2020 Festival Dispatch #2 Show Notes

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The second 2020 festival dispatch of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen. This covers the first week of the 2020 New York Film Festival, and features guests Forrest Cardamenis, Max Carpenter, Susannah Gruder, Jeva Lange, Chloe Lizotte, and C.J. Prince.

0:00-1:05:18 – Part One
1:05:19-2:06:11 – Part Two


  • Hosted by Ryan Swen
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Guests: Forrest Cardamenis, Max Carpenter, Susannah Gruder, Jeva Lange, Chloe Lizotte, C.J. Prince
  • Recorded in Roswell, New York City, Toronto, and Camden on Zoom H4N and Behringer Microphones and MacBook GarageBand and Audacity and iPhone and Abelton Live, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Recorded September 27, 2020
  • Released September 29, 2020
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Law of Desire
    • Stuff and Dough
    • Profit motive and the whispering wind

September 2020 Capsules

Even more than most of Tsai’s films, Days is in effect all about the body and its interaction with the surrounding environments, and while Lee Kang-sheng is deservedly getting much of the attention, it’s just as important to recognize exactly what Anong Houngheuangsy is doing here. It’s tempting to liken him to Lee in youth, and indeed at certain moments they appear quite similar even in the present day. But his situation, and thus the way he carries himself, is completely different. He lacks a Miao Tien or a Lu Yi-ching to surround him, cook for him, and govern the way he lives, and thus even when he appears more innocent, less prone to the acting out or pseudo-prankster behavior that Hsiao-kang indulged in, he has a responsibility to himself to uphold. His existence is thus one of a certain discipline, something that Kang never had and, as a result of his infirmity, can never have. It would be too much to suggest that Anong is some alternate vision, a way of life that Kang could have had, but Tsai’s renewed fascination, his fetishistic interest in the way this young, well-built man moves about his affairs, has its longing resonances that go well beyond the second half’s unity and separation. May we be able to continue watching alongside them.