Author Archives: The Hyphenates

The Allison Anders Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

GAS FOOD LODGING (1992) and GRACE OF MY HEART (1996)

Happy 25th birthday Gas, Food, Lodging, the Dinosaur Jr-soundtracked ode to the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico and the intense girls who inhabit them. Anders’ first solo-directed feature – like her first Border Radio (1987, with Kurt Voss and Dean Lent) – hovers in the borderlands, where Shade (Fairuza Balk) falls (didn’t we all?) for her (quite evidently queer) best friend Darius (Donovan Leitch) before realizing that it’s Javier (Jacob Vargas) who loves her. Meanwhile her sister Trudi (Ione Skye, Leitch’s older sister in real life) has fallen for a geologist, with grave consequences. Their mother Nora (Brooke Adams) is trying to hold it together and find new love. One trailer, three tough-as-velvet women, and a soundtrack that knew what the ’90s was about before the ’90s even happened. Music is Anders’ particular genius, with Border Radio the first in a trilogy of contemporary SoCal musician films – but it’s 1960s and ’70s-set Grace of My Heart that most captured ours, telling tales of the Brill Building with characters who are almost just not quite (but enough to thrill) the stars of the era. Ileana Douglas has the starring role she always deserved as debutante-turned-songwriter Denise Waverly who finds her voice with the help/hindrance of variously dependent men (most loyal being producer Joel Milner, in an all-out funky turn from John Turturro) and equally variously resilient, funny women (including a surprisingly excellent turn from Patsy Kensit). With a soundtrack that mixes covers of obscure songs by big names from the era (Joni Mitchell’s ‘Man from Mars’ makes a particularly striking appearance) with original songs, Grace of My Heart is one for fans of The Get-Down or Vinyl – but with way more girl power.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Gas Food Lodging, follow the music to Sugar Town (1999), the second of the SoCal trilogy, which will have you asking ‘Why on earth wasn’t this turned into a TV series?’ – not only for the great performances from Ally Sheedy (as a film production designer looking for love with all the wrong men) and Rosanna Arquette (as a former horror film ingénue facing ‘mom roles’ and her desire to be a mother) but for its Nashville-meets-Californication take on the seedier end of the music biz, featuring British new romantic musicians Martin Kemp and John Taylor as washed-up 80s rockers.If you can’t get or have already seen Grace of My Heart, then for something completely different, there’s Mi vida loca (1994). It’s the film that made Anders’ name internationally, a raw and still-radical girl gang tale filmed with mainly street-cast actors, some of whom were part of Chicana and Latina gangs in LA’s Echo Park. Mousie and Sad Girl are best friends, but their friendship struggles to survive the violence and betrayal that come from poverty and racism.

The Hidden Gem: Things Behind the Sun (2001) brings together Mi vida loca’s rawness with Anders’ inside knowledge of the music biz, this is an astoundingly courageous (and semi-autobiographical, for Anders) film that should have made Kim Dickens a huge star. She gives absolutely everything to her role as Sherry, a rock singer breaking into the college radio charts with a powerful song about having been raped, which catches the ear of music journalist Owen (Gabriel Mann) and brings up memories for him, too. It’s a slow burn (aided by a tour de force performance from Don Cheadle as Sherry’s manager and lover) and a tough watch, but – much like the Nick Drake title song – it will haunt you forever.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Jennifer Reeder talking Allison Anders, will be released on 31 March 2017.

Our Next Hyphenate Jennifer Reeder

Artist, filmmaker, and Hi4H March 2017 guest host Jennifer Reeder

We’re delighted to announce our next guest, Jennifer Reeder: an American artist, filmmaker and screenwriter. Her 2015 film A Million Miles Away (available to watch here for free!) was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and she has received nominations or wins at the Berlin International Film Festival, the AFI Fest, the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and many others.

Jennifer first attracted attention for her performance and video work as “White Trash Girl”, a pseudonym and character through which she explored lower-income white culture in the United States. She is on her way to London, where her latest film Signature Move will be the closing night film at BFI Flare 2017.

But more important than all that is the fact that she is about to be a Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host when she joins us for our next episode!

So which filmmaker has Jennifer chosen to discuss on the show?

None other that indie director Allison Anders. 

Anders first came to attention in1987, when she co-directed the feature Border Radio with UCLA classmates Kurt Voss and Dean Lent. It was 1992’s Gas Food Lodging that truly put her on the map, her first solo feature winning her Best New Director from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Anders was one of the figures of 1990s independent American cinema, going on to direct Mi Vida Loca (1993) and Grace of My Heart (1996). She continued her tradition of collaborative filmmaking with 1995’s notorious Four Rooms, which she directed alongside Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Alexandre Rockwell.

She has recently been directing TV series and telemovies, working on the likes of Sex and the City, The L Word, Orange in the New Black, Murder in the First and Riverdale. Most recently, Anders directed the 2013 June Carter Cash biopic Ring of Fire and the 2017 remake of Beaches.

So what is it about the films of Allison Anders that specifically appeals to Jennifer Reeder? Join us on 31 March when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Allison Anders

Hassannia On Farhadi

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And the Hell Is For Hyphenates version of desperate measures is to organise an episode in slightly the wrong order. Anarchists, we.

As we said in the episode announcement, we felt it was incredibly important to this month focus on Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. With the USA imposing a draconian travel ban on select Muslim countries, Farhadi has chosen to protest the policy by staying at home instead of attending this year’s Oscars ceremony. This despite him receiving a Best Foreign Language film nomination for The Salesman.

The real actual Japanese poster for Chicago, and definitely not something we photoshopped in like five minutes.

We enlisted the help of Tehran-born, Toronto-based film critic and author, Tina Hassannia, an expert in Farhadi’s films and author of Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema. The insight Tina brings to this episode as a critic, as someone who has spoken directly with the filmmaker, and as someone familiar with the culture depicted in Farhadi’s films is unique and fascinating. Long story short, this is a great episode.

Before we get to Farhadi, Sophie and Lee cast their eyes over three of this month’s films, including Ang Lee’s adaptation Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which was released in the USA and Australia last year, but has only this month made it to British shores.

They then look at the ups and downs, pros and cons of crafting a sequel to an iconic work, as Danny Boyle finally makes good on his decades-old promise to reunite Renton, Begby, Sick Boy and Spud in the unusually-titled T2: Trainspotting.

Then, social and scientific progressiveness come together as they always should with the engaging and crowd-pleasing biopic Hidden Figures, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly and directed by Theodore Melfi.

Confusion abounds.

After the reviews are done, Tina joins us to talk about what role awards shows have in activism. Following Meryl Streep’s rousing Golden Globes speech and David Harbour’s viral Screen Actors Guild call to arms, do award winners have an obligation to use the spotlight to get political? Or should the glitz and glam of red carpets be done away with completely during times of suffering?

We then dig into the films of Farhadi, looking at Dancing in the Dust (2003), Beautiful City (2004), Fireworks Wednesday (2006), About Elly (2009), A Separation (2011), The Past (2013) and The Salesman (2016). We examine the social and political context of his work in a discussion that will be interesting even if you’ve never seen any of his films.

But we’re not done yet! In a special bonus segment, Sophie heads to Trafalgar Square, where the City of London hosted a special screening of The Salesman in an open air cinema. The screening, which took place about 24 hours before our episode was released, saw an estimated 2 000 people in attendance. We hear select speeches from TV presenter and journalist Mariella Frostrup, model and actress Lily Cole, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, filmmaker Mike Leigh, and in a specially-recorded video message, Asghar Farhadi himself.

Further reading:

  • If you’re wondering what our introductions referred to, click through for details on the Bowling Green massacre and the Swedish “major incident”. Our thoughts are with the victims of these not-made-up tragedies.
  • We kick off this month’s reviews with a look at Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which has just received a release in the UK), directed by Ang Lee. For more Ang Lee talk, listen back to our Ang Lee episode with guest Julia Zemiro. We take a look at Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting. To hear our thoughts on the first Trainspotting, as well as all the other Danny Boyle films, listen back to our Danny Boyle episode with guest Sarah Ward.
  • Sophie refers to articles contrasting Danny Boyle and Antonia Bird (listen back to our Antonia Bird episode with guest Kate Hardie). The articles, which have the same opening paragraph, appeared in Bomb Magazine, and you can read the Antonia Bird piece here and the Danny Boyle one here.
  • The Manchester film and media school Danny Boyle is helping to launch will teach 1000 students each year from diverse backgrounds.
  • The book that Hidden Figures is adapted from is called Hidden Figures: The Story of the African Women Who Helped Win the Space Race and is by Margot Lee Shetterly. It can be found in book stores and all the familiar online places.
  • We refer to some recent protest speeches at awards ceremonies. You can check out Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech here, David Harbour’s Screen Actors Guild speech here, and Ken Loach’s BAFTA speech here.
  • Sophie refers to the Fine Young Cannibals returning their awards in protest after the Brit Awards screened a video message from Margaret Thatcher. We couldn’t find a video of the 1990 moment, but it is referenced here in The Guardian.
  • Sophie also mentions the red carpet protests from Raising Films. Check out their manifesto on Red Carpet activism here.
  • Asghar Farhadi and Salesman star Taraneh Alidoosti talk about their decision to not attend the 2017 Oscar ceremony due to the US administration’s recently-imposed travel ban.
  • We spend much of the middle segment offering protest speech advice to anyone attending the Oscars. Lee has an incredibly helpful video guide on Academy Award etiquette that aired almost exactly ten years ago, which features a segment on the dos and don’ts of Oscar protest speeches.
  • Asghar Farhadi previously won an Oscar for A Separation at the 2012 ceremony, Iran’s first ever win for Best Foreign Language film. Watch his moving speech here.
  • The Oscar speeches weren’t quite as political as we were anticipating, but that doesn’t mean the evening wasn’t devoid of strong opinions and activism. Here’s Time Magazine‘s roundup of the evening’s political moments.
  • You can read Tina’s review of Farhadi’s latest film The Salesman in Canada’s National Post.
  • And you can read Sophie’s review of The Salesman in Literal Magazine.
  • Here’s a great piece by BFI Head of Festivals and London Film Festival director Clare Stewart about the importance and impact of Asghar Farhadi’s films.
  • As you now know (but we didn’t yet at time of recording), Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. He was, as we know, not there to accept the award, but had Iranian-American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari—the first Iranian to go into space—read out a statement on his behalf, which can be both viewed and read here.
  • If you want to see the video of Asghar Farhadi’s message to the audience in Trafalgar Square, Curzon Artificial Eye has posted the video here.
  • Sophie described the evening, the speeches and the mood of the crowd in an article for Sight and Sound, available here on the BFI website.
  • Don’t forget to pick up Tina’s book Asgar Farhadi: Life and Cinema, featuring critical analysis of his work as well as interviews with the man himself. You can read an excerpt on the Toronto International Film Festival website.
  • You can listen to Tina’s podcast Everything But Sports, co-hosted by Mallory Andrews, on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes.
  • Finally, the directors of the five films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film—Martin Zandvliet (Land of Mine), Hannes Holm (A Man Called Ove), Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman), Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann), Martin Butler & Bentley Dean (Tanna)—released an extraordinary joint statement regarding the culture of fear in the USA:

Outro music: score from About Elly (2009), composed by Andrea Bauer

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Tina Hassannia talking the films of Asghar Farhadi, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed via our website.

Thousands gather in Trafalgar Square for the screening of Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman.
Whether you’re from Iran or Iraq, Streatham or Shoreditch, Lebanon or London, you are welcome.” London mayor Sadiq Khan.
Filmmaker Mike Leigh sings the praises of his friend and colleague Asghar Farhadi.
Asghar Farhadi speaks to the London crowd in a specially-recorded video message.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – February 2017

We are joined this episode by film critic and author Tina Hassannia, as we look back at some of the key films of this month, including Ang Lee’s Billy Flynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting, and Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures. Then, on the eve of an Academy Award ceremony that nominated Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has refused to attend in protest of the recent US travel ban, we ask what form awards shows should take during times of social anxiety and oppressive policy. We then look at the films and career of Asghar Farhadi, the award-winning Iranian filmmaker responsible for acclaimed works such as About Elly A SeparationThe Past and The Salesman. Finally, in a special bonus segment, Sophie attends the protest screening of The Salesman in Leicester Square, and provides us with audio of the speeches from journalist and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup, model and actress Lily Cole, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, filmmaker Mike Leigh, and via pre-recorded video, Asghar Farhadi himself.

The Asghar Farhadi Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

ABOUT ELLY (2009) and A SEPARATION (2011)

Asghar Farhadi hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently: instead of celebrating the Best Foreign Film Academy Award nomination for his sixth feature The Salesman, coverage concentrated on his entanglement in the Trump travel ban, as both Farhadi and the film’s star Taraneh Alidoosti stated that they would boycott the awards over the block on Iranians travelling to the US. The Salesman is their fourth film together – and the third was About Elly, which got an international release after A Separation gave the director his (hopefully first of many) Academy Award in 2012. Alidoosti played the titular Elly, a shy teacher swept along on a group trip to the seaside by Sepideh, whose daughter is in her kindergarten class. Along with the three couples who’ve known each other since law school, there’s another single guest, Ahmad, and Sepideh has plans to get him and Elly together. Romantic comedy turns into a sickeningly tense he said/she said thriller when Elly disappears and Sepideh’s half-truths come to light, subtly shading the complicit and compromised lives of Tehran’s middle classes. That’s even more palpable in A Separation, where a planned divorce leads morally-upright Nader into a compromising situation: after his wife Simin leaves him to live with her mother, prior to her moving to the US to escape theocratic oppression, he hires Razieh to look after his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father. Both the grandfather and very bright daughter Termeh are caught in the battles of wills between the parents, as well as the class agony between Nader and Razieh, with a sense of consequences that many critics have compared to Michael Haneke’s Caché. Things can’t end well.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen About Elly or A Separation, you must watch the film his two subsequent films: The Past (2013), which replays some of the themes of divorce, betrayal and children bearing the brunt of adult struggles seen in A Separation, but with the added knife-twist of cross-cultural relationships and immigration, as Farhadi shoots in France. And then there’s The Salesman (2016) is a drama about drama, going back to the filmmaker’s roots in studying theatre. It follows a couple whose relationship frays during their participation in a production of Death of a Salesman, as they confront the scandalous past of their apartment’s previous tenant. What’s past is, as ever in Farhadi’s films, all too poignantly and unsettlingly present.

The Hidden Gem: Set on Iranian New Year’s Eve, Fireworks Wednesday (2006) is punctuated by small explosions, literal and metaphorical, as Alidoosti’s character Rouhi, a bride-to-be, gets sent by her employment agency to clean for a warring married couple: Mojdeh is convinced Morteza is having an affair; Morteza thinks Mojdeh is crazy. Rouhi spends a long day caught between them, their son Amir Ali, their beautician neighbour Simin, and the febrile celebratory atmosphere outside.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Tina Hassannia talking Asghar Farhadi, will be released on 28 February 2017.

Our Next Hyphenate Tina Hassannia

Author, film critic and Hi4H February 2017 guest host Tina Hassannia

We’re breaking convention to do things a little backwards this month. Let us explain.

Before we had confirmed a guest or filmmaker for this month, it was announced that director Asghar Farhadi would be unable to enter the United States to attend the Oscars ceremony – he is once again nominated, by the way – thanks to sudden, draconian, poorly-implemented immigration policy. Farhadi’s plight is not the most heartbreaking story to emerge in the past month, but it is emblematic of how ridiculous this action has been. It became clear that this is something we would have to address on the show, probably during the middle segment.

Then we realised there would probably never be a more appropriate time for us to discuss the films of Asghar Farhadi, so we decided to do something we’d never done before: we choose the filmmaker first.

This month, Hell Is For Hyphenates will be all about the incredible films of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.

With our filmmaker-of-the-month selected, we then set about searching for the perfect person to help us discuss him, and there was really only one choice: Toronto-based film critic Tina Hassannia.

Tina wrote the book on Farhadi, quite literally: Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema was released by The Critical Press in 2014, and is available from the Critical Press website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indigo. In the book, Tina traces Farhadi’s origins as an emerging filmmaker in Iran, from his directorial debut Dancing in the Dust through to 2013’s acclaimed The Past. The book also features an in-depth interview with Farhadi, and is undoubtedly the definitive work on this influential filmmaker.

We were delighted that Tina immediately agreed to join us on the show, and cannot wait to discuss Dancing in the Dust (2003), Beautiful City (2004), Fireworks Wednesday (2006), About Elly (2009), A Separation (2011), The Past (2013), The Salesman (2016), as well as Farhadi’s career and history with her.

This episode will also feature something else we’ve never done before, but to find out what that is, you’ll have to listen to the show when it’s released on 28 February!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Asghar Farhadi

O’Brien On Loach

We really didn’t plan it this way, but it did work out pretty well. After all, could there by a more appropriate month for us to discuss the films of one of the most political directors in the canon? Sometimes you’re blessed with synchronicity.

Apart from the charged politics, this is unlike any episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates you’ve heard before. Especially if you’ve never heard any. But double-especially if you’ve heard some.

As we said in the episode announcement, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a guest on who has been personally acquainted with the filmmaker they’ve chosen, but it is the first time the guest has been heavily involved with a good half of the films we’re discussing. Rebecca has produced the majority of Ken Loach’s films since 1990, including two Palme d’Or winners: 2006’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley and 2016’s I, Daniel Blake. As a result, she brings unique, fascinating and frequently funny insights into what happened behind the scenes.

Lee Skyped in from Melbourne, but Sophie journeyed to Sixteen Films – Rebecca and Ken’s production company – in Soho, London to record the episode. That’s about as belly-of-the-beast as you can possibly get, surrounded by props from Loach’s films as you chat about them.

Before Rebecca joins us to talk Loach, Sophie and Lee chat about three of the key films of January 2017 (splitting the difference between the inconsistent release dates of the UK and Australia), looking at Pablo Lorrain’s Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy biopic Jackie, Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence, and Kirsten Johnson’s groundbreaking memoir Cameraperson.

It’s politics galore this month, but we also squeeze some films in there too, in our first episode of 2017!

Further reading and notes:

  • Yeah, we were a little confused during recording, but for the record, Silence takes place in the 17th We were definitely right about it featuring Catholics though.
  • We discuss the effect Cathy Come Home had on the public consciousness of homelessness, and you can learn more in this ten minute BBC audio documentary, and discover how little things have changed in the fifty years since its broadcast in this article from The Guardian.
  • Rebecca tells us that I, Daniel Blake has made more than one appearance in UK parliament: here’s Jeremy Corbyn telling Theresa May that she should watch it during the Prime Minister’s Question Time, and here’s SNP MP Mhairi Black doing the same in the House of Commons.
  • One thing we didn’t get a chance to mention on the show was that in all those lists of directors who remade their own films, you know who never gets mentioned? No prizes if you guessed Ken Loach. After all, we only noticed that he’d remade his TV play In Two Minds (1967) as Family Life (1971) during the process of watching everything he’d ever made. Time to add him to these perennial trivia articles, internet list makers!
  • Did Steven Soderbergh make a sequel to a Ken Loach film? Not really. But when he made The Limey (1999) with Terence Stamp, he used footage from Ken Loach’s first theatrical feature Poor Cow (1967), featuring a much younger Terence Stamp, in fragmented flashback sequences. Soderbergh talked briefly about incorporating the footage in an interview with Jason Anderson and in another interview with Elif Cercel.

Outro music: “Colours”, written by Donovan and performed by Terence Stamp, from Poor Cow (1967)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Rebecca O’Brien talking the films of Ken Loach, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed via our website.

Here are some pictures of Sophie’s visit to Sixteen Films:

Sophie and Rebecca with the sign from Jimmy’s Hall (2014)
The poster for I, Daniel Blake (2016) and some cool miscellany
Posted for the amusement of visitors, the list of swear words that had to be removed for the airport edit of Jimmy’s Hall (2014)

Hell Is For Hyphenates – January 2017

Acclaimed producer Rebecca O’Brien (I Daniel BlakeOranges and SunshineBeanFriendship’s Death) joins us for our first episode of 2017. Sophie and Lee look back at some of the key films released in January, including Pablo Lorrain’s Jackie Bouvier Kennedy biopic Jackie, Martin Scorsese’s meditative Catholic drama Silence, and Kirsten Johnson’s unique memoir Cameraperson. Then Rebecca takes us through the films of the renowned British director Ken Loach, many of which Rebecca produced, granting us unique insight into the method and process behind his works.

The Ken Loach Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

CATHY COME HOME (1966) and KES (1969)

So the world: hell/handbasket. You know who’s had two fingers up to the powers that be of every stripe, since 1965? Ken “Kenneth” Loach, that’s who. And given that politicians seem intent on turning the clock back to before civil rights, let’s go back to the beginning and remember what we’re fighting for: Cathy Come Home, originally screened on BBC TV as part of The Wednesday Play, is officially the most effective social protest film of all time, as it led to the founding of the housing charity Shelter. It was also part of the “angry young man” social realism that exploded out of postwar Britain, demanding the justice and equality that had been fought for in the war come home to root. Cathy (Carol White) – who carries on, head high, even as she loses everything – laid the template for Loach’s everyday heroes, captured in moving scenes that may look like fly-on-the-wall documentary but testify, even then, to Loach’s ability to inspire actors to connect emotionally with an audience. And if you haven’t been reduced to tear-jelly (and/or gone out on a protest) by Cathy Come Home, then settle in for Kes: even David Bradley, who plays the protagonist Billy and still lives in Barnsley where the film was made, says he can’t watch the end scene because “it’s too much”. And this from the actor who still loves the film – his first – even though Loach, seeking authenticity, didn’t call cut in the scene in which the schoolboys get caned. Kes is the kestrel Billy trains – really, into which he pours all his love and creativity. So maybe skip the climax if you’re feeling fragile. Or rage on, with the rest of Loach’s magnificent, ever-furious and tender body of work.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Cathy or Kes, you must watch Loach’s two Palme d’Or winners: the award for 2016’s I, Daniel Blake made him only the ninth filmmaker to do that prestigious double. Fifty years on (fifty! years! on!) from Cathy Come Home, Loach tackles the impacts of austerity and mealy-mouthed bureaucracy on families and communities once again, this time with a rousing central performance from comedian Dave Johns as titular hero who won’t take it no more. The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) is one of Loach’s rare forays into historical drama: along with Jimmy’s Hall (2014), it’s a human portrait of Irish radical politics, with a starring role for Cillian “briefly not being a psycho” Murphy as yet another classic Loachian character, the loyal, principled (and doomed) Irish Republican Damien O’Donovan.

The Hidden Gem: Loach has only ever made one film in America – and, as you’d expect, it’s far from a Hollywood affair. Bread and Roses, named after the classic union song, is about two Mexican sisters (Pilar Padilla and Elpidia Carrillo) who work as cleaners in LA, and are inspired to find an unorthodox and passionate campaign against their employers. Full of fire – and also tips for fighting our way out of the current crisis.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Rebecca O’Brien talking Ken Loach, will be released on 31 January 2017.

Our Next Hyphenate: Rebecca O’Brien

Producer and Hi4H January 2017 guest host Rebecca O’Brien

Our first guest for 2017, Rebecca O’Brien, got her start in cinema working at the Edinburgh Film Festival. She went on to work as location manager and production manager in films such as 1985’s My Beautiful Laundrette and 1982’s Crystal Gazing (the latter of which was co-directed by Hyphenates alum Laura Mulvey).

Her first film as producer was 1987’s Friendship’s Death, written and directed by Peter Wollen and starring Tilda Swinton, Bill Paterson and Patrick Bauchau. She has also produced the 1998 drama series Echoes the 1997 comedy film Bean, and the 2001 romance Princesca.

But she is perhaps best known for her partnership with legendary British director Ken Loach. It began in 1990 with the film Hidden Agenda, and went on to include My Name Is Joe (1998), Ae Fond Kiss… (2004), The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006), I Daniel Blake (2016) and numerous others.

So which filmmaker has Rebecca chosen to discuss on the show?

Believe it or not… legendary British director Ken Loach!

We love it when our guest has a unique insight into the filmmaker they’re talking about (such as Kate Hardie on the films of Antonia Bird, or Michael Altman discussing the films of his father), and given Rebecca has been working with Ken Loach for nearly three decades, it’s going to be fascinating to hear her unique perspective on these iconic, defining works.

In addition to the afore-mentioned films, Loach is also known for Poor Cow (1967), Kes (1969), and Cathy Come Home (1966), which is itself is objectively one of the most influential films of all time. If you don’t know the story behind that one, fear not: we’ll certainly get into the details in the recording.

We’re pretty excited to kick off the new year with such a prominent guest and iconic filmmaker, so make sure you join us on January 31 to hear Rebecca O’Brien talking Ken Loach!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Ken Loach