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Taylor Gaines and a rotating cast of co-hosts talk "Survivor," Television, Movies, Podcasts, and the Latest in Pop Culture.

Tag: Incendies

Denis 2049: Link Roundup

If you missed any of our series on Denis Villeneuve, you can find links to all of our podcasts and writings in this post.

Without further ado:

Podcast Episodes

1) Director Deliberations (52:39)

2) August 32nd On Earth (38:55)

3) Maelstrom (27:13) 

4) Polytechnique (44:22)

5) Incendies (42:24)

6) Prisoners (54:06)

7) Enemy (52:50)

8) Sicario (49:55)

9) Arrival (1:02:35)

10) Bonus: Blade Runner (30:06)

 

11) Blade Runner 2049 (1:01:02)

Fireside Chats

1) August 32nd On Earth

Taylor: I’ve never seen a premise quite like this before. Does this happen often? Have any of your friends ever approached you asking to help them conceive a child in the desert? Would you do this for any of your friends?

Sam: The short answer is yes, of course I would take my friend to the desert to impregnate her. But only if we were married … (Keep reading here…)

2) Maelstrom

Taylor: Um, Sam? This movie was in French. I don’t speak French.

Sam: I speak French just fine, but remember, Taylor, this movie is French-Canadian. And in that field I can only speculate. (Keep reading here…)

3) Polytechnique

Taylor: I felt like I was witnessing something impossible, the act of witnessing it ensuring that I couldn’t deny what was happening right in front of me. A contradiction that I can’t justify but won’t back down from. It was surreal. I don’t think I’ve ever been so compelled and disturbed and haunted by a movie all at once.

Sam: “Polytechnique” is one of those movies – “Schindler’s List,” “Manchester by the Sea,” Villeneuve’s own “Prisoners” – that gladly asks you to pay money to get punched in the throat. It hurts to watch this movie. It’s gut-wrenching and brutal and the longest 80-minute movie I’ve ever seen.

I loved it. (Keep reading here…)

4) Incendies

Sam: It represents what he thinks about what he’s portraying. He believes, I think, that the world is dark and terrible, but not without hope, love and people fighting break cycles of anger and the systems that oppress them. Or, I don’t know, maybe he’s just into incest.

Taylor: I think this is a really good point. He often presents worlds that make no sense, that would make anyone question their existence and purpose and whether anything really matters. By the end, though, nearly without fail, he presents them with a way forward. A way to keep going. It may not be definitive or solve everything (or anything!), but it shows some optimism. And that gives me some hope, too. (Keep reading here…)

5) Prisoners

Taylor: This is such an obnoxiously bad opinion that I don’t even know where to start. Maybe he just wanted people to think, “Wow, what a bold take! He must know something I don’t!” If I was younger, I might have fallen for this, but facts are facts. If you think “Prisoners” is Denis’ seventh-best movie, you should not be allowed into the theater for “Blade Runner 2049.”

Sam: If Melissa Leo and her whack-ass husband kidnapped me, pumped me with some psychedelic Welch’s grape juice, put me in a basement, and said, “Here you go, finish this book of puzzles and you can go home,” and the last page said, “Explain how ‘Prisoners’ is Denis’ seventh-best movie,” I’d happily rot under that 1972 Chevy Vega.

And that’s really what “Prisoners” is about, isn’t it? (Keep reading here…)

6) Enemy

Sam: …let’s try on a couple:

  • Spider Number One: The spider on the plate. At the beginning of the movie, Actor Gyllenhaal goes to the strangest speakeasy in Toronto, in which women step on spiders served on stainless-steel, beautifully-crafted serving dishes. If this isn’t symbolic of the existential threat posed by women taking over the culinary industry, I don’t know what is.
  • Spider Number Two: The spider with long legs walking slowly over the city, careful not to step on any of the sharp buildings. This is clearly Denis’ ode to waking up in the middle of the night and gingerly walking to the bathroom when you can’t see what’s on the floor.

What spiders am I missing?

Taylor: You left out a hugely important spider.

Wife Spider. (Keep reading here…)

7) Sicario

You won’t believe who we got to write this one for us. Go read it.

8) Arrival 

Taylor: Tell me I’m wrong.

Sam: You’re wrong.

Taylor: Okay. Good talk.

Sam: No, listen. Renner is…(Keep reading here…)

9) Blade Runner 2049

Taylor: Your well-founded concerns about the LAPD looking the other way on serious child labor crimes while also sending officers to other states notwithstanding (though, trust me, I also find this deeply concerning), I think it’s time we get to the nitty-gritty: Tell me your thoughts on Jared Leto, and give me your guess for what planet his character is from in this movie.

*dives into bunker, covers ears*

Sam: I don’t want to guess irresponsibly about the behind-the-scenes decisions that led to casting Leto as the titular villain (maybe Denis was trying to impress his 14-year-old stepdaughter?), so I won’t get into the why on Earth was this decision made discussion but will try to only discuss his on-field performance.

I’ll start by trying to answer your question: I have no idea what planet Wallace is from, but I’m guessing it’s a world a lot like Earth except that it is inhabited by blind humanoids who are deeply philosophical, malicious, and don’t read scripts. Leto for sure showed up on set without having seen the original “Blade Runner” or having read anything but his own lines.

He definitely thinks…(Keep reading here…)

Fireside Chats: ‘Incendies’

For each movie in the “Denis 2049” series, Taylor and Sam will sit down and bounce some thoughts off each other, off-mic. Their brilliant minds will unleash many words. Make of them what you will. This time: “Incendies.”

Taylor: This is a movie about math.

I have questions about this movie’s math.

How could the mother have had a son that could be old enough by the time she was in prison to be her torturer and also her son? How many years pass during this movie? This is confusing and unclear (and I think I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it because it’s disgusting).

Also, can 1 + 1 = 1? Can it??

We both studied majors in college – journalism, telecommunications – that dealt with math super often, so I feel like we should be experts on this subject.

What say you? How do you even begin to unpack this?

Sam: I have only one theory about how one plus one could equal one.

Theory One:

In a situation in which the word “half” is presupposed or is unnecessary to clarify. For instance, if I wake up and there’s half of a dead fish in my bedroom and he’s narrating a movie to me, I’m gonna run out of the room screaming, “Help! Help! Someone help me, there is a fish in my room!” I don’t think it would add to anyone’s understanding if I said, “There’s half a fish in my room.” That would be more information than necessary. Then suppose that later on in this same scenario, let’s say the next day, I awoke and the other half of the fish was sitting on my desk. I would be like, “WHAT IS GOING ON, another fish??” when in reality, it comes from the same fish. It would be a fish in my room, then a fish in my room, with the total equaling one fish.

Then there’s Theory One:

If I sit down for dinner and eat an entire meal’s worth of food, decide I’m still hungry, and eat another meal’s worth of food, I’m not gonna say I had supper twice. It’ll just be one big meal. One meal plus one meal is just one meal.

So take Theory One and add it to Theory One, and you’re left with just one conclusion:

Math is a fantastic tapestry of mystery in which nothing is definite and almost everything is subjective.

What’s not fantastic – and pretty illegal – is incest. I feel like if you squint, you can actually see a hint of incest in this movie. Did you catch a little interfamilial relation in this?

Taylor: If by squint you mean, “become faced with the hard, cold reality of a horrifying world in which a war-torn country leaves outspoken women behind bars and young boys as hardened war criminals, forcing you to shield your eyes from the horror because nothing makes sense and everything you thought you knew was wrong” then yeah. I noticed.

Unless you’re referring to the brother and sister being incestual in their own way. Does the chain actually remain unbroken? Is the cycle undefeated? Evidence!

  1. They fight at the beginning. (I hear couples do that.)
  2. They sit on a bed together at one point. (I was always taught you should never be in the same room as a girl, so.)
  3. It runs in the family. (Is that how this works?)
  4. I don’t feel like doing this anymore and it makes me feel gross, and if it makes me feel gross, it must be true.

What were we talking about?

Oh, Villeneuve. I wanted to bring up something during this chat: The way that he ends his movies.

It seems to me that, contrary to the majority of the running time in his movies, Villy is actually an optimist. Each movie so far (outside of maybe “August 32nd”) is crushingly depressing and horrifying in one way or another up until pretty much the last second. I’m sure we’ll talk more about this is we continue working through his IMDb page, but I find this fascinating.

Is this an insight into his mind? What do you think Villeneuve’s worldview is?

Sam: He is rather dour, I have to say. So far, we’ve seen:

  1. A movie in which a man is friend-zoned literally to death
  2. A woman murdering not just a fish but a fisherman
  3. A school shooting
  4. Incest, child killing, tattoos

But you’re right! Somehow, he brings it around each time. I do believe this is an insight into Dilly’s mind.

You can see it visually in every movie. Just look at the way he colors his films. The first, “August 32nd,” is his lightest movie. It pops with greens and bright yellows, while “Polytechnique,” his most serious, is bleak and colorless. Everything in between uses deep blacks and dark darks that show how low the lows are going to be and how much the tragedy is going to really hurt. He mixes all of that with solid, rich, light, warm colors that feel hopeful and comfortable.

It represents what he thinks about what he’s portraying. He believes, I think, that the world is dark and terrible, but not without hope, love and people fighting break cycles of anger and the systems that oppress them. Or, I don’t know, maybe he’s just into incest.

Taylor: I think this is a really good point. He often presents worlds that make no sense, that would make anyone question their existence and purpose and whether anything really matters. By the end, though, nearly without fail, he presents them with a way forward. A way to keep going. It may not be definitive or solve everything (or anything!), but it shows some optimism. And that gives me some hope, too.

You know what else gives me hope? That the rest of Villy’s movies are in my native tongue! It’s time for all English, all the time (except for Sicario probably)! Speak American, baby!

Sam: Yooooo, we’re done with French movies! I hate to say it, but I think I’m ready to return to the English language and the big-budget, shallow American works it spawns. Time for big explosions and blockbusters. What light, raunchy 88-minute American film is our reward for wallowing through 10 hours of these painful and taxing stories?

Oh.

“Prisoners.”

Villeneuve 2049 Power Rankings:

1. “Polytechnique”

2. “Incendies”

— Gap —

3. “August 32nd”

4. “Maelstrom”

Next up: “Prisoners.”

Denis 2049: ‘Incendies’

Taylor Gaines is joined by Sam Hensel for the fourth episode of the Denis 2049 series. This time, they talk about “Incendies,” the story of twins finding the truth about their mother’s past. They cover everything, including Denis’ gradual improvement, his sensitivity to violence and the bizarre twist.

Next time: “Prisoners

You can find all of our previous podcasts on our website, OnTheIslandPodcast.com and on iTunes. Subscribe, rate, and review!

As always, thanks to Levi Bradford for the theme song. You can find his music at poblano.bandcamp.com.

Find the companion written piece here.

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