Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: Craig McCall on Cameraman – The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff is a new documentary from director Craig McCall that explores the career of one of Britain’s most famous cinematographers.

With a career that spanned the development of cinema, taking in silent film and the advent of Technicolor he worked with luminaries such as Michael Powell, John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.

On films such as A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948) and The African Queen (1951) he established himself as a world class talent and in 2001 he became the first cinematographer to receive an honorary, Lifetime Achievement Oscar® for:

“Exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences; and for outstanding services to the Academy.”

Director Craig McCall has been working on this documentary for several years, interviewing Jack himself (who passed away last year) and various admirers including Martin ScorseseThelma SchoonmakerKathleen ByronKim HunterMoira ShearerJohn MillsLauren BacallCharlton Heston and Kirk Douglas.

I spoke with Craig recently about the film and you can listen to the interview here:


You can also download this interview as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff is out now in the UK and will be screening at the following cinemas:

  • Aldeburgh | Aldeburgh Cinema: Wednesday, 16 & Thursday, 17 June 2010
  • Bath | Little Theatre: Monday, 13 & Tuesday, 14 September 2010
  • Belfast | Queen’s Film Theatre: Tuesday, 8 June 2010
  • Cardiff | Chapter: Monday, 14 June & Thursday, 17 June 2010
  • Dartington | Barn: Tuesday, 13 July 2010
  • Derby | QUAD: Sunday, 27 June & Thursday, 1 July 2010
  • Dundee | DCA: Sunday, 4 & Monday, 5 July 2010
  • Glasgow | Film Theatre: Sunday, 6 & Monday, 7 June 2010
  • LondonRiverside Studios: Sunday, 25 July 2010
  • Sheffield | Showroom: Tuesday, 29 June – Thursday, 1 July 2010

The film will be released on DVD on July 19th from Optimum and you can pre-order it from Amazon here.

You can also subscribe to our interview podcast via iTunes or RSS feed and if you have any questions just email me at [email protected]

Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Official site
> Buy Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff on DVD from Amazon UK
Search local cinema listings at Google Movies


Carts of Darkness

Murray Siple‘s feature-length documentary Carts of Darkness follows a group of homeless men who have combined bottle picking with the extreme sport

Watch the whole thing here:

> National Film Board of Canada’s site for the film
Official site for Murray Siple

Documentaries Interviews TV

Interview: Simon Tatum on The Last Freak Show

The Last Freak Show is a short documentary directed by Simon Tatum that airs on More4 this Tuesday.

It follows a musician named Jeffrey Marshall who was born without arms or legs, his feet growing almost directly from his hips.

Curious as to whether people come to his gigs for the music or to stare at a limbless man playing the bass guitar with his feet, he decided to explore his identity as a disabled performer by exhibiting himself in ‘The World of Wonders‘ – the last remaining ‘freak show’ in America.

It is run by Ward Hall, a veteran who was on the road with the likes of Schlitzie the Pinhead (made famous by Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks), Sealo the Seal Boy, Grace McDaniels: The Mule-Faced Woman, Percilla the Monkey Girl and countless others.

Today, along with his business partner Chris Christ and 77 year-old dwarf Pete ‘Poobah’ Turhurne, he runs the only surviving 10-in-1 freakshow in America, the World of Wonders.

I recently spoke with Simon about the film and you can listen to the interview here:


You can download this interview as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

The Last Freak Show is on More4 this Tuesday at 8.30pm

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Check out Tuesday’s schedule for More4
> Discuss documentaries, shows and films at the More4 Forum
> The FourDocs section at Channel 4 and the other films showing in the First Cut strand
> The film recently screened at the Chashama Film Festival in the US
> See Jeffery Marshall play with his band Supercool and check them out at MySpace
> New York Times article from 2006 on Ward Hall and The World of Wonders show
> Find out more about the 1932 film ‘Freaks’ at Wikipedia

Documentaries DVD & Blu-ray

DVD Pick: Taxi to the Dark Side

Taxi to the Dark Side is a riveting and deeply disturbing exploration of the Bush administration’s policy on torture and interrogation.

It focuses on the controversial death in custody of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar, who in 2002 was beaten to death by US soldiers at the Bagram Air Base.

Directed by Alex Gibney (who made the 2005 documentary Enron: The Samrtest Guys in the Room) it examines in clinical detail the events surrounding Dilawar’s death, featuring interviews with the troops who caused it and contributions from many figures involved in the story.

The film is meticulous in examining the evidence and explores how the court-martialed soldiers involved were acting upon ambiguous policies that tacitly encouraged torture.

It also makes the connection between the detention tactics used at Bagram and those at Abu Ghraib.

Gibney interviewed a highly impressive array of contributors including: Carlotta Gall and Tim Golden (the New York Times journalists who helped uncover the story); Alberto J Mora (retired General Counsel of the U.S. Navy); Lawrence Wilkerson (formewr chief of staff to Colin Powell); Jack Cloonan (former FBI special agent) and Clive Stafford Smith (a lawyer who respresents detainees at Guantanamo Bay).

Back in February the film deservedly won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and is one of the most important to be released in the last five years.

Revolver have done a fine job with the UK DVD, with over 70 minutes of extra footage including:

  • Commentary: Director Alex Gibney which goes into more detail about the film and the choices he made dring the production and edit.
  • Interview with Frank Gibney: The director’s father – who was himself a US Navy interrogator during World War 2 – speaks about his experiences questioning Japanese POW’s and his anger at the current US policies.
  • Outtakes: Some of the sequences which didn’t make the final cut are very interesting, including: a sequence about a SERE school (a US ‘survival’ boot camp) who supplied methods to the US army at Guantanamo Bay; a more detailed sequence involving Tony Lagouranis highlighting the absurdity of interrogating suspects in Iraq who were innocent and Carlotta Gaul talking about Dilawar’s family and village; a sequence about a website selling a restraint chair that was used to break a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay; Clive Stafford Smith discussing his client Binyam Mohammed who was tortured in horrific ways; former US president Jimmy Carter discussing the ‘gross, unprecedented violation’ of US principles that the Bush adminstration has engaged in.
  • Alex Gibney Interviews: There are three interviews with the director on PBS Now, Link TV with Robert Scheer (editor of Truthdig) and Democracy Now (where he discusses the Discovery Channel‘s shameful decision not screen the film).

This is the trailer:

This is an interview Alex Gibney did with CBC earlier this year where he discusses the film:

Check out this longer interview David Poland did with Alex Gibney a few months back in which they discuss the film and various related issues:

Taxi to the Dark Side is out now on DVD from Revolver Entertainment

> Official UK site for Taxi to the Darkside (you can pre-order the DVD via Amazon UK)
> Taxi to the Dark Side at the IMDb
> Read other reviews of the film at Metacritic
> Watch Katie Couric of CBS News talk about the film
> Jig Saw Productions – Alex Gibney’s production company
> Listen to our recent podcast review of Taxi to the Dark Side
> If you are in or around London go and see see the film at the ICA
> Official site for the charity Reprieve

Cinema Documentaries

Trailer: Religulous

This is the first trailer for Religulous, the new documentary about religion with Bill Maher.

> Check out the official website for the film (which is very funny)
> Bill Maher discussing the film last year with Larry King on CNN
> IMDb entry for Religulous