Author Archives: The Hyphenates

Hi4H’s 2018 Year In Review

We’re going to keep this one uncharacteristically short, because we’re all kinda wiped from 2018. And frankly, nobody needs a long read on New Year’s Eve. Or New Year’s Day. In fact, regardless of the date you’re reading this, we’re just going to assume you have somewhere to be.

So let’s just take a quick moment to look back at the really amazing year we had on Hyphenates. We celebrated our episode number 100 in front of a not-unimpressive crowd at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and we gifted with a nonstop stream of impressive guests who all came by to talk about their love of film.

We had a surprising number of Aussie performer/filmmaker hybrids, with appearances from brilliant actor/directors Daina Reid (The Handmaid’s Tale), Abe Forsythe (Down Under), and Ming-Zhu Hii (Intrusion).

We had a blast with award-winning film and TV director Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens), critic and Melbourne Cinemateque programmer Eloise Ross, and filmmaker/critic/festival programmer Briony Kidd.

We also Skyped in some incredible American guests, chatting with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, Brick star Noah Segan, Queen of Earth filmmaker Alex Ross Perry, and Seven screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.

Then, for the hell of it, we turned to iconic Aussie horror film Wolf Creek for our big episodes, with writer/director Greg McLean helping us to celebrate our 100th show, and star Cassandra Magrath joining us to see out the year.

And check out the incredible filmmakers we covered in 2018! We dug into the complete filmographies of the names behind some of American cinema’s greatest works, looking at everything made by William Friedkin, Alan J Pakula, and Ridley Scott.

We dipped our toe into European cinema with two of the continent’s most notable filmmakers, Wim Wenders and Lars Von Trier.

South Korea had a decent showing, as we devoted episodes to the films of Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho.

But it wasn’t all dark and moody cinema; we kept things light as we dove into the works of modern comic filmmaker greats Nora Ephron and John Hughes.

We checked out some of cinema’s most interesting multi-hyphenates, with editor-turned-director Robert Wise, actor-turned-director Dennis Hopper, and visual artist-turned-director Steve McQueen.

We hope you were entertained, amused, and enlightened by our episodes, and we’d like to thank you all for listening. See you in 2019…

PS: The most anticipated film of 2019 is Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

Magrath On Von Trier

It had to happen eventually. Sometimes, a well-known filmmaker is chosen for Hyphenates, and we’ll often have no idea which direction the discussion will go. But with directors like Lars Von Trier, you have a pretty solid idea of what kind of discussion is about to take place.

Sure enough, the question of whether he’s an empty provocateur or a misunderstood genius is one that forms the backbone to this episode – but we doubt most Von Trier debates are half as entertaining as the one we’ve had with the brilliant Cassandra Magrath, who was the perfect person to help us see out 2018.

And speaking of seeing out 2018, we also continued our tradition of ending the year with a comparison of our favourite films from said year. Prepare to be completely and utterly shocked, or even just mildly surprised. We’d be happy with mildly surprised.

But before we get to all that, we kick off by looking back at some of the key films of the month, including Alfonso Cuarón’s biographical drama Roma, Yorgos Lanthimos’s acerbic historical comedy The Favourite, Susanne Bier’s sensory apocalyptic thriller Bird Box, and Gaspar Noé’s dance-filled horror Climax.

Further reading:

  • If you’re not up to date on Aussie podcasts putting people behind bars, read this, then catch up on Teacher’s Pet
  • The story about John C Reilly dropping out of Manderlay can be read here
  • Thanks again to Umbrella Entertainment for giving us an advance copy of Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built – keep an eye on their website for news on the release
  • Weirdly enough, the (faked) scene of animal cruelty from that film has been praised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
  • Here’s some more detail on that whole Von Trier/Nazi/Cannes controversy
  • The story behind Lars discovering the shocking identity of his real father (which gives more context to the whole Nazi thing) can be read here
  • If you’re wondering why we kept talking about “Dogme 95” without really explaining it (sorry), you can read the manifesto here
  • And if you want to compare them to Soderbergh’s rules for 2002’s Full Frontal and see if Lee is just playing favourites, you can read his list here
  • If this episode left you hungry for more passionate pro-Von Trier opinions, it’s worth checking out this piece by Amy Simmons over at Senses of Cinema

Outro music: Young Americans by David Bowie from Dogville (2003)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Cassandra Magrath talking the films of Lars Von Trier, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – December 2018

Cassandra Magrath joins us to talk the films of Lars Von Trier!

Actor and producer Cassandra Magrath (Wolf Creek, SeaChange, Wentworth) joins Rochelle and Lee to talk about some of the key films from the past month, including Alfonso Cuarón’s biographical drama Roma (01:30), Yorgos Lanthimos’s acerbic historical comedy The Favourite (4:21), Susanne Bier’s sensory apocalyptic thriller Bird Box (08:53), and Gaspar Noé’s dance-filled horror Climax (14:50).

They then compare their favourite films of 2018: how many crossovers and surprises lie within their lists? (23:03)

Then, Cassandra takes us through the works of her filmmaker of the month, Lars Von Trier. The Danish director is best known for brutal, challenging works like Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. He’s a controversial, divisive figure equally loved and hated by film fans across the world. So is Von Trier a provocateur who prefers shock tactics to sincerity, or a misunderstood master filmmaker with ?

The Lars Von Trier 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 feature that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

BREAKING THE WAVES (1996) and MELANCHOLIA (2011)

The work that put Von Trier on the map was 1996’s Breaking the Waves, a film about one woman’s pain exploited by the society around her. Which doesn’t really help distinguish it in the Von Trier oeuvre if we’re being honest. But with a vérité style and a phenomenal performance from Emily Watson, it’s a film that is as intense a watch today as it was 22 years ago. Follow that up with Melancholia, the second part of Von Trier’s cheerfully-titled Depression Trilogy. Lars sinks his legs into proper genre territory, with planetary collision an unlikely yet effective metaphor for depression. Watch these films back-to-back (if you can), and you should have some idea of what drives the Danish Defeatist.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Breaking the Waves, seek out Dancer in the Dark (2000). The bleakest musical you’ll ever see feels is the third part of Von Trier’s Golden Heart Trilogy, because the man is more obsessed with thematic trilogies than Krzysztof Kieślowski. If you can’t get or have already seen Melancholia, get your hands on Antichrist (2009). This story of grief, depression, and the insidious side of nature will make you want to scissor off your private parts faster than you can intone “CHAOS REIGNS”.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Lars Von Trier? Then you should track down Medea (1988). Von Trier made this adaptation for television, and it’s as close as you’ll see to a filmmaker origin story happening in real time. Tackling literature’s ur-woman scorned – as well as the profoundly grim shock of the plot twists – pretty much laid out the path Von Trier would follow for the bulk of his films.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Cassandra Magrath talking the films of Lars Von Trier, will be released on 31 December 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Cassandra Magrath

Actor, producer, and Hi4H December 2018 guest host Cassandra Magrath

Long before she landed what is arguably her most iconic role to date, Cassandra Magrath was burning it up on Aussie screens. She was a regular on iconic TV shows like Ocean Girl and SeaChange, she guested on high profile programs Janus and Blue Heelers, and scored her movie debut in the 1996 comedy Hotel de Love. But it was her starring role in 2005’s terrifying smash hit horror Wolf Creek that cemented her in pop culture.

Since then, Cassandra’s been spotted in films, TVs, and music video, with credits that include Neighbours, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Summer Coda, Utopia, Wentworth, Jack Irish, and heaps more.

Now, she is preparing to close out 2018 with her greatest role to date: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!

But who has she chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Lars von Trier!

Von Trier is the notorious and award-winning filmmaker who co-founded the notorious Dogme 95 movement. He’s best known for Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nyphomaniac, and his upcoming film The House That Jack Built has already courted its own share of controversy.

He is as divisive as his films, and rarely makes a film that doesn’t rile up audiences and critics alike.

So what it is about his work that Cassandra finds so intriguing?

Join us on December 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Lars Von Trier

Kidd On Park

We all know kids love parks. But did you know Kidds love Parks? We only found out when we invited filmmaker, critic, and festival curator Briony Kidd on the show to talk about a filmmaker she loves: South Korean cult director Park Chan-wook!

We’ve had a lot of near-misses with Park over the years, as guests and potential guests have floated the possibility of talking about him. As his John le Carré adaptation The Little Drummer Girl airs around the world, this feels like a great time to look back at his filmography.

Before that, we look at a BBC article that asks why films directed by women keep getting excluded from “best of” lists. A recent poll of world cinema resulted in only four female filmmakers (Chantal Akerman, Claire Denis, Agnès Varda, Katia Lund) making the list. As the article points out, there were more films directed by men names Jean than were directed by women. (Kind of reminds us of Deb Verhoeven’s Daversity problem.) We ask why this is: is it a matter of cinema history simply not having enough female filmmakers, or does the problem lie with lists such as these?

And before any of that we look at some of this month’s new releases, including Steve McQueen’s heist drama Widows, the darkly comic Coen Bros Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Boots Riley’s absurdist comedy Sorry To Bother You, and the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind.

Further reading:

  • “I’m fairly sure I’ve written lost films that will never be seen and this was one of them.” True enough. If you have a copy of FilmInk from October 2008, you’ll be able to verify this. Happy tenth anniversary, this particular article!
  • The BBC article that the middle segment is based upon can be read here
  • Briony’s article for SBS can be read here
  • And if you want to jump back to Rochelle’s episode as guest, you can hear her talk about the films of Sofia Coppola here
  • If you want to take a stroll back through our mini-Hyphenate archive, you can check them out here
  • Briony describes Park Chan-wook as a combination of Alfred Hitchcock and Jane Campion, so if you don’t feel like listening to this episode you can listen to us talk Hitchcock and Campion and it should have the same effect
  • If you want to hear more South Korean filmmaker talk, only a few months ago we talked Bong Joon-ho with guest Abe Forsythe
  • Here’s Variety’s review of Lady Vengeance

Outro music: score from Oldboy, composed by Jo Yeong-wook

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Briony Kidd talking the films of Park Chan-wook, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – November 2018

Briony Kidd joins us to talk the films of Park Chan-wook!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some of the new films from this month, including Steve McQueen’s heist drama Widows (0:55), the darkly comic Coen Bros Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (03:57), Boots Riley’s absurdist comedy Sorry To Bother You (07:38), and the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind (10:54).

They’re then joined by filmmaker, critic, and festival curator Briony Kidd to talk about a recent BBC poll of the hundred greatest foreign language films. There were only four women directors accounted for in the list, so is the problem a lack of female filmmakers, or is it the lists themselves that are the issue? (14:58)

Briony then takes us through her filmmaker of the month, Park Chan-wook. Park is maybe South Korea’s best-known director, with films like Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Olboy and Lady Vengeance cementing him as a global cult figure. With the English-language Stoker and the acclaimed The Handmaiden certifying him as one of the modern greats, we look at why there’s so much more to this filmmaker than the bloody vengeance that made him famous. (27:13)

The Park Chan-wook 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 feature that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

OLDBOY (2003) and STOKER (2013)

It was the revenge trilogy that forced the name “Park Chan-wook” into every cinephiliac’s conversation in the mid-2000s, and the middle segment that made the trilogy itself a thing of legend. Fifteen years on, Oldboy is as wild, shocking, and (in parts) intentionally hilarious as it was upon its release. Usually, the years dull the sharp edges of the more sensationalist works, but not here. That’s why you’ll need to follow it up with something lighter, and only in Park’s filmography could the violent melodramatic thriller Stoker be considered lighter fare. Park didn’t miss a step as he leapt into English language cinema, directing Aussies Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Jacki Weaver in a seductively gothic tale of dysfunctional family and mysterious strangers.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Oldboy, seek out Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002). Think Oldboy is full-on? Then line your stomach with something sturdy, because its antecedent makes it look like multiplex fodder. Mr Vengeance begins with deaf-mute factory worker losing his job and worrying about how he’s going to find a kidney transplant for his dying sister. And then it gets bleak. If you can’t get or have already seen Stoker, get your hands on The Handmaiden (2016). This erotic psychological thriller (look, that’s what Wikipedia calls it) is one of the most deftly-constructed films of recent memory, with just the right amount of twists and turns, and an astonishingly satisfying ending.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Park Chan-wook? Then you should track down Joint Security Area (2000). It’s not a terribly obscure title for Park fans, but given it was released prior to the vengeance trilogy, it may have escaped the attention of many. Which is a shame, because if you can make it through the first act (which admittedly plays like a badly-translated episode of JAG), you’ll find a film that is clever, political, touching, and funny.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Briony Kidd talking the films of Park Chan-wook, will be released on 30 November 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Briony Kidd

Filmmaker, film festival founder, and Hi4H November 2018 guest host Briony Kidd

If there’s anyone who fits the multi-hyphenate brief, it’s Briony Kidd.

Briony’s a Hobart-based filmmaker who wrote and directed the 2011 short The Room at the Top of the Stairs, which screened around the world at festivals and can be viewed on the Shudder platform. She’s currently in development on a feature film inspired by the “psycho-biddy” films of the 1960s, which is supported by Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania

She has reviewed films for the Jakarta Post, and written articles about cinema and social issues for The Guardian, The Mercury, and SBS Movies, and has recently been appointed to the board of the newly-formed national Women in Film an Television Australia.

Briony is well-known as the co-founder of Stranger With My Face, a popular festival showcasing and celebrating women genre directors, named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the world’s 15 Bloody Best Genre Fests.

But, as tends to be the case with all of our guests, all of that pales in comparison to her next role: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!

So which filmmaker has she chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Park Chan-wook!

Park is perhaps South Korea’s most renowned working filmmaker. It was his fourth film, 2002’s Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, that brought him to international attention, and follow-up, 2003’s Oldboy, certified him as a must-see filmmaker.

Although he’s best known for his vengeance trilogy – which began with the aforementioned films and concluded with 2005’s Lady Vengeance – Park has not been afraid to dip his feet into a variety of genres. He’s made a political thriller in 2000’s Joint Security Area, a romantic comedy in 2006’s brilliantly-titled I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK, a religious vampire fantasy in 2009’s Thirst, and in his first English-language film, a family melodrama in 2013’s Stoker.

Most recently, he made the acclaimed drama The Handmaiden (2016), and has directed all six episodes of the John le Carré adaptation The Little Drummer Girl, which is currently airing on networks around the world.

But what is it about Park’s style that so appeals to Briony?

Join us on November 30 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Park Chan-wook

Derrickson On Wenders

We’ve had guests on the show who have had a personal connection to their filmmaker of the month. Brian Trenchard-Smith talked about Quentin Tarantino asking his advice on a rough cut. Edgar Wright talked about consulting with George Miller on how to film car chases. And we certainly got the personal touch when we talked about Robert Altman with his son Michael.

But we’d wager no guest to date has talked about their filmmaker subject with as much breadth as Scott Derrickson, who talks about Wim Wenders as a fan, as a collaborator, and as a close friend. Scott switches effortlessly between these modes as we traverse the eclectic, exciting, and never-dull filmography of the man who gave us classics like Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas.

Before we get to him, we look at some of the key new releases of this month, including Nicole Holofcener’s latest drama Land of Steady Habits, Bradley Cooper’s update of the classic Hollywood tale A Star Is Born, Damien Chazelle’s moon landing retelling First Man, and the Freddie Mercury + Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Further reading:

  • Check out our friends at Culture Capital talking A Star Is Born here on Soundcloud
  • Here’s some more detail on whether or not Neil Armstrong really did leave his daughter’s bracelet on the moon
  • Regardless of your own feelings on Bohemian Rhapsody, it would have been pretty interesting to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s take on Freddie Mercury
  • So what does a Bob Dylan painting of a Wim Wenders shot look like? Check it out
  • We’re pretty sure that this is the shot described by Scott, taken at Ground Zero by Wim
The newly-built World Trade Centre from Alice in the Cities (1974)
John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) from Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, and Dennis (John Paul Getty III) in Wim Wenders’s The State of Things
People with that name just have a thing for guys in red hats

Outro music: Chan Chan from the Buena Vista Social Club

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Scott Derrickson talking the films of Wim Wenders, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.