We can’t remember how long ago we added Ming-Zhu Hii to our guest wishlist, but in the intervening years she’s directed short films, landed prominent roles on half of Australia’s comedy and drama TV shows, and appeared in films like Peter Rabbit and That’s Not Me. Frankly, we’re lucky we were able to book her.
Ming-Zhu joins us for the whole damn show, including the reviews! This month, we look at Unsane, the thriller Steven Soderbergh shot on his damn iPhone, Rungano Nyoni’s debut feature I Am Not a Witch, Sally Potter’s single-location comedy-drama The Party, and Wes Anderson’s stop motion animation Isle of Dogs. If you love high drama and lots of laughs, but can’t decide which of these films will deliver, then this month’s reviews will certainly provide you with what you need.
We then look at the Cannes Film Festival’s announcement that Netflix films will no longer be permitted to screen in competition. Is Cannes shooting itself in the foot by ignoring the natural evolution of cinema? Or is it one of the last remaining defenders of the traditional theatrical experience?
Finally, Ming-Zhu introduces us to the works of her filmmaker of the month, Steve McQueen! We all know McQueen’s work as director of Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), and 12 Years a Slave (2013), but that is only part of the story. McQueen was an internationally-renowned artist long before he tackled features, and Ming-Zhu walks us through his fascinating history.
You may have noticed (or, mostly likely, not noticed even a little bit) that there was no cheat sheet for this show, and that was largely because no cheating is needed – you can quite reasonably watch all of McQueen’s readily-available work over the course of a weekend and still have time to go to that thing. Or you could blow off the thing entirely and watch Shame twice. We know which one we’d do.
But in addition to Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, there are some McQueen shorts available online: you can right this second watch his first film Bear (1993) here, Five Easy Pieces (1995) here, and Western Deep (2002) here. And if you like your TVCs, you can also watch his commercial Mr Burberry (2016) here.
- If you liked hearing us talk about Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane, you can hear us go through his entire filmography on the show here. And if you liked hearing us talk about Isle of Dogs, but would like a more slightly more positive take on the man’s earlier films, you can listen back to our Anderson episode here.
- I Am Not a Witch director Rungano Nyoni talks about coming up with the idea for the witch tether ribbons at Little White Lies.
- If you want to read more about Cannes banning Netflix, there are a few randomly-chosen primers at CBS News, The Guardian, and The Atlantic.
- If you’d like to learn more about the proposed LED cinema screens, here’s some more info at The Hollywood Reporter.
- In case you’re wondering about that Shark Tale/Will Smith/Angelina Jolie/Cannes thing that Lee referenced without explanation.
- Here’s an article about Cannes banning red carpet selfies…
- …and another about the new sexual harassment hotline.
- And if you’ve not heard Rochelle’s Hyphenates episode as guest – years before she became a host – you can transport yourself back to the heady days of 2010 here.
- Here’s the Tate’s press release from 1999 announcing Steve McQueen as the winner of the Turner Prize.
- Here’s that all-male Hollywood Reporter roundtable event in which Steve McQueen was the only non-white director present.
- That New York Times interview with Steve McQueen, in which the interview confesses to watching McQueen’s video installations on a laptop, can be read here.
- And if you want to check out some of Ming-Zhu’s recent work that she bashfully refused to name on the show, you can still catch Peter Rabbit in cinemas (provided you’re reading this within weeks of it being published), and you can spot her in the trailer for Leigh Whannell’s upcoming Upgrade.
Outro music: score from 12 Years a Slave, composed by Hans Zimmer
The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Ming-Zhu Hii talking the films of Steve McQueen, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.