Episode 84: Poetic Elements of Film with Jennifer Mulligan


– this is the 2nd in a series of episodes about poetic elements in other genres. Last year at this time I spoke with local musician Subhraj Singh about the poetic elements of music. In future episodes, I’d love to speak with photographers, artists, dancers, ceramicists, sculptors, chefs, gardeners, travellers and more about the poetic elements of the thing they’re into.

now I’m speaking with local filmmaker Jennifer Mulligan, who I spoke to in an earlier episode this year about her filmmaking. now we’re going to talk about films that we find poetic and why. the idea for the series is to explore the concept of “poetic.” what makes something poetic?

I mention a great free with library card streaming service, Kanopy.com and thank David Jackson for introducing it to me. Through the following films we talk about the poetic elements of vastness, conflict, film techniques such as backlighting, fable, symbols, dreams, colour, the ordinary extraordinary, layering, the manipulation of light, making sense of our time, disorientation and pace. We cover sagas, historical romance, fantasy, horror, film noir, political thrillers, period pieces, steamy hot and ice cold films, and sci fi. We discuss the communal event of attending films in theatre.

The Tree of Life

Days of Heaven



The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

127 Hours


The Elements Trilogy (Fire, Earth, Water)


The Birds

District 9

Strange Days

Lost Highway

The Juniper Tree

Gorky Park

Winter’s Bone

Body Heat

Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse (the Gleaners and I)

The Guitar

Wings of Desire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

The Matrix

28 Days Later

Thanks to Jennifer Mulligan for coming back again to talk about the poetic elements of film, to Charles Earl for processing, to Jennifer Pederson for the intro and outro, to all of you for listening and sharing the episode. Stay tuned for our special coverage of reading series and small presses in 2022, our first being our interview with Ellen Chang-Richardson and Nina Jane Drystek of the Riverbed Reading Series at the end of January. I wish you a calm and somehow joyous new year.