Skip to main content
The Criterion Collective

The Criterion Collective

By David A Romero
Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes!

The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. www.dacenter.org/
Listen on
Where to listen
Breaker Logo

Breaker

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

The Criterion Collective Episode 14 - Burden of Dreams
Chosen by Collective member Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, Burden of Dreams (1982) is a documentary directed by Les Blank about the making of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo (1982), starring Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski. Burden of Dreams is a film that raises a set of questions. Is it a film about the artist's struggle to persevere in even the most inhospitable conditions? Or, is it about an artist who is determined to find the most inhospitable conditions, and continue filming and staging dangerous set pieces against all reason and human decency? Is Burden of Dreams about a European filmmaker aware of the legacy of colonialism and committed to preserving indigenous cultures while filming in remote parts of Peru? Or, is it about a European intentionally and unintentionally continuing to portray and treat indigenous peoples as exotic others, whose lives and labor have less value than others? Jeanne praises Herzog's passion to see the film realized and his dedication to realism as a filmmaker. She reflects on the ways the film mirrors, and differs from, another documentary featuring Herzog and Kinski, My Best Fiend. Matt Sedillo points out how a labor council stopped Herzog from filming as cheaply and as recklessly as he intended, and so, he sought scabs and otherwise un-organized labor instead. David A. Romero condemns Herzog for his megalomania in endangering so many lives, but even he is amused, and captivated, by, Herzog's soliloquies. Join us next week as we welcome poet and actor Paul Mabon (HBO's Def Poetry, Officer Lou on Brooklyn-Nine) to discuss his pick for the week: Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (2006)!
02:01:51
August 2, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 12 - Bicycle Thieves
Chosen by special guest Iliana Carter (who unfortunately had to postpone her appearance), Bicycle Thieves (1948) is the Italian neo-realist masterpiece directed by Vittorio De Sica starring Lamberto Maggiorani. Bicycle Thieves is the story of Antonio Ricci and his son Bruno, and their attempts to find Antonio's stolen bicycle; a bicycle he needs for a job that will allow him to provide a better life for his family. In his desperation, Antonio will search far and wide, both neglecting and abusing others, including his son Bruno, in the process. Jeanne explains how the various Italian dialects displayed into the film inform us of the relationship between the characters, particularly in terms of class. Matt suggests that it is not enough to lament the injustice of the world, but to record who has wronged you, and make plans to avenge one's self. David points out how the film's tale both caused, and foreshadowed, the real-life struggles of Lamberto Maggiorani, the machinist found by De Sica to play Antonio Ricci, who fell into economic hardship following the release of Bicycle Thieves. Just as sad as the poor Antonio hanging posters of the glamorous, but exploited, Rita Hayworth, onto the walls of Rome, Maggiorani's face may have been plastered on walls in anticipation of the film's release, making him, too, a symbol of fame and fortune, fame and fortune he did not truly possess. Join us next week as we are joined by Iliana Carter to discuss a film of her choosing. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:41:42
July 19, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 11 - The Princess Bride
Chosen by special guests Stephanie and Amaya Spicuzza (producer and star of Night Rain, respectively), The Princess Bride (1987) is a fantasy romance comedy directed by Rob Reiner starring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes. A grandfather reads his grandson a book that he used to read to his son, and that his own father once read to him. The story is the tale of true love, of revenge, of genteel contests to the death, and of unlikely friendships. Jeanne talks about Vizzini, a character who isn't nearly as smart as he thinks he is; reflecting upon her own encounters with a few men who reminded her of him. She also shares that the phrase, "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!" has been appropriated by some macho men in real life who either don't know of its origin in the film, or didn't understand that it was ironic. Matt Sedillo shares that Inigo Montoya was a character who was formative to him, and in the lives of many young men, guiding their sense of nobility, the longevity of their grudges, and their sense of style. David contrasts the way he interpreted the film as a youth with the way he interprets the film now, no longer seeing the first sword fight as "so fake," but, also no longer being quite as terrified as the old woman in the courtyard booing Buttercup. Join us next week as we welcome Iliana Carter onto the show to review Bicycle Thieves (aka The Bicycle Thief)! The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:30:01
July 12, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 10 - The Battle of Algiers
Chosen by Collective member Matt, The Battle of Algiers (1966) was directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and is considered a classic of Italian Neo-realist cinema. A narrative film shot in a documentary style about the struggle of Algerian independence, The Battle of Algiers follows members of the FLN as they wage acts of war and terror against the French colonizers. Matt calls attention to independence movements around the world and urges us to consider that in situations of oppression, it is not enough to condemn all violence, but to condemn the oppressor. Jeanne questions if a nation's independence, necessarily equals the liberation of all of its people; pointing to the current suppression of women's rights in Algeria. David points out the many ways in which the film boldly defies the traditional narrative structure: refusing to follow action hero tropes, and refusing to build an extensive backstory for its characters; that sometimes portraying people in a life or death struggle with the use of great cinematography can be enough to invest an audience in a film. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:46:43
July 5, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 9 - The Rock
Chosen by special guest Brett Herrick (Welcome to Black Rock), The Rock, is an action-adventure film directed by Michael Bay, starring Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris. Jeanne says that while she doesn't see The Rock as "pure cinema," and it doesn't pass the Bechtel test, the movie's characters are elevated by the performances of the actors portraying them. A cinematographer, Brett calls attention to many of the camera movements used, and points out how well various plot points, items, and locations were developed throughout the film. Brett also has some serious questions about Connery's hair. David points out how the film balances the super patriotism and military fetishization that Michael Bay is known for, with a script that undercuts many of those very things. Matt lets it be known that while he can enjoy a dumb film on the basis of it being a dumb film, he can't abide talking about the "dark underbelly" of the American military without saying death, murder, and mayhem are the open business of the American military. Many lines from the movie were quoted, and many laughs are had. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:44:52
June 28, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 8 - Leave Her to Heaven
Chosen by Collective member Jeanne, Leave Her to Heaven is a 1945 film noir in technicolor starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, and Vincent Price. Jeanne relates Gene Tierney's biography of triumphs and tragedies to her character Ellen Berent. Matt helps us to understand the various facets of an obsessive personality and how it effects those around them. David performs some mental gymnastics to construct a Freudian explanation of the film's events. Jealousy, lust, fear, sexism, and hate, if you were ever hoping to hear us spill some tea, this episode is a full cup of chisme from each one of us! The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:46:26
June 21, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 7 - Chimes at Midnight
Chosen by Collective member Matt Sedillo, Chimes at Midnight is a film  directed by, and starring, Orson Welles. A remix of five plays by Shakespeare, Chimes at Midnight is the story of the friendship between Prince Hal (to be King Henry V) and Lord John Falstaff. Matt brilliantly remarks that Welles "fixed" the Henry saga of plays by condensing them, and adding in the critique of power that is present in all of Shakespeare's other works, into the story, as Henry is portrayed not as a hero who must take up the crown, but as a shallow opportunist who betrays his friend. Jeanne called attention to much of the great cinematography, as well as explaining the nuances of the performances by Welles and Gielgud. The Collective talks a lot about rich kids "slumming it," and David offers up some perspective and life advice. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:43:15
June 14, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 6 - Rashomon
Chosen by special guest, producer/director/writer John Cantú (music arrangement, Us),  Rashomon (1950) is a crime thriller about the relativity of truth. It is a murder mystery that leaves us with more questions than answers. Like the priest and woodcutter at the Rashomon gate, we may ask ourselves: can we trust anyone if we know that all people are liars? How can we ever know the truth? Is Matt the woodcutter or the commoner? Are Jeanne and David fools hoping to rescue babies? John breaks down how moral relativisim can act as a cover for the misdeeds of the powerful and as a way to quell discontent. The episode is longer than the movie, so you know it's good. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:54:34
June 7, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 5 - Gilda
Chosen by special guest Paul K. Brooks (Talking Pictures podcast), Gilda (1946) was directed by Charles Vidor and stars Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. Gilda follows Johnny Farrell, played by Ford, a gambler and con man who runs into Ballin Mundsen, played by George Macready, a mysterious hotel and casino owner in Argentina. Johnny talks his way into managing the casino and everything is going great until his ex-lover Gilda, played by Hayworth, shows up as his boss' new wife. Will Johnny and Gilda be able to keep their hands off of each other? How similar are the feelings of love and hate? In this episode Matt does his best hair flips, Jeanne explains how this film both fits into and defies the conventions of Noir, and Paul and I debate whether this movie is sexy or not, and if so, just how sexy it is. On the more serious side, this episode is also marked for its important discussion of Rita Hayworth's life, and how it relates to the film, and the perceived roles and opportunities of women in the 1940s. What has changed? What has remained the same? The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:46:30
May 31, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 4 - Sweet Smell of Success
Chosen by special guest Doug W. Jacobs (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Sweet Smell of Success was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and stars Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster. Set in the seedy world of New York's entertainment industry, Sweet Smell of Success follows the climb to fortune and glory of one slippery press agent Sidney Falco (Curtis), and the dirty work he performs for his sometimes boss, sometimes ally, and sometimes enemy, "The Eyes of Broadway" J.J. Hunsecker (Lancaster). Will Falco succeed in his schemes, or will he and Hunsecker both fall prey to the folly of their pride and ambitions? A student of the film's director, Alex Mackendrick, at CalArts, special guest Jacobs was able to share with The Collective insight he had gained into the film directly from the source. He shares with The Collective the special ways Mackendrick would think of action, story, and character. In this episode, The Collective relished the opportunity to quote lines from a film known for being endlessly quotable. Matt and David also busted out some of their best Burt Lancaster impressions. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:58:06
May 26, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 3 - The Exterminating Angel
Chosen by Collective member Matt Sedillo, The Exterminating Angel is written and directed by Luis Buñuel. The Exterminating Angel follows the surrealist misadventures of a dinner party that the guests find themselves unable to leave. Is this film best understood as a comedy, a survival film,  a 2-hour long episode of The Twilight Zone, or something else, altogether? Matt states it's the perfect quarantine movie. Who, or what, is the exterminating angel? Are the dinner guests sympathetic characters, or the shallow rich? What do the sheep and the bear represent? Fear not, for in the hour of greatest depression, The Criterion Collective is here to help you escape! The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes!   The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:27:17
May 26, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 2 - Lord of the Flies
Chosen by Collective member Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, Lord of the Flies was directed by Peter Brook and adapted from the novel by William Golding. Listen as The Collective ponders the big questions: is this a film about good vs evil, order vs. chaos, or is it merely a question of survival? Is Matt a "Ralph" who would become a "Jack," or a "Jack" outright? Do we, as humans, crave "Jacks" to lie to us, but give us a sense of security and purpose? How does cultural appropriation and the legacy of imperialism fit into this story?  The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:23:25
May 26, 2020
The Criterion Collective Episode 1 - The Seventh Seal
Chosen for the debut episode by Collective member David A. Romero, The Seventh Seal was directed by Ingmar Bergman and stars Max Von Sydow. Widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time, listen as the Collective delves into its different character archetypes and philosophical questions. Is Collective member Matt the squire? Does Antonius Block find a way to cheat death? Does life have meaning? Is Jof someone worth saving? Listen as The Collective muses on this and more. The Criterion Collective Join poets and film lovers, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza (Night Rain), Matt Sedillo (Mowing Leaves of Grass), and David A. Romero (My Name Is Romero) as they meet each week, to form The Criterion Collective, discussing some of their favorite classic/foreign/art films. These are the films they connect with most deeply, the films that move and inspire them. They hope to inspire a new generation of cinephiles and cinéastes! The Criterion Collective is a special production by the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA. https://www.dacenter.org/ Intro and outro music, "Exploring the Inferno," by Myuu. https://www.thedarkpiano.com/
01:54:14
May 25, 2020