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.

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