Spong On Lean

Hyphenates has always been a show that celebrates all filmmakers, and we’re equally excited by the big names as we are by the obscure ones. Wielding absolutely no influence over the choices of our guests, 2016 nevertheless seemed to be a year in which we ticked off a fair number of big-name directors that have been looming over our shoulder for six-and-a-half years. The past few months alone we’ve talked Peter Weir, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Nicolas Roeg, and it feels appropriate that we should see the year out with the master that is David Lean.

It was a real delight to have Rohan Spong as our guest, and anyone who’s been lucky enough to see his astonishing documentaries – from 2011’s All the Way Through Evening to this year’s Winter At Westbeth – will no doubt be as keen as we are to hear about how David Lean became such an early influence. And it’s an origin story very much worth hearing.

Before we talk Lean, however, Sophie and Lee look back at some of this month’s key films, comparing this year’s Star Wars entry Rogue One to last year’s The Force Awakens, discussing their fiercely divergent reactions to Jim Jarmusch’s contemplative drama Paterson, dipping toes into the controversy surrounding science fiction romance Passengers, and looking at Amma Assante’s compelling biopic A United Kingdom.

Then, Rohan joins them as they compare notes on their favourite films of the year, and try to find some highlights amid the mess than was 2016.

Further reading:

  • In the Rogue One discussion, Sophie and Lee inevitably touch on the (spoilerish) topic of CGI recreation of actors. LucasFilm has spoken to the New York Times about the controversy (the piece in question with either be behind a paywall or it will use up one of your limited free articles, so be warned)
  • Here is some more info about the Notes On Blindness Oculus Rift project as mentioned by Rohan and Sophie
  • Sophie wasn’t kidding about the When Marnie Was There lunchbox, or maybe she was, but even so if you spot any in the wild definitely drop us a line
  • The incredible Lawrence of Arabia match cut as discussed in the show can be seen here
  • David Lean’s 1979 documentary Lost and Found: The Story of Cook’s Anchor, which he made as he was scouting for his unrealised Mutiny on the Bounty films, can be viewed for free online at NZ OnScreen
  • All 2 hours and 20 minutes of David Lean: A Life In Film is on YouTube
  • Interviews with David Lean, Peter O’Toole and Anne V Coates talking about Lawrence of Arabia

Outro music: score from Lawrence of Arabia (1962), composed by Maurice Jarre

And don’t forget to check out our 2016 Year In Review, featuring a collection of our alumni’s best of the year lists!

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates featuring Rohan Spong talking the films of David Lean can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from this website.

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