Tag Archives: abe forsythe

Forsythe On Bong

“Amongst all this chaos he’s just got a real truthful grasp on humanity. And that for me makes it so much more interesting when [you] throw it into these crazy worlds.”

It was a heap of fun having Abe Forsythe on the show this month, even if it was down a skype line. If you’ve not seen his films Ned and Down Under, you have you really should check them out. We’re hanging out for his next film, Little Monsters, because who doesn’t want to see Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad fighting zombies? Nobody, that’s who.

The show kicks off as ever with Rochelle and Lee looking back at some of this month’s key releases, including Star Wars origin story Solo, motherhood drama Tully, serial killer biopic My Friend Dahmer, and Aussie coming-of-age surf movie Breath.

We’re then joined by Abe as he discusses the challenges of making Australian films for an international audience, and what it is we could be doing to give our local product a wider appeal.

Then, Abe takes us through the career and works of his filmmaker of the month, Bong Joon-ho! If you’re not familiar with Bong’s work, there’s definitely something in his career for you. Do you like police procedurals? Murder mystery thrillers? Monster movies? Dystopian futures? Heartwarming dramas about a girl and her giant pig? If that hasn’t sold you, hearing Abe describe what makes Bong’s films so memorable and rewatchable sure will.

We talked about how Bong likes the visual of a background crowd watching our foreground protagonists, be they imagined (in Barking Dogs Never Bite) or real (in Memories of Murder)

Further reading:

  • For more on the main competing theories as to original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were replaced on Solo, Variety suggests big franchises are afraid of filmmakers with unique vision, while an anonymous actor who apparently worked on Solo told Vulture that Lord and Miller weren’t ready.
  • If you’d like to see Rochelle go into more detail about her thoughts on Tully, you can check out her review at It’s Better in the Dark.
  • If you enjoyed the awkward reminder that the amazing Lynn Shelton once appeared on Hyphenates, then you’ll love the episode itself! Listen back to her chatting with us about the films of Claire Denis.
  • “There were lots of filmmakers that I could talk about endlessly. Filmmakers like Peter Weir, Coen Bros, George Miller… I’m sure you’ve probably done all of these people before.” Abe wasn’t wrong; click the links to hear the love from Hi4H alumni Kriv Stenders, Martyn Pedler and Edgar Wright.
  • If you’d like to find out a little more about the unsolved South Korean murders that inspired Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, there’s a decent primer here, and a good review of the film at RogerEbert.com from critic Seongyong Cho who grew up in South Korea during the time of the murders.
  • You can watch most (but not all, sadly) of the excellent Bong Joon-ho short film series Incoherence by cliking on the following links: Incoherence 1: Cockroach, Incoherence 2: Up the Alleys, and the epilogue. Sadly, part three doesn’t appear to be readily available, but you definitely get the idea from this group.
  • If you’d like to watch Bong browse the Criterion closet and pick out his favourite films, there’s a video for that.
  • Would you like some more details on Bong Joon-ho’s next film Parasite? Here are some details that came out hours before this episode was released, informing us that filming began only days ago!

Outro music: score from Mother, composed by Byung-woo Lee

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Abe Forsythe talking the films of Bong Joon-ho, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

If there’s one thing auteurs like, it’s mothers. Just ask Albert Brooks, Bong Joon-ho, or Darren Aronofsky.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – May 2018

Abe Forsythe joins us to talk the films of Bong Joon-ho!

Rochelle and Lee look over some of the films they’ve seen this month, including Star Wars prequel Solo (00:40), Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody third collaboration Tully (06:07), serial killer biopic My Friend Dahmer (11:32), and Australian coming-of-age surf movie Breath (15:29).

Actor/writer/director Abe Forsythe joins us to talk about the challenges of making a local film for an international audience. After two very local films – the Ned Kelly comedy Ned (2003) and the Cronulla riots comedy Down Under (2016) – Abe has just wrapped production on zombie comedy Little Monsters, starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and originating Book of Mormon cast member Josh Gad, which has an undeniably broader built-in appeal. Abe talks about the different challenges of making films for wider audiences, and looks at the type of films Australia should consider making. (20:00)

Then, Abe takes us through the career and works of his filmmaker of the month, Bong Joon-ho! Bong is one of South Korea’s most popular filmmakers, making everything from monster movies like The Host to dramatic thrillers like Memories of Murder and Mother. In recent years he’s become an even bigger name, directing dystopian action film Snowpiercer and dramatic science fiction Okja. He’s an unconventional director with a unique eye, and his films are always infused with a real heart. Abe tells us which films got him hooked, why they mean so much to him, and the effect Bong’s films have had on his own. (32:39)

The Bong Joon-ho 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…

MEMORIES OF MURDER (2003) and OKJA (2017)

It’s safe to say Bong Joon-ho has never repeated himself, but if you absolutely had to divide his filmography into distinct hemispheres, you could justify labelling one basket “gritty murder mysteries in small towns” and another “high-concept, possibly involving a giant monster”. So kick your evening off with Memories of Murder, which we’ll reductively but usefully describe as the South Korean Zodiac. Inspired by the country’s first recorded serial killer, the film follows a local detective partnered with a city detective, and digs into the processes and mistakes the pair makes as they try to catch the killer. Not afraid of overselling this one: it’s easily one of the best modern police procedurals you’re likely to see. Once you’ve seen that, follow it up with Okja, The fantasy-action film follows a young girl who runs away to save the life of her beloved gigantic pig, falling in with a group of animal liberationists as they try to rescue the genetically engineered creature from the ominous Mirando Corporation. Beloved by audiences and critics, the film was nominated for a Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is available right this second on Netflix.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Memories of Murder, seek out Mother (2009). When her son is accused of a terrible murder, a woman who sells medicinal herbs sets about trying to prove his innocence, becoming increasingly forceful as she finds herself blocked at every turn. If you can’t get or have already seen Okja, get your hands on Snowpiercer (2013), which is also on Netflix, and also features a perfectly over-the-top Tilda Swinton performance. Our world has frozen over, and all that’s left of humanity resides in a super train that travels the world. The rich and powerful reside at the front, and the poor and destitute are kept at the back, at least until a group from the rear of the train decide it’s time to mount a revolution, and begin an odyssey through the microcosmic societies that have formed down the carriage line.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Bong Joon-ho? Then you should track down Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000). Bong’s first film foreshadows a lifelong preoccupation with idiosyncratic characters, his fascination with the relationship between humans and animals, and a tendency to lean on unexpected musical cues and styles. If you’re a fan of Bong, this is an essential and little-seen piece of the puzzle.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Abe Forsythe talking the films of Bong Joon-ho, will be released on 31 May 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Abe Forsythe

Actor, filmmaker and Hi4H May 2018 guest host Abe Forsythe

Abe Forsythe has been all over Australian film and television for as long as we can remember, noting of course that we can only remember as far back as about 1991. But still, that’s an impressive run.

As an actor, he’s starred in the hit series Always Greener, Fireflies, Laid, Howzat!, and plenty more. He’s appeared in feature films The Night We Called It a Day (2003), The Extra (2005), and Little Deaths (2007). And he’s also a filmmaker himself, writing and directing the Ned Kelly comedy Ned (2003), and the topical black comedy Down Under (2016). He’s also just wrapped production on zombie comedy Little Monsters with no less than Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad in the lead roles. And who could forget him as the lead in the 2005 thriller Lethal Cure? Happy hunting.

But, of course, his greatest role yet will be coming at the end of this month when he guest hosts the May edition of Hell Is For Hyphenates.

But which filmmaker has Abe chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Bong Joon-ho!

South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho is the director of the idiosyncratic comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), and the dark serial killer thriller Memories of Murder (2003). But he properly rose to international prominence when monster movie The Host (2006) became an instant cult favourite.

He directed a segment of the anthology Tokyo! (2008) alongside Leos Carax and Michel Gondry, and the dark thriller Mother (2009), before entering American cinema with the renowned dystopian action film Snowpiercer (2013). Recently, his animal-loving Okja (2017) was a hit when it was released on Netflix worldwide.

There’s an undeniable stylistic throughline to his films, despite the fact that he really hasn’t repeated himself in subject matter or style. So what is it that made him such a popular figure? And why does Australia’s own Abe Forsythe love his work so much?

Joins us on May 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Bong Joon-ho