I get asked probably once a week what is “the kenotic project.” That’s fair, especially since I have deliberately chosen not to explain the project. But if you read my blogs, the idea becomes a little more clear, hopefully. The “kenotic project” is about the emptying of meaning. That’s as clear of a definition as I can provide. Articles like “Guardians of the Galaxy V2 and the male gaze” and “C.S Lewis’s message for our pandemic” should give a good idea of what this project looks like in practice.
With all the time I spend in the bowels of the internet, I have found a handful of resources that, in one way or another, are contributing to the larger kenotic project. For film related podcasts, because of the sheer number of film podcasters, finding a podcast that contributes to the ‘kenotic project’ is actually quite challenging. Here are five Kenotic Project approved film podcasts.
- “Anthroposcenes Podcast: Welcome to the End of the World”
Full stop: this is the best film content in the podcast medium. “Anthroposcenes Podcast,” hosted by two PH.d candidates in literature, analyzes movies from the perspective of a dying planet. They are utterly unique in their approach and entirely consistent in their methods. Unlike larger film podcasts from the more liberal side of politics, “Anthroposcenes Podcast” reviews almost exclusively culturally significant movies. My only caveat in recommending them is sometimes the quality can be irritating, especially the lack of volume mastering, but I hope this doesn’t stop anyone from listening to them.
- “Art of the Score”
“Art of the Score” is a bit different from my other recommendations in that it’s not concerned with film, only film music. The three hosts come from a variety of places within their industry: criticism, academic, composing, etc…, which makes sure almost every perspective on the music is approached. As someone without a musical bone in my body, my ability to discuss music is limited to the way it makes me feel. “Art of the Score” gives me the language to explain why the music makes me feel a particular way.
- “ClandesTime with Tom Secker”
Tom Secker might be the only journalist in the world whose beat is the military-entertainment complex. His job? Filing FOIAs to expose government and military funding of blockbusters. His findings? Hollywood is the most effective tool of propaganda in modern political history. Some listeners may be turned off by Secker’s tactics because he will point to favorite childhood movies and declare them state propaganda, but that’s also what makes his work important. I recommend starting with “Myths on Screen – The Full Series.”
- “The Left Media Podcast”
“The Left Media Podcast” is the most friendly Marxist film podcast I have found. It’s made by people who love movies, including capitalist propaganda like “Ready Player One.” In a less friendly Marxist podcast, the hosts would review obscure foreign films and periodically malign blockbusters without any charity. The effect would be alienating. If you’re not Marxist but love something like “Star Wars,” you would probably turn off the station. Instead, their approach is more convincing and winsome. Yes, you can enjoy blockbusters… as long as you think critically about them. “The Left Media Podcast” guides that critical thinking. Unfortunately, “The Left Media Podcast” hasn’t posted an episode in almost a year. While there are some indications they will return (their Twitter is still live, occasionally tweeting about a possible return), their catalogue is diverse enough to explore in the meantime.
- “Still Processing”
The New York Times’ “Still Processing” is by far the largest and most successful podcast on this list. It’s put on by the largest and most powerful independent newspaper in the world whereas “Anthroposcenes Podcast” is the side project of two students. Either way, critics Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are two indelible voices in their field. In each episode, Jenna and Wesley analyze media they consume from their perspectives, which are informed by being queer people of color. Most of the podcasts I listed approach one film per episode, but “Still Processing” will go over things as diverse as Clint Eastwood’s “12:10 to Paris,” school shootings, and natural disasters — connecting the three together through the characteristics they share that make them significant.