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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #27!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week I join Ronan Doyle and Roisín Geraghty, both fresh back from the Galway Film Fleadh. The pair talk through what they saw there, including a slate of really exciting short films (Irish and international) and the retrospective of Agnès Varda.

The big film news of the week is that Roisín has joined us to discuss the slate at this year’s GAZE Film Festival, which will be running over the August Bank Holiday Weekend in both the Lighthouse and the Irish Film Institute. It’s a pack slate, with a host of really great material – both new and old. In other news, the Dublin Feminist Film Festival announced their own slate, George R.R. Martin is coming to the Irish Film Institute as part of WorldCon, and independent Irish horror The Perished is premiering at FrightFest later this year.

The top ten:

  1. Anna
  2. Rocketman
  3. The Queen’s Corgi
  4. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  5. Aladdin
  6. Midsommar
  7. Westlife – The Twenty Tour Live
  8. Yesterday
  9. Toy Story 4
  10. Spider-Man: Far From Home

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Note: This will be be the last Scannain podcast I’m hosting for a little while. I’m taking a break to concentrate on some other commitments.

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Non-Review Review: Pavarotti

Pavarotti is pretty much exactly what one might expect from a Ron Howard documentary looking at the life of Luciano Pavarotti.

Howard is often overlooked or dismissed as a filmmaker, in large part because he never cultivated the same sort of auteur persona associated with other great American directors like Steven Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis. Indeed, it’s often quite difficult to pin down what exactly makes a Ron Howard film distinctly his own, which is something of a compliment. Howard has a versatility and adaptability that makes him one of the most enduring and successful major American film directors, with his filmography including films as diverse as Splash, Willow, Ransom, A Beautiful Mind and The DaVinci Code.

Nailing the high note.

However, there are certain recurring motifs that can be spotted in his work. In particular, Howard has something of a minor fascination with competence, returning time and time again to the idea of people who are very good at doing what they do. Some of Howard’s best films read as odes to competence, simply watching highly capable people in tense situations, demonstrating their skill and craft; Apollo 13, Rush and even Frost/Nixon. It is tempting to read far too much into this, to ask whether Howard sees something of himself in his subjects, the skilled craftsman who delivers exactly what’s needed more times than not.

This perhaps explains the shape of Pavarotti, Howard’s latest effort. It is a film that is very much interested in the how of its subject, more than the why. The film largely avoids trying to explain the eponymous tenor, and comes alive when discussing the maestro‘s technique, craft and organisation. There is a genuine appreciation of the skill and technique on display in Pavarotti, which is very engaged in the mechanics of how the singer accomplished so much of what he did – both in terms of actual performance, but also in terms of business management. The only problem is that this doesn’t leave much room for Pavarotti as a man.

Scoring highly.

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