Over the last few years, Rohan Spong has become one of Australia’s most exciting documentary filmmakers. From his 2009 feature T is for Teacher, about the experiences of four transgender school teachers in America, to his 2010 film The Songs They Sang, which examined the music and art created in the Vilna Ghetto in Lithuania during World War II, and his stunning 2011 film All the Way Through Evening, about the music that was composed in New York’s East Village during the rise of HIV/AIDS, he has established himself as one of this country’s best documentarians, exploring the corners history through a very present and tangible lens.
This year saw the premiere of his latest film Winter At Westbeth. This beautiful work follows the elderly residents of New York’s Westbeth Artists Housing, as they continue to create the film, dance and poetry they’d made all of their lives.
Of course, all of those achievement pale in comparison to Rohan’s next role, that of Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!
But which filmmaker has he chosen to discuss?
None other than the legendary David Lean!
The mere mention of Lean’s name conjures images of epic landscapes in 70mm, decades-spanning tales, literary adaptations, and hours-long epics that could comfortably go for twice their length. Lean immersed us in worlds bigger than our own, and defined event cinema decades before the term would ever be coined or even required.
From the Dickens adaptations Oliver Twist and Great Expectations to Russian epic Dr Zhivago, from the heartbreaking romance Brief Encounter to perhaps the greatest cinematic epic of all time Lawrence of Arabia, Lean left a forceful, indelible mark on cinema, and no history of film is complete without an exploration of his ouvre.
But what is it about Lean’s work that Rohan loves so much? Check back in with us on December 31 when we find out!