Fresh Air

Airs Weekdays at 11 am and 11 pm

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues. Host Terry Gross is known for her fearless and insightful interviews with prominent figures in American arts, politics and popular culture.

Distributed by: NPR, Produced at: WHYY

Although growing old is the most common of experiences, there are surprisingly few good films about old age. Maybe because there's no audience. The young are too busy being young to be interested in those with gray hair. And the people over 50 who I know shudder at the thought of watching comedies about cute bucket-listers or dramas where the aged spend their days grappling with disease, death and loss.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHITE CHRISTMAS")

ROSEMARY CLOONEY: (Singing) I'm dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used know.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It was a year when most of us stayed away from movie theaters, but it wasn't a year without movies. While the major studios largely set their sights on 2021 (and a few released their big titles on streaming services), it was an unsurprisingly terrific year for independent narrative films, feature-length documentaries and pictures of all types and genres from overseas. Here are the 10 that meant the most to me, arranged, per my annual tradition, as a series of themed pairings:

The pandemic redefined television in 2020 — and the evolution isn't over. Production of scripted TV series has stalled or been delayed and redesigned because of health and safety concerns, and major movies and small-scale independent films and documentaries are now premiering in our homes, on television. Streaming services have become so prominent they rival, and often dwarf, the broadcast networks with their offerings.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHOEBE BRIDGERS SONG, "CHRISTMAS SONG")

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The fight against COVID-19 entered a new phase this week as American health care workers started getting vaccinated — the first in what will be a massive effort.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

British MC and actor Riz Ahmed is used to rapping and reciting lines, but he had to learn a new form of communication for his latest film.

In Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed plays a drummer who goes deaf. To prepare for the role, Ahmed immersed himself in deaf culture and worked with a deaf advocate to learn American Sign Language. He says the experience changed the way he thought about communication.

This year that was like no other ended up making me respond to its music in a way I never had before. The pandemic, along with unprecedented political and social upheaval, made the notion of pleasure both more intense and more open to question.

There was a general feeling among almost everyone I know that we didn't just want to be transported by new music — we needed to be transported: The escapism of art was one of the few things we had control over.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

John le Carre, the author whose spy novels were praised for transcending genre fiction and simply being great literature, died Saturday of pneumonia. He was 89. Many of his books have been adapted into films or TV series, including "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," "The Little Drummer Girl," "The Constant Gardener" and "The Night Manager."

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Farewell Amor begins with a scene at JFK Airport, where a man greets the wife and teenage daughter he hasn't seen in years.

With only a few weeks until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, President Trump still won't admit defeat. White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who has reported on Trump over the past 20 years, sheds light on his refusal to concede.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Photographer Bob Gruen spent decades capturing the lives and performances of rock stars of the '60s, '70s and '80s, including John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner — and many more.

Gruen put in many hours backstage, in studios and on the road, sometimes doing drugs and drinking until dawn with his subjects.

"I carried a little flask of cognac in my camera case. It was part of my equipment. That's the way it was in the '70s," he says. "I don't know how I survived, because I crave peace and quiet — but I actually thrive in chaos."

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