Hell Is For Hyphenates – July 2018

Corrie Chen joins us to talk the films of Nora Ephron!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some key films from this month, including Haifaa al-Mansour’s gothic biopic Mary Shelley (01:37), the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary RBG (06:01), the Kiwi comedy The Breaker Upperers (10:29), and William Friedkin’s exorcism doco The Devil and Father Amorth (13:29).

They then welcome this month’s guest, writer-director Corrie Chen, and ask her about one of Nora Ephron’s favourite phrases: “everything is copy”. Is Ephron correct? Is storytelling a way of owning your life story? And has Corrie applied this lesson to her own filmmaking? (18:31)

Then, Corrie takes us through the films and career of Nora Ephron. Now best known for writing the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, and for writing and directing Sleepless In Seattle, Ephron was a prolific writer, penning articles, books and stageplays, fighting for justice when denied a writing job by her employer because of her gender, and bringing an acerbic wit to the most heartfelt of stories. We look back at what made her voice so distinct and unique, and discover a few hidden meanings threaded throughout her works. (31:13)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – June 2018

Alex Ross Perry joins us to talk the films of Alan J Pakula!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some of the films of the month, including heist spin-off Ocean’s 8 (00:50), sci-fi action flick Upgrade (03:29), Israeli drama Foxtrot (06:05), and animated superhero sequel Incredibles 2 (08:59).

Lee then chats to this month’s guest, writer-director Alex Ross Perry, about how to get your arthouse film in front of audiences in a world of ever-shifting distribution models. What kind of cast do you pursue? Can you afford to care about streaming vs cinema? What’s it like going from indie cinema to working for Disney? (16:16)

Then, Alex takes us through the career of his filmmaker of the month, Alan J Pakula. Pakula is best known for his conspiracy thrillers, particularly his much-lauded paranoia trilogy: KluteThe Parallax View, and All the President’s Men. He was also responsible for the drama Sophie’s Choice, the courtroom suspense Presumed Innocent, and the John Grisham adaptation The Pelican Brief. But he has a number of strings to his bow, making everything from Westerns to comedies to romances, and Alex takes us through his works and what it is he meant. (29:49)

Finally, Lee checks back in with Rochelle, who gives her thoughts on Pakula’s films, and they look at some of the projects Pakula was reportedly planning before his death. (56:35)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – May 2018

Abe Forsythe joins us to talk the films of Bong Joon-ho!

Rochelle and Lee look over some of the films they’ve seen this month, including Star Wars prequel Solo (00:40), Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody third collaboration Tully (06:07), serial killer biopic My Friend Dahmer (11:32), and Australian coming-of-age surf movie Breath (15:29).

Actor/writer/director Abe Forsythe joins us to talk about the challenges of making a local film for an international audience. After two very local films – the Ned Kelly comedy Ned (2003) and the Cronulla riots comedy Down Under (2016) – Abe has just wrapped production on zombie comedy Little Monsters, starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and originating Book of Mormon cast member Josh Gad, which has an undeniably broader built-in appeal. Abe talks about the different challenges of making films for wider audiences, and looks at the type of films Australia should consider making. (20:00)

Then, Abe takes us through the career and works of his filmmaker of the month, Bong Joon-ho! Bong is one of South Korea’s most popular filmmakers, making everything from monster movies like The Host to dramatic thrillers like Memories of Murder and Mother. In recent years he’s become an even bigger name, directing dystopian action film Snowpiercer and dramatic science fiction Okja. He’s an unconventional director with a unique eye, and his films are always infused with a real heart. Abe tells us which films got him hooked, why they mean so much to him, and the effect Bong’s films have had on his own. (32:39)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – April 2018

Ming-Zhu Hii joins us to talk the films of Steve McQueen!

Rochelle and Lee are joined by this month’s guest, actor and filmmaker Ming-Zhu Hii! Ming-Zhu joins us to chat about some of the key films from this month, including Steven Soderbergh’s feature-film-shot-on-an-iPhone Unsane (01:21), Rungano Nyoni’s dramatic debut I Am Not a Witch (07:40), Sally Potter’s one-act stageplay-esque The Party (14:47), and Wes Anderson’s stop motion animation Isle of Dogs (20:37).

They then look at the news that the Cannes Film Festival has banned Netflix films from playing in competition. Is Cannes turning its back on the changing nature of cinema, or helping to preserve its traditions? (27:10)

Then, Ming-Zhu takes us through the films of British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen. McQueen is best known for his feature films Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), and 12 Years a Slave (2013), all of which received high critical praise, and the latter of which won the Oscar for Best Picture. But McQueen had a prolific career before he entered the world of feature films, winning the Turner Prize for his art, as well as making short films, video installations, TV commercials, music videos, and much more besides. Ming-Zhu talks about how she first discovered McQueen’s work, and what it means to her. (35:48)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – March 2018

Noah Segan joins us to talk the films of Dennis Hopper!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some of the key films from this month, including Steven Spielberg’s pop culture paean Ready Player One (00:46), Aki Kaurismäki’s wry Finnish comedy-drama The Other Side of Hope (05:49), Ruben Östlund’s wry Swedish comedy-drama The Square (08:08), Armando Iannucci’s wry Russian comedy-satire The Death of Stalin (11:51), and Garth Davis’s non-wry Biblical drama Mary Magdalene (14:32).

We’re then joined by this month’s guest, actor Noah Segan! Noah talks about what it’s like to go from being a fan of classic films to the star of future classics. Is there a cognitive dissonance that comes from growing up on Star Wars and then suddenly finding yourself piloting an X-Wing? (17:05)

Then, Noah takes us through the films directed by the legendary Dennis Hopper! Hopper appeared in some of the most iconic movies of all time, but with his directorial debut Easy Rider he proved he was just as capable of making modern masterpieces himself. His subsequent career as a director did not quite hit the heights of that first film, but what followed still proved Hopper to be a fascinating filmmaker with a unique point of view. Noah talks about what these films meant to him, and reveals the very specific influence Hopper had on his own career. (30:12)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – February 2018

Andrew Kevin Walker joins us to talk the films of William Friedkin!

Rochelle and Lee kick off this month by looking back at some of its key releases, including Paul Thomas Anderson’s sartorial melodrama Phantom Thread (00:58), Ryan Coogler’s game-changing superhero film Black Panther (05:19), Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age comedy-drama Lady Bird (11:09), and Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut biopic Molly’s Game (14:41).

Lee then welcomes this episode’s guest host, screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker! They discuss how much or how little the on-screen film credits can reflect the work a screenwriter actually does on a project, the complicated system of arbitration, and what it’s like to both rewrite someone else’s work and be rewritten yourself. (18:11)

Then, Andrew takes us through the works and career of his filmmaker of the month, William Friedkin! Friedkin was one of the New Hollywood movement’s most striking voices, with a string of all-time classics to his name, as well as some very surprising and little-seen works in-between. Andrew talks about his most beloved Friedkin films, and the massive influence they had on him. (29:52)

Then Lee checks back in with Rochelle, and they wrap up the show with their thoughts on the films of William Friedkin, and what they discovered in going back through his career. (55:33)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – January 2018

Eloise Ross joins us to talk the films of Robert Wise!

For our first show of 2018, we welcome writer and critic Dr Eloise Ross, who joins us as we check out some of the key films from this month, including Steven Spielberg’s paean to press freedoms The Post (01:04), Guillermo Del Toro’s dark romantic fantasy The Shape of Water (05:46), Don Hertzfeldt’s animated science fiction sequel World of Tomorrow Episode 2: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts (10:23), and Ridley Scott’s Getty dynasty biopic All the Money in the World (13:16).

Eloise, Rochelle and Lee then take a look at the recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox’s film assets by Disney, and what the merging of these two studios could mean for the future of the film industry both on-screen and off. (17:01)

Then, Eloise takes us through the films and career of her filmmaker of the month, Robert Wise! After receiving an Oscar nomination for his work editing Citizen Kane (1941), Wise became a director in his own right, gaining a reputation as a reliable studio hand who brought his films in on time and under budget. But he was no journeyman, and his artistry immediately became apparent as he gave life to some of the most influential and beloved films of all time, including The Set-Up (1949), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Wise was a deft hand and a master of all genres, and Eloise delves into why his filmography so captivated her. (23:37)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – December 2017

Luca Guadagnino joins us to talk the films of Maurice Pialat!

Rochelle and Lee kick off the show by debating some of the key films of this month, including Woody Allen’s period melodrama Wonder Wheel (00:57), Alexander Payne’s shrinking fantasy Downsizing (03:44), Luca Guadagnino’s Italian romance Call Me By Your Name (08:55), and Rian Johnson’s franchise-busting Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (13:05).

It’s the last show for the year, and that means it’s time to for everyone to be bold and announce their picks for the best films of 2017. Rochelle and Lee compare their lists of top five new releases. (19:41)

Then, acclaimed writer/director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name) joins us to talk the films of Maurice Pialat! The late filmmaker is not as widely known as many of his contemporaries, but was an important figure in France’s cinema from the 1960s through to the 1990s. His films were huge box office hits, were critically celebrated, and won numerous international awards, yet he is not a household name, even among many cinephiles. So what is it about Pialat’s films that so appeal to Luca? And how has the ease with which we can now locate and watch Pialat’s films affected our enjoyment of them? (24:52)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – November 2017

Emma Westwood joins us to talk the films of Roman Polanski!

Author, journalist and film historian Emma Westwood is our guest this month, joining Rochelle and Lee to talk about some of the key films of November, including Kathryn Bigelow’s historical thriller Detroit (01:20), Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie adaptation Murder on the Orient Express (05:26), Yorgos Lanthimos’s modern Greek tragedy The Killing of a Sacred Deer (08:05), and DC superhero team-up Justice League (13:20).

Then, in the wake of 2017’s massive revelations about sexual assault and harassment in the film industry, Emma, Rochelle and Lee discuss whether it is actually possible to separate the art from the artist, and whether it is permissible to enjoy the product of makers who turn out to be monsters (16:14).

Emma then introduces us to her filmmaker of the month, the French-Polish director Roman Polanski (28:46). From his early years in western Europe making short films and black-and-white features like Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965) and Cul-De-Sac (1966), Polanski soon found himself snapped up by Hollywood, where he made the game-changing horror Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and the classic film noir Chinatown (1974). After Chinatown, he famously and controversially fled the US, returning to Europe where he continued to direct. His subsequent films included titles such as Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), The Pianist (2002), Carnage (2011) and more. Few filmmakers are as controversial or divisive as Polanski, and in addition to discussing the films themselves, we also examine how his personal life influenced his work, and how it influences our engagement with it.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – October 2017

Adam Elliot joins us to talk the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet!

Oscar-winning filmmaker and animator Adam Elliot (Harvie KrumpetMary and MaxErnie Biscuit) is our guest this month, and chats to Rochelle and Lee about some of the key films of October 2017, including Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious sequel Blade Runner 2049 (01:12), Taika Waititi’s unconventional superhero sequel Thor: Ragnarok (13:00), Terrence Malick’s wistful love story Song To Song (17:35), and George Clooney’s dark comedy thriller Suburbicon (22:11).

Then, Adam tells us about his filmmaker of the month, the French writer-director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (26:13). Jeunet’s early years saw him collaborating with Marc Caro, and the pair directed a range of short films together before making the back-to-back classics Delicatessen (1991) and The City of Lost Children (1995). Jeunet then went solo, flirting briefly with Hollywood when he directed the fourth film in the Alien franchise, Alien: Resurrection (1997). He then returned to France to make more personal films such as Amelie (2001) and A Very Long Engagement (2004), as well as Micmacs (2009) and The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet (2013). Adam talks to us about Jeunet’s work and when he first became enamoured by his filmmaking.

We also take a diversion to look at the career of Marc Caro (39:11), and look at what he got up to following his collaboration with Jeunet.