Tag Archives: jane campion

Hyde On Campion

Hyde On Campion

The moment we started using Skype on the show, it opened up our guest options considerably. We were able to record with Brian Trenchard-Smith when he was on the Gold Coast in pre-production on Drive Hard, as well as Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen in Sydney, C Robert Cargill in Texas, Lynn Shelton in Seattle, Drew McWeeny in Los Angeles and Desiree Akhavan in London. It’s been brilliant.

That said, the recordings are always more fun when we do them in person, because you can’t beat the energy of everyone being in the room at the same time. So when our guest Sophie Hyde – who we were originally going to Skype with from her home in Adelaide – told us she was going to be in Melbourne two weeks earlier, we jumped at the chance to record the episode with all of us together. It did mean hurriedly finishing our Jane Campion refresh marathon ahead of the planned schedule, but it was totally worth it.

We had such an insanely great time chatting to Sophie, we almost forgot to record the actual episode. Good thing we did, as this talk with her about the films of Jane Campion is an absolute corker.

Because everyone knows Jane Campion, and everyone knows the films she’s made, but few people talk about her style. What does the Jane Campion style look like? When you step back and look at her works as a whole, what emerges? You might be surprised to discover the answer, not to mention which of her films that all three of us consider to be a masterpiece. Particularly given how said film was received upon its release.

We also review a few of this month’s new releases: Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy. It’s crazily fortuitous that we end up talking about Xavier Dolan on our Jane Campion episode. Why? Check out the following amazing clip from the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

As if all that wasn’t enough, we also ask a question that’s been on our minds since last year: with the recent massive shifts in how entertainment is consumed and how audiences gravitate towards it, does it put pressure on independent dramas to use high-concept hooks to reinforce their authenticity? We’re thinking in particular of the real-time shoots of two of last year’s biggest dramas: Boyhood and 52 Tuesdays. It’s an important question to ask, and one you can’t possibly pass up when you have the director of 52 Tuesdays right there in the room.

If you’ve never listened to Hyphenates before, then this is a really good one to start with. We talk about the films you’ve also watched over the past month, we cover an important topic with someone who is an undeniable expert in it, and have one of Australia’s most exciting new filmmakers talking about one of Australia’s most legendary. We’ve really got it all this month. We even released the episode on Jane Campion’s birthday. Now that’s synergy, we assume.

If you want to brush up on the films of Jane Campion first, remember to check out our Cheat Sheet here, before listening to the episode here.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – April 2015

Filmmaker Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) joins the Hyphenates as we look at this month’s new releases, ask if independent dramas need a high-concept hook to attract attention in the current media landscape, and explore the works of the legendary trans-Tasman auteur Jane Campion.

The Jane Campion Cheat Sheet

Jane Campion

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: a double that will bring you totally up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

JC Films

THE PIANO (1993) and BRIGHT STAR (2009)

Campion was already well known for Sweetie and An Angel At My Table, but it was The Piano that really put her on the map. A critical and commercial success, it won three Academy Awards (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay), and earned $140 million worldwide, a figure that was even more extraordinary in 1993 than it is now. But all that money and those awards are just window dressing: the real reason you need to watch The Piano is that it is still a stunning masterpiece, from its rich, analogous script to its sweeping cinematography. 22 years on, it’s every bit as powerful as it was on its release. Maybe even more so. You’ll want to follow that up with a viewing of Bright Star, Campion’s 2009 film about the romance between Fanny Brawne and poet John Keats. On the surface, it looks a lot like The Piano: a period film in which passionate people struggle to convey that passion through the performance and appreciation of art. But underneath those superficial similarities, Bright Star is an entirely different work, deliberately restrained and distant. Watch these two back-to-back to see how an auteur such as Campion can take two strikingly similar outlines and create two entirely distinct and almost antithetical works.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen The Piano, swap it out for Campion’s debut feature Sweetie (1989). If can’t get or have already seen Bright Star, check out The Portrait of a Lady (1996), her Henry James adaptation starring Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey.

The Hidden Gem: Want to seek out something from off the beaten track? Try Campion’s controversial film In The Cut (2003), with Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh, a dark and surprisingly existential thriller about a woman who may possibly have encountered a serial killer.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Sophie Hyde talking Jane Campion, will be released on the morning of April 30 (AEST).

Our Next Hyphenate Sophie Hyde

Writer, director and April 2015 Hyphenate Sophie Hyde
Writer, director and April 2015 Hyphenate Sophie Hyde

There’s no point in us disguising our tactics any longer: whenever we see a debut film we love, we immediately begin pursuing that filmmaker to be on the show before their career takes off and we have little hope of booking them.

Such is the case with last year’s 52 Tuesdays, an Australian film that knocked us both over. A coming-of-age story like no other, the film follows a 16-year-old girl who struggles to cope when her mother begins transitioning into a man. It was both set and filmed over the course of a year, as the pair spend their Tuesday afternoons together.

The film has just opened in the US to deservedly brilliant reviews, and we’re delighted that director Sophie Hyde will be our next guest.

But which filmmaker has she chosen to speak about on the show?

None other than one of Australia’s best-known filmmakers, Jane Campion!

Written and Directed by JC

Jane Campion is actually from New Zealand, but as with all successful New Zealand figures, we pretty quickly figured out a way to claim her for Australia. She received a lot of attention for her debut film Sweetie (1989) and her follow-up An Angel At My Table (1990), but it was The Piano (1993) with Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill that well and truly put her on the map.

From there, she made films such as The Portrait of a Lady (1996), Holy Smoke (1999), In the Cut (2003) and Bright Star (2009), and recently received huge acclaim for her mini-series Top of the Lake.

What is it about Campion’s works that so appeal to Sophie Hyde? To find out, check back in with us when the episode is released on April 30.

Jane Campion
Our next filmmaker of the month, Jane Campion