Graham On Kieślowski

As guest Rhys Graham tells us, he almost didn’t pick the legendary Polish filmmaker, for fears it was too pretentious a choice. After all, the Three Colours trilogy long felt like the epitome of European cinema, the symbol of inaccessible, languid arthouse films. Sure, we all know that the films themselves are actually beautiful, empathetic works that stand to repeat viewings, but there’s no denying they have the appearance of ornate pretention. Much like that sentence.

And that’s just one of the reasons we dive so deep into our filmmakers’ back catalogue. Because even though we could fill an entire show on Three Colours and The Double Life of Veronique alone, Kieślowski’s career up until then was an entirely different beast.

But it’s not just the Polish filmmaker we’re looking at this month. The mini-Hyphenate segment comes roaring back, as we look at the film of Charles Laughton. The legendary actor directed one film and one film only, the all-time noir classic The Night of the Hunter. So how did he get it so right on his first go? And why did he never direct again?

And before all that, we look back at some of the key films from the past month, including Claire Denis’s science fiction drama High Life, Jordan Peele’s modern horror Us, Karyn Kusama’s gritty crime saga Destroyer, and Tim Burton’s live-action remake Dumbo.

Further reading:

  • If you liked hearing about High Life, you can listen back to Lynn Shelton talking to us about the films of Claire Denis (and inadvertently ruining things for Rhys Graham)
  • Here’s an article on the impressive box office record that Us broke
  • Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot looks amazing
  • Here’s the trailer for Julia, the Tilda Swinton film mentioned by Rhys
  • A very brief history of the upcoming Gemini Man, which has been in development since the late 1990s
  • The episode of The Q&A Podcast with Jeff Goldsmith in which he interviews Destroyer co-writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi can be heard here
  • If you want to reminisce with us about Tim Burton’s halcyon days, you can listen back to us talk all things Burton with our first ever guest Thomas Caldwell
  • Walt Disney planned on keeping Fantasia in a sort of perpetual release, replacing segments so that audiences never saw the same film twice
  • Want to check out all our past mini-Hyphenates segments? Even if you don’t, they’re all collected here
  • We couldn’t find François Truffaut’s review of The Night of the Hunter, but here’s the New York Times quoting it, which is just as good
  • The adoration Kieślowski had for Ken Loach went both ways; here’s Loach paying tribute to Kieslowski in The Guardian in 1996
  • The SBS parody that Rhys was talking about (not actually from Full Frontal, but from its antecedent Fast Forward) is a bit of a classic
  • There’s no one link we can give you for all Kieslowski’s films on YouTube, but here’s The Scar and No End, to start you off, and you can go searching for the others yourself

Outro music: Song for the Unification of Europe, written by Patrice de Courcy (via actual composer Zbigniew Preisner), performed by Sinfonia Varsovia, from Three Colours: Blue (1993)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Rhys Graham talking the films of Krzystof Kieślowski, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website

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