A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #40: Star-Spangled Paranoia

Ah, 2021. We expected so much of you, but you decided to one-up your predecessor. The events of the last week have made John Frankenheimer’s paranoia classic The Manchurian Candidate (1962) look surprisingly sedate – who needs one sleeper agent brainwashed by hypnosis into becoming a terrorist when you can mobilise thousands via Twitter and distorting reality? Nonetheless, The Manchurian Candidate retains all of its unsettling potency. Join Julie, Sam and Matt – and quite possibly exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party – as they talk about Frankenheimer’s seminal film and why it still works so well. (One part of the answer is obviously Angela Lansbury.) So, instead of passing the time with a game of Solitaire, why don’t you join us as we explore not only this classic film of political and personal paranoia but the rich seam of paranoia that goes through American cinema?

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast Christmas Special 2020

2020 is almost over, but not before we go into the strangest festivities in decades. Are many of our listeners in lockdown? Will they be able to celebrate with their families, or will they be sitting down for a Christmas dinner with very few, if any, to join them? Everyone at A Damn Fine Cup of Culture hopes that you out there are safe, healthy and able to have a few days of cheer – and, we hope, some damn fine culture to keep you well. For this year’s Christmas Special, we talk about the culture that has helped us stay sane in 2020 – from books to board games, from Hollywood pastiches to silent movie classics. Join us once again, and expect a few surprises along the way. Wishing everyone happy holidays, and may 2020 give us a bit of respite after this most exhausting year!

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #39: Bond – Nobody does it better (or worse)

2020 turned out to be No Time For Bond – but our intrepid cultural baristas won’t let that stop them! In the absence of a new instalment in the long-running James Bond franchise, Julie, Alan and Sam – our resident expert in All Things Bond – talk about what the series has to offer: the best and the worst, the shaken and the stirred, the Goldfingers, GoldenEyes and Golden Guns. Who’s their favourite Bond? What’s the film they like least? Are the Bond movies actually good? And does Bond, James Bond still have a place in the 21st century, where the global threats are of a very different kind? P.S.: Listen out for the Bond-appropriate pre-credit sequence! (Okay, it’s not as if you could miss it, seeing how it’s right at the beginning.)

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #38: It’s (a)live!

At A Damn Fine Cup of Culture, our wheelhouse is mostly films, TV series, books – the damn fine cups of culture that you can enjoy at your own leisure, in your own time, at the turn of a page or the push of a button. There is an entirely different world of culture out there, though: live performance. Join Julie, Matt and our guest for November, Nicolette Kretz from AUAWIRLEBEN, the theatre festival happening annually in Bern, Switzerland, as we talk about why we love live performance, what some of our favourite live performances have been, and how 2020 – the year of COVID-19 – has been an opportunity for many to rethink what makes a piece of culture live.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #37: Cinéma mon amour

Cancelled blockbusters, social distancing, mask requirements: even in places where movie theatres are still open, it isn’t easy for cinemas in 2020 to keep audiences coming back. Here and there, though, there are cinemas that are weathering the pandemic and providing a meaningful cultural and social service, giving a home away from home to cinephiles. One of these cinemas is the Cinema REX in Bern, Switzerland (https://www.rexbern.ch/), which reopened in summer and has been showing indie premieres, world cinema and retrospectives. Join us as we talk to our guest, Martina Amrein from Cinema REX, as we talk about running a movie theatre in 2020 and the key importance for cinemas of finding a niche for yourself.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #36: Marilyn Monroe – The Icon, the Movies, the Legacy

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e32020 being the year in which you make plans only to see them dissolve, we originally had a different topic and guest planned for the September episode – but Robert Burns had it right after all… which means we took the opportunity to bring back Alan and talk about one of the greatest icons of Hollywood cinema: Marilyn Monroe. Join us in a trip through Marilyn’s filmography, as we wonder what could have become of the actress if her life hadn’t cut tragically short.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #35: Soderbergh’s Schizopolis, Schizopolis’ Soderbergh

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3For our August episode, we welcome special guest Daniel Thron (of Martini Giant) to talk about what may be the least-watched film of Steven Soderbergh’s directing career: Schizopolis. How does this surreal, experimentalist and often downright silly comedy about doppelgängers, lifestyle cults and failures to communicate fit in the director’s oeuvre? How does Schizopolis point the way to Soderbergh’s later career? And how do Netflix, COVID-19 and TikTok come into the conversation?

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d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3For our August episode, we welcome special guest Daniel Thron (of Martini Giant) to talk about what may be the least-watched film of Steven Soderbergh’s directing career: Schizopolis. How does this surreal, experimentalist and often downright silly comedy about doppelgängers, lifestyle cults and failures to communicate fit in the director’s oeuvre? How does Schizopolis point the way to Soderbergh’s later career? And how do Netflix, COVID-19 and TikTok come into the conversation?

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #34: Xeno-who? The Alien franchise

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3For our July podcast, we’re heading to space, where no one can hear you podcast: join Julie, Matt and special guest Alan for a chat about Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic Alien and all the wacky hijinks that ensued, with a special focus on James Cameron’s space marine extravaganza Aliens and the much maligned third film and David Fincher’s motion picture debut, Alien³. Strap in and get ready for incisive, acid-dripping, chest-bursting discussion that will wake you from hypersleep in a jiffy!

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d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3For our July podcast, we’re heading to space, where no one can hear you podcast: join Julie, Matt and special guest Alan for a chat about Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic Alien and all the wacky hijinks that ensued, with a special focus on James Cameron’s space marine extravaganza Aliens and the much maligned third film and David Fincher’s motion picture debut, Alien³. Strap in and get ready for incisive, acid-dripping, chest-bursting discussion that will wake you from hypersleep in a jiffy!

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #33: The Good, the Bad and Alfred Hitchcock

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3We have had a certain Norman Bates over for a fresh, hot cup of culture before, but this is the first time we’re dedicating an entire episode to the Master of Suspense himself – and, more specifically, to good gals, good guys and villains in three films by Hitchcock. From Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains and the ambivalent love triangle of Notorious to the wild ride and camp masculinities of North by Northwest and the shattered allegiances and mummy issues of Psycho (but then, it’s mother issues all the way down in Hitchcock, isn’t it?), join us – and our guest for June, Sam – for a chat about the good, the bad and Alfred Hitchcock!

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d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3We have had a certain Norman Bates over for a fresh, hot cup of culture before, but this is the first time we’re dedicating an entire episode to the Master of Suspense himself – and, more specifically, to good gals, good guys and villains in three films by Hitchcock. From Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains and the ambivalent love triangle of Notorious to the wild ride and camp masculinities of North by Northwest and the shattered allegiances and mummy issues of Psycho (but then, it’s mother issues all the way down in Hitchcock, isn’t it?), join us – and our guest for June, Sam – for a chat about the good, the bad and Alfred Hitchcock!

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #32: Synecdoche, New York

d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage – but what if you turn that upside down and try to make your stage into all the world? This is what Cayden Cotard, sadsack protagonist of Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York attempts. Does he succeed? Does Kaufman’s first film as writer and director work as well as those of his scripts filmed by other directors, such as Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Is Cotard (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) relatable in his neurotic urge to make up for his lack of control in his life by means of his art, or is he what keeps the film from greatness? And, in the end, what the hell is it all about?

For this month’s journey into metafiction, Julie and Matt are joined by Eric, culture buff and contributor to A Damn Fine Cup of Culture. Get yourself some coffee, tea or whatever else keeps you afloat during these strange and trying times and join us for episode 32 of the podcast!

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d1ad56da-abce-4afe-9f45-79294aede9e3Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage – but what if you turn that upside down and try to make your stage into all the world? This is what Cayden Cotard, sadsack protagonist of Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York attempts. Does he succeed? Does Kaufman’s first film as writer and director work as well as those of his scripts filmed by other directors, such as Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Is Cotard (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) relatable in his neurotic urge to make up for his lack of control in his life by means of his art, or is he what keeps the film from greatness? And, in the end, what the hell is it all about?

For this month’s journey into metafiction, Julie and Matt are joined by Eric, culture buff and contributor to A Damn Fine Cup of Culture. Get yourself some coffee, tea or whatever else keeps you afloat during these strange and trying times and join us for episode 32 of the podcast!

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