said him in the past but he’s also having a little nod towards kind of surveillance this is what you’ll see elsewhere and in his film sees it’s for rocking rocky there’s a whole load of

yeah exactly that’s a really important way of thinking about if I’m not just as a way of mixing past and present but also to say past is coming back to us but also the things of the future were we’re already there it’s all new yeah and expose us as in this film there is nothing new is just among its the port of Casablanca it’s not a new film it’s based on an already existing stories so there’s nothing new in a ways there’s no claim towards originality and I kind of forgave it on the end and I forgave it because it was as he said as he walked out times a second important because road to nowhere is I don’t know what road to nowhere is about and it’s like one of those things that week or up with a petal petal is our own so it’s my own system you know that’s your teenage song talking heads dnews mid-eighties – no and this is it like somebody who what we would recognize as a it’s very clear depression well it’s again what’s it doing in this film and then what’s its but it’s that a meeting point for years about something coming 84 84 33 are always born 1984 oh well I mean but I think that the problem for me is it’s a song that I hear every day actually eighties it’s it’s still with us but it wasn’t there yet but yet it already was in a way it’s pre-burn enroll it speaks to the anachronism and then of course so you have it’s out of time but it’s also perfectly it’s perfectly timed I knew is gonna do that as well it was a bit though I think you know this song lasts 3 minutes 45 seconds or whatever and no it’s almost like light relief in a way it’s a bit of and then you’ve got change yes – exactly it’s the stone yet that’s why I forgave it in the airless I think he’s actually not playing with nostalgia yeah yeah remember this song from the eighties we were going nowhere then and also and obviously from my work on cars there’s no road since I loved by the way sorry this is distant chassis like them I love the scene in the car whether in taxes he always have to be where we’re pets or what kind of cards yes and normally when petals turn stars it would be someone driving some of the passages st. not looking at each other in kind of two different spaces room very much cars two spaces of separation happens world and here you have founded the romantic climate romantic things for two shots of them really tight in the car on the journey away and of course it’s all unraveling and then it becomes claustrophobic yeah many us together forget I even feel like you can’t breathe yeah cannot space with them it’s such a tight frame yes well I love you right up close them and they’re so close to each other you know they’re almost like one and say they’re so close just think finally they’re going the romantic recipe looks like there’s a release of tension and immediately there’s just a huge spike of tension yes feels almost like if it had stopped at that point it would have been quite fun Hualien or something where it would have sort of done a food documentary – a go through that with him yeah that’s why I’d say about the film is filmmaker as well is that he wants you to I mean again I think he’s learnt this from Fassbender the emotional response this oral response is part of the political experience of cinema that you are actually having an emotional responding that this is it’s not just about you know you have going through something there while you’re watching and working with those emotions and do something with those emotions or happen through them being forced exactly uncomfortable I mean it’s really uncomfortable moment in that car and that’s why I love it because it’s different again I’ve never seen them shoot a car seem like they’re always about people like non-communicative or because if you’re driving a car then you’re focused on repairing a car right the person is in there working there’s the tree and as well which I have a colleague and I’ll not mention who works on all of us memo realization in German cinema and German literature and her interest in that film will be in fantastic you have refugees in well I won’t call them cattle trucks but in non-standard accommodation but that’s non-standard accommodation looks just like an empty office absolutely stunning you know you’re expecting because you’ve known if you think about German history and people transported on trainings and there are obvious kind of resin oozes then those resonances are made clear fantastically at that bit we said what’s the last thing you wrote and he says this monologue about being on the way to hell or already in hell and at that point petrol goes back to the lungs and these are obvious kind of gestures so without showing without telling gestures towards the broader things happening in Europe from this point onwards but I just was really fantastic choice to represent that travelling space as a kind of empty office yeah space let’s see all you see is the plug on the wall you know this is like all the accouterments of a kind of humanoid space

look at the inhumane conditions under which these people are traveling it’s saying look at the inhumane conditions

like these little box space which are our spaces in which we live in time that windows exactly and then you open the window a bit under your court and there’s someone dying they reminded me of my memory might be ever seen Michael Winterbottom film in this world planet Ricky and Steve who’ve been going around in their car one of the things that women Pottermore for us this is not really okay when they go on the trip so there’s first time when the trip was by drying Lake District have you ever seen it I have seen no they should watch it because it’s really interest there’s basically two tosses playing up to their personality their TV personalities but what went what Enfocus they go around and they eat in various places and what woods what and then make sure he does is he shows you know the food is made so Winterbottom is very aware of the fact that there is labor in boring as labor always invisible in all this kind of celebrity Nancy’s consumption when one makes a film about and it’s pseudo-documentary well I mean that’s obviously a very dodgy term I shoot lead over that one more but its handheld cameras and traveling with two kids making their way from a shower so the East Pakistan all the way through to the Channel Tunnel and then under the Channel Tunnel to London following this kid and you know people dying in incarceration lorries as what’s the watch there’s probably like 20 years old there’s something no it just reminds us how this problem and I use the word problem in inverted commas how this situations actively with us for a long long time there’s no part of our accepted normality it reminded me of that and I think if you want to do there are some I mean the novel is absurd because this idea that this woman is running around and seeing the Mexican Consulate and then also somebody who are not being put your husband’s got a funny sweet see penny you’ve got to kind of this is something fairytale like and he’s actually big into his fairy tales as well anything else Paula that struck me I think that’s exhausting enough but no it was a really great experience Walter I think it was it was good to go and watch it because humming was a senemo very much this year that’s what all we though it was just nice to have a reminder that actually I do quite like German cinema whether it’s New York just German or whatever and I haven’t seen any for quite a long time and I’ve always got something out of it every time I have so it was nice to to be reminded of that yeah I don’t get cinema or not because of the nature of the structure of my life and the only things I get to go other things which other people be happy this actually I’m gonna say this this is like in 1987 YouTube brought out the Joshua Tree okay now over the previous three years I’ve got as embarrassing as we’re back in the road to Noah over the previous three years I’ve got completely into the previous albums by this band so when their new album came out it was like a special treat you know you go down and the first time you listen to it it’s really something special and ever since then the Joshua tree comes rattling um I don’t know point onwards a new release for now you – oh snap it now then appears on your bloody iPhone without you want to well I think about Petzl is he’s still making films there’s no drop in quality once these are really that’s pretty rare yeah it’s yeah he’s still still hitting the you’ve been listening to audio visual cultures with me Paula Blair and my very special guest Simon Ward this episode was recorded and edited by polar bear and the music is common ground by air tone licensed under creative commons attribution 3.0 and available for download from ccmixter org if you like the show and find its content useful and interesting please help cover production and distribution costs by donating to paypal dot me forward slash pei Blair or libera Paycom /p e a Blair episodes are released every other Wednesday please do read share and subscribe on your chosen listening platform as this helps others find the show for more information visit audio-visual culture store wordpress calm and follow av cultures on Twitter and Facebook thanks for listening and catch you next time