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Podcast From the Fifth Row...

After the podcast series From the Fifth Row... presented from Cannes, journalist Cesar Majorana continues to tell beautiful and special stories of film from the past and present. The podcast is a collaboration between VPRO Cinema and Eye Filmmuseum.

Podcast From the Fifth Row... at Die Hard
Artwork Aafke Bouwman

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Cesar Majorana

The title of the podcast refers to Cesar's favourite row in the cinema: on the fifth row you are close to the action, but you also have the overview to see what is happening around you. From the Fifth Row... is therefore not about the latest film news, but about (largely) timeless stories. Contemplative, investigative and surprising.

In episodes of 20 to 30 minutes, Cesar Majorana tells one or two special stories of film, from the genesis of a classic and the oeuvre of a maker to the essence of a film festival. Cesar starts each episode with a question and searches for an answer through interviews, reports and archive fragments. In this way, he takes you to the heart of the action. He makes a series of 1 to 4 episodes 3 to 4 times a year.

From the Fifth Row... at Die Hard

Teaser

In a festive special of On the Fifth Row..., Cesar Majorana gets involved in the discussion about action classic Die Hard: is it a Christmas movie or not? And what difference does it make? He talks with a meme expert, the biggest Die Hard fan on earth, and one of the screenwriters of the film.

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The ultimate Christmas movie?

Every December the question is asked again: is Die Hard (1988) a Christmas movie or not? After all, the story is set on 24 December, the soundtrack is full of Christmas carols, and it snows at the end (sort of). But on the other hand, all the violence, swearing and one-liners like 'Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!' are not really family-friendly. For a number of years now, the debate has mainly revolved around memes and has spawned an entire industry of Die Hard merchandise, from Christmas sweaters to a children's picture book.

In a special episode of the podcast From the Fifth Row..., Cesar Majorana puts an end to the discussion about the action classic.

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Bonus material: Steven E. de Souza about Die Hard

For our Christmas special From the Fifth Row... at Die Hard, we spoke at length with Steven E. de Souza, one of the two screenwriters of the 1988 action classic. Because it was such a rich and special conversation, we decided to make a longer version of it and publish the interview as bonus material. In the interview, he talks about the casting of Bruce Willis and the countless problems on the set, which he had to solve under enormous time pressure.

Haven't listened to the Christmas special yet? Spoiler alert! Make sure to do that before you start this bonus episode.

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From the Fifth Row... in Cannes

Teaser

In three twenty-minute episodes, Cesar Majorana takes the listener behind the scenes of the biggest, most important film festival on earth. Especially for film fans who’ve never been to Cannes, but are crazy curious about what goes on there.

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Episode 1: The first edition of a new era

This year is set to be a strange one for the festival, whatever happens: the coronavirus means only half the usual number of guests will be attending, many restrictions are still in place and the film world is still engulfed in crisis. But this isn’t the first time Cannes has faced setbacks: the very first edition was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II, and in 1968 the festival was closed down by striking filmmakers.

Cesar will talk with podcast guests including Mark Cousins, the Scottish documentary filmmaker who has dedicated a special episode of his series The Story of Film to the pandemic. Cousins will also be in Cannes with his documentary on Jeremy Thomas, an influential film producer who has seen the festival change over recent decades.

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Episode 2: The flops from Sean Penn and Lars von Trier

Cannes is the biggest film festival in the world, but for filmmakers, it can be hell on earth. One of the most legendary flops in the main competition was Sean Penn’s The Last Face (2016). This could have meant the end of Penn’s career as a director, but surprisingly enough he is returning this year with a new film, again in the main competition. Will this be a glorious comeback, or will history repeat itself?

Cesar discusses this with podcast guests including Eye programmer Ronald Simons, who was present at the very first screening of The Last Face in 2016.

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Episode 3: Dreaming about you own movie

Paul Joosse and Sezer Özdemir are two young filmmakers dreaming of a stellar career, but starting out on the very bottom rung of the film ladder. They are heading to Cannes with an ambitious plan: to present their first feature film there in 2022. Sezer (Mister Universe Turkey 2018) once attended the festival as a model, but for Paul, this is the first time.

Cesar follows the pair on their big adventure and tries to help them find the right parties to go to and the right people to pitch to. Will this festival be the first step on the road to success, or will they be overcome by the chaos?

In contrast, Cesar tells the story of young Flemish-Romanian director Teodora Ana Mihai, whose feature debut La Civil made it straight into the festival’s prestigious Un certain regard section. How is she experiencing the festival?

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Podcast From the Fifth Row

Everything about this and upcoming series of From the Fifth Row...

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The makers

The podcast From the Fifth Row... is a cooperation between VPRO Cinema and Eye Filmmuseum.

Presenter/interviewer

Cesar Majorana

Executive producer

Jelle Schot

Technical and editing

Frithjof Kalf

Producers for Eye Filmmuseum

Mila Schlingemann, Ronald Simons and René Wolf

Music

Julius Jongsma

Artwork

Aafke Bouman

Production

Joyce Feijen

Commissioned by

Tibor Dekker (VPRO Cinema) and Mila Schlingemann and Lisette Ruijtenberg (Eye Filmmuseum)

In cooperation with

logo VPRO Cinema
logo Eye Filmmuseum