The Flowers of St. Francis

Pat and I both come from protestant Christian backgrounds in the Midwest US, though certainly different expressions of even that niche, and more certainly we've landed in very different spots (to where we came from and one another) later in life. Still our divergent ideologies are ever more deeply rooted in humanism, and the Christian-themed films we've watched while Lost in Criterion that we've most loved are those with a humanist touch: Ordet, Winter Light, The Last Temptation of Christ.

Listen to any of those episodes and you'll find that I try to embrace a rather humanist interpretation of Jesus and the Gospels, one focused on the realities of the poor and oppressed in the world today. That is to say, I consider Jesus Christ to be an early humanist hero. But even setting aside Jesus himself, historical expressions of humanism are deeply tied to Christianity and we discuss the life of one of the earlier seeds of that this week with Roberto Rossellini's The Flowers of St. Francis from 1950. Along the way we talk about some of the problems with Francis, or at least his portrayal by Rossellini, and the larger Church, and for some reason discuss Pat's hatred of medieval paintings.

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Night and the City

Jules Dassin moved to Europe in 1950 to avoid the blacklist, and his first stop was London -- The City -- where he made Night and the City seemingly quite hastily -- he claims he never even read the script. Fortunately, Dassin could hit all the notes of noir in his sleep. Unfortunately, it seems like he did.

Anyway, five years ago this week we put out our very first episode which introduced us to Jean Renoir and set us on our rollercoaster of a ride. Lost in Criterion as a name was just something that fell into place back then, but five years on we're still hacking our way through an endless jungle. Sometimes we even understand what we're doing. To those of you who have been here the whole time, have come along relatively recently, or, heck, left long ago, thanks for giving us frankly surprisingly high download numbers that convinced us this was a thing worth doing. Now we're stuck doing it forever! Yay!

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Donovan Hill adds a third point of view that probably isn't "truth" as he joins us to talk about Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950). The film invented an oft-poorly-imitated film convention and introduced Kurosawa to the West. Pat says modern Japan sees it as one of Kurosawa's "classics." You know, like the rest of his films.


Continuing into the weird world that is Jean Cocteau's definition of art this week we're talking about his 1950 interpretation of the Orpheus myth, transplanted this time to the coffee shops of the French poetry scene. Moving past that setting - which is inherently a turn-off for Pat - we have a nice conversation about what is probably my favorite of the Cocteau films we've seen.

This of course isn't the first time we've seen the tale of Orpheus adapted, but we try to give Cocteau's version a fair shake. We also move away from the tedious format of last week's episode, but that doesn't mean we stop thinking Cocteau is wrong about the nature of his own work.