In this episode of the podcast, we compare two political, but not didactic, documentaries, Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s new film Boy’s State and Jean-François Caissy’s 2018 film First Stripes.
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Both films featured on the podcast, First Stripes and Boys State, are about male-driven military or military-esque environments where groupthink emerges. We also discuss how the films depict these environments as a crucible for exploring broader societal issues, including misogyny and male privilege.
This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy.
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Boys State (2020) on the podcast
Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s documentary takes us to the American Legion’s annual program where a thousand Texas high school seniors (mysteriously still divided by gender) gather to form a mock government. Over the course of a week as they go through a fast-paced mock state election, complete with platforms, speeches, and fierce competition. It’s also pretty terrifying to see the degree to which this is a popularity contest and the boys are preoccupied with policing women’s bodies and ensuring everyone has access to guns.
First Stripes (Jean-François Caissy, 2018) on the podcast
Jean-François Caissy’s verité documentary follows a group of Québécois new recruits to the Canadian armed forces. It documents the 12-week basic training boot camp. We also went deep on the film in our recent ebook on Canadian cinema, The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook. The book features an essay on the film and interviews with the director and editor. In this male-dominated environment, conformity is encouraged, and straying from the norm is punished.
Read Brett’s review.
Show notes for Boys State and First Stripes podcast
- Read Alex’s interview with First Stripes director Jean-François Caissy exclusively in The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook. The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook is also our inaugural ebook spotlighting the best in Canadian Cinema. It features interviews with the filmmakers and Seventh Row commentary to contextualize the films. This book is the go to resource for discovering great Canadian Cinema that may have otherwise passed under-the-radar.
- The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook also includes Justine Smith’s interview with First Stripes editor Matthieu Bouchard-Malo
Where to watch the films
- First Stripes is available to stream on the National Film Board of Canada website in Canada. It is also available on Prime in the UK and US.
- Boys State is now streaming on Apple TV+ worldwide
Roads to nowhere: Kelly Reichardt’s broken American dreams
- Purchase your copy of our newest ebook to discover how modern master Kelly Reichardt operates. Read a series of essays about each of Reichardt’s films, which examine her thoughtful, quiet portraits of everyday lives. The book also features in-depth interviews with Reichardt and her collaborators.
- Read a free chapter from Roads To Nowhere, featuring an interview with Lily Gladstone.
- Purchase your Kelly Reichardt mug, which also features a quote from her film Old Joy.
Become a Kelly Reichardt expert
Roads to nowhere: Kelly Reichardt’s broken American dreams is an ebook that will take you on a journey through Reichardt’s filmography.
It’s also the only place you can find interviews with her and all her collaborators, which together reveal Reichardt’s filmmaking process like never before.