The Compleat Ingmar #40: Fanny and Alexander (theatrical version) (1982)

So, here we are. The last of the stations on my travels with Ingmar. (Or not, as there are some epiloguy bits to follow.) The theatrical version of Fanny and Alexander, about a month after having watched the TV series in its full, 5+ hour glory, and a couple of weeks after Christmas, so close enough to the film’s natural habitat, seasonally speaking.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #112: String Quartet Kraftwerk

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Robots It was their cover of Robots I first heard. I can’t exactly remember on what radio show. An evening show in 1992, no doubt, as I sat in my teenage bedroom pretending to do homework. I was fascinated by this reimagining and resolved to wait till the end to learn the name of the artist – The Balanescu Quartet.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: The Two Nicks

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Time flies yet again: we’re already at the second trailer post of 2023 – and it begins with the classic Bong Joon-ho joint Memories of Murder, which Matt wrote about earlier this week.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #64: No movies!

For most of our podcasts, and many of our posts, A Damn Fine Cup of Culture talks about films – which makes sense, because we love cinema, but there is so much more to culture. Why is it that the conversation usually defaults to movies? And why don’t we talk about other media more often? In our first episode of 2023, Julie, Matt and Sam decide to amend this and to talk about the other damn fine cups of culture they’ve enjoyed recently that didn’t show on a big screen. Sam’s brought along three books – And the Band Played On (1987) by Randy Shilts and When We Rise (2016) by Cleve Jones, two non-fiction books about the the LGBT activism of the 1970s and 1980s and the AIDS epidemic in the US, and Swiss Book Prize winner Blutbuch (2022) by Kim de l’Horizon (which is currently only out in German, but is set to come out in English in 2023). Matt talks about two streaming series he very much enjoyed in 2022, namely Severance (Apple TV+) and Star Wars: Andor (Disney+). And yes, even when we talk about media that aren’t cinema, we don’t fully get away from the movies: Julie recommends the podcasts You Must Remember This (by Karina Longworth) and The Secret History of Hollywood (by Adam Roche) about the real stories of classic Hollywood. The book she mentions is Watergate, a New History by Garrett M. Graff.

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Criterion Corner: Memories of Murder (#1073)

I can’t remember which of the two films I watched first: Memories of Murder (2003) by Bong Joon-ho or David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac. The two films share a lot of similarities. Both are about serial murders that actually happened: the series of killings Bong’s film is about took place between 1986 and 1991, while Fincher’s film is focused on the manhunt for the Zodiac Killer, who was active in the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both are more interested in the investigation than in the killer, and in the individuals conducting the investigation (the protagonists of Bong’s film are the three police officers hunting for a rapist and murderer of women, while Fincher splits the difference between the San Francisco detectives, the journalist Paul Avery and the cartoonist Robert Graysmith). And, importantly, both films present the audience with very likely suspects to then withhold from us a confirmation that it is really this man, or that guy, who committed these murders. Much like the protagonists, we are left with a sense of frustration and unease.

This isn’t how crime thrillers are supposed to work. If we don’t know whodunnit at the end, what was the point?

And that, exactly, is the point.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder. If you’ve yet to see the film, don’t read this post but go and watch Memories of Murder. Without wanting to put down my own posts: the film is much, much better.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Ringing in the new year in style

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Welcome to the first day of 2023! Our main post this week (which, eerily, was published last year) had Matt looking back at the damn fine cups of culture he liked best in 2022, so let’s revisit some of those trailers. But first things first: Matt also wrote about four cellists and the heavy, metally things they did to Metallica in this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees, so why not start with that (even though there’s nothing trailery about it)?

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That was the year that was: 2022

The last two years did a number on everyone, and I’m definitely including myself in that: my sense of time and chronology, and especially my memory, the pandemic and the series of crises of all shapes and sizes, these have all left their traces. I have to admit: I’d find it difficult without consulting my notes to say much about what damn fine cups of culture I enjoyed most in 2022. Even with the notes I’ve made in the draft version of this post, I find it difficult to say with much confidence that I remember these things most about the year.

Nonetheless, enjoy them I did – a lot, in fact, and these are some of the things that helped me through some of the harder times in 2022.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #111: Plays Metallica by Four Cellos

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

I’ve always liked music. From an early age onwards, I played various instruments: pretty much anything with keys and anything that you had to hit with a stick or a mallet. But, as a kid and as a teenager, my musical tastes – and, really, my musical experience – were weird, and not necessarily in interesting ways. I liked big orchestral stuff, I liked film music, mostly of the Elmer Bernstein and John Williams variety, I enjoyed music that I’d heard in movies and TV series. Obviously I also listened to the pop and rock of the time, whatever was on Sky Channel first and later on MTV (which means that I associate much pop and rock first and foremost with the music videos), but I didn’t own a single album pre-CD, and even once I started buying CDs, it was almost exclusively film and TV music. My first, and for a long time my only, pop/rock album was Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell.

Which also means that as a male teenager growing up in the ’80s and ’90s I never had a heavy metal phase, and not only because I never had the hair for it.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Merry Christ(opher Lee)mas!

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

This week, Matt posted his thoughts on the TV series version of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander – but that one featured in a recentish trailer post. Then there was the Christmas Special podcast – but as that one focused on our Summer of Directors, many of the trailers that would fit best already came up in other posts this year.

Which leaves us with Sam’s Six Damn Fine Degrees, a post that oozed (or should that be ‘öözed’?) Metal – so let’s go with that…

17 times Christopher Lee was the spirit of metal | The Independent | The  Independent

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast Christmas Special 2022

It’s that time of the year again: join the gang at A Damn Fine Cup of Culture for a festive celebration and a look back at the year. In keeping with our big summer series, the Summer of Directors, we’re thinking back on the five episodes where we talked about Jane Campion, Dario Argento, Ida Lupino, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. Featuring contributions from our regulars Sam and Alan as well as this year’s wonderful guests Johannes Binotto, lecturer and video essayist, and Dan Thron of Martini Giant (who’s also had a lot to say about Steven Soderbergh and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune in the past). It’s been quite the year, but we’ve been able to enjoy many a good film, book, series, game, and even a concert or two, and obviously many good conversations about all of these things. We’ll be back soon, with more Damn Fine Cups of Culture – and in the meantime, we wish all of our listeners, and all of our guests, happy holidays!

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