Tag Archives: david caesar

Caesar On Dumont

As much as we love it when a guest picks a pre-ordained canonical legend – a David Lynch, an Akira Kurosawa, a Martin Scorsese – there’s a lot of value in the left-field choices. Like, say, Bruno Dumont. That was not a name we were expecting to hear when we asked guest David Caesar who he wanted to talk to us about, but it turned out to be one of the more fascinating and eclectic filmographies we’ve ever covered on the show.

Before we get into Dumont, David joins us to look back at some of the key films of the month, including Steven Soderbergh’s basketball business drama High Flying Bird, Mimi Leder’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex, Dan Gilroy’s high-art horror-drama Velvet Buzzsaw, and Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.

Then, we talk look at some of the interviews Steven Soderbergh has been giving to promote High Flying Bird, and whether or not his approach to streaming distribution could help lift a flailing Australian film industry.

Further reading:

  • We look at Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird this month. If you can’t get enough Soderbergh (and, frankly, who can?) check out our Steven Soderbergh episode
  • Before we reviewed On the Basis of Sex, we looked at the documentary RBG here, in what we’re hoping will be a regular Ruth Bader Ginsburg review slot
  • That episode of the podcast More Perfect that delves into RBG’s approach of precedent-setting anti-sex discrimination cases by defending men, can be heard here
  • The Steven Soderbergh interviews that sparked our middle topic can be read here: Deadline, Indiewire, The Atlantic
  • Is David right about Netflix being US$10 billion in debt? Amazingly, yes
  • Here’s Bruno Dumont in The Guardian discussing the incredible Bernard Pruvost and his facial tics in P’tit Quinquin and Coincoin
  • Yes, Australia lags behind the world in directors making more than one film

And finally, for those who doubt that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband is as handsome as Armie Hammer, here’s a photo of RGB with her beloved:

Kidding. Here they are:

Outro music: Cause I Knew, written by Lisa Hartmann, performed by Lisa Hartmann and Didier Hennuyer, from P’tit Quinquin (2014)

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

Hell Is For Hyphenates – February 2019

David Caesar joins us to talk the films of Bruno Dumont!

Australian film and television director David Caesar joins Rochelle and Lee for a chat about some of the key new releases from this month, including Steven Soderbergh’s backroom NBA drama High Flying Bird (01:34), Mimi Leder’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex (09:50), Dan Gilroy’s high-art horror-drama Velvet Buzzsaw (17:07), and Barry Jenkins’s dramatic James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk (22:36).

Off the back of Steven Soderbergh’s comments on why making movies on your phone and releasing them onto Netflix may be the future of cinema for certain filmmakers, could this model be the very thing needed to inject life into the Australian film industry? (29:48)

Then, David takes us through the works of his filmmaker of the month, Bruno Dumont. Dumont is a divisive figure, whose films are loved and hated by audiences and critics alike. So how does a filmmaker go from making vérité films dripping with realism to high-concept farces, supernatural comedies, and medieval musicals with head-banging metal solos? We take a deep dive into this fascinating filmography to find out. (40:23)

The Bruno Dumont 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…

L’HUMANITÉ (1999) and CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 (2013)

Bruno Dumont’s second film, L’Humanité, has a lot in common with his first: there’s death and predation in rural northern France, there are incredibly awkward sex scenes, there’s even a mysterious vehicle driving manically through the sleepy northern French town. What starts out with all the familiar trappings of a murder mystery tale – a girl has been murdered, and it’s up to our protagonist detective to figure out who did it – turns into something far more sedate and low-key. The film won three awards at Cannes, including the Grand Prix, and cemented Dumont as a filmmaker to watch. But despite his recurrent themes, he’s not afraid to mix it up, as you’ll see when you put on your second film for the evening: Camille Claudel 1915. Almost everything about this film is the inverse of what we’d seen from him up to this point: it’s a true story, it’s a period film, it features professional actors, he even makes it in the south of France. And yet it’s still recognisably Dumont, intimate and intense. Juliette Binoche plays the famed sculptor Claudel during her time in a psychiatric hospital in Neuilly-sur-Marne. The type of gear-shift Dumont takes at this point in his career seems to signal a more experimental and diverse phase, one that seems him eager to explore different genres and themes. Watch these two films back-to-back and you’ll be able to match wits with even the most hardened Dumont devotee.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen L’Humanité, seek out La Vie De Jesus (1997). Dumont’s debut feature centres on a young man with limited options in life, and the ways in which he takes it out on the world around him. If you can’t get or have already seen Camille Claudel 1915, get your hands on Ma Loute (2016). Again teaming with Binoche, Dumont crafts an absurdist comedy more akin to Laurel and Hardy or Jacques Tati than Ken Loach. It’s a film worth seeing just to confirm it exists, because if anyone described it to you, you’d doubt it was real.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Bruno Dumont? Then you should track down Hadewijch (2009). The only Dumont film set in a city, Hadewijch follows a young girl whose fanatical devotion to Christ sees her expelled from a nunnery for going too far. Returning to her family in Paris, she finds herself drawn to the teachings of an Islamic extremist. It’s a bold film, and one that marks the preoccupation that atheist Dumont has with the effect of all religion.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring David Caesar talking the films of Bruno Dumont, will be released on 28 February 2019.

Our Next Hyphenate David Caesar

Writer, director, and Hi4H February 2019 guest host David Caesar

Our next guest is a prolific Aussie filmmaker who’s been working steadily in both film and television for years.

You might know him from his collaborations with Ben Mendelsohn in Australiana comedies Idiot Box (1996), Mullet (2001) and Prime Mover (2009). He also made the period crime comedy Dirty Deeds (2002), featuring Bryan Brown, Toni Collette, John Goodman, Sam Neill, and Sam Worthington, and directed the TV-to-film adaptation Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows.

He’s been prolific on television, directing episodes of RFDS, Water Rats, All Saints, Miss Fisher’s Muder Mysteries, Underbelly, Love Child and many more.

For audiences of a certain generation, he’s perhaps most recognisable from his role as one of the judges on Race Around the World, the 1997 ABC series that propelled John Safran to fame. Caesar was, for our money, the first iteration of the quintessentially antagonistic “mean” TV judge, and should really be sent regular royalties from Simon Cowell and all the other imitators.

But forget all that, because David’s about to experience his greatest credit to date: that of Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!

Which filmmaker has he chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Bruno Dumont!

Dumont has been making feature films since the late 1990s, first known for his gritty rural French dramas La vie de Jésus (1997) and L’humanite (1999), the latter of which won him the Grand Prix at Cannes. He’s dipped his toe into existential horror with Twentynine Palms (2003), gone to war in Flandres (2006), and explored the effects of religion in Hadewijch (2009) and Hors Satan (2011).

He often works with nonprofessional actors, but has recently begun collaborating with stars like Juliette Binoche for the period biopic Camille Claudel 1915 (2013) and the high-concept comedy Ma Loute (2016).

Dumont has also worked in TV, his mini-series P’tit Quinquin (2014) becoming a smash hit and prompting him to make the follow-up Coincoin et les z’inhumains (2018), which you should really track down immediately.

He has just wrapped production on a sequel to his 2017 film, Jeanette, l’enfance de Jeanne d’Arc (2017), a musical about Joan of Arc featuring young Joan headbanging to the heavy metal she’s also singing. Seriously. It’s a trip.

As you can probably tell, Dumont is clearly one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. But what is it about his films that appeals to David so much? Join us on February 28 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Bruno Dumont