Tag Archives: nicolas roeg

Moorhouse On Roeg

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There are few things more exciting to us than getting to hear a filmmaker we admire talk about the filmmaker who influenced them. It’s a special sort of insight that we rarely get, as writers and directors are more often quizzed about the films they themselves have made.

So what better way to explore the films of Nicolas Roeg (Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth) than through the eyes of someone whose career he influenced? We were more than a little excited when Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, How To Make an American Quilt, A Thousand Acres, The Dressmaker) agreed to join us this month, and the conversation we had with her about Roeg is one we know you’re going to enjoy.

But before we get into the chronologically-challenged bent reality of Nicolas Roeg, Sophie and Lee take a moment to look at some of this month’s films, including Marvel’s new mystical entry into the MCU Doctor Strange, David Yates and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and the surprisingly political plastic toy adaptation Trolls.

Then for our middle segment, we look at the results of the US election and ask the least-existentially terrifying question many cinephiles have been asking themselves this past weeks: what does film do now? How do documentary and fiction filmmakers navigate this unprecedented landscape? Can cinema play a role in coping with this new world, and if so, what role is that? We cover a lot of ground here, and if you agree or disagree feel free to tell us your thoughts in the episode’s comments section.

Further reading:

  • At the top of our Doctor Strange review, we mention that the film’s co-writer C Robert Cargill is himself a Hi4H alumnus! If you’ve not heard his episode yet (or marvelled at his filmmaker choice), have a listen to it here.
  • During the Fantastic Beasts chat, Sophie mentions having reviewed many of the original Harry Potter films for Sight and Sound. Although they don’t all appear to be freely available online, you can check out her review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.
  • Lee mentions an article from The Onion entitled “DNC Aiming To Reconnect With Working-Class Americans With New ‘Hamilton’-Inspired Lena Dunham Web Series” and you can read it here.
  • Indiewire published a couple of articles about cinema in the post-Trump world, including this one about how independent American cinema is likely to respond, and this one from the point-of-view of film critics (and the latter features a shout-out to Sophie!).
  • The tweet quoted by Lee – “donald trump looks like the villain in a movie where the hero is a dog” – appears to have originated with @ruinedpicnic
  • There is a reference made in the middle segment to the rumour that Trump deliberately sent Mike Pence to see Hamilton on Broadway in order to distract from other controversies. The details of the Hamilton encounter can be read about here.
  • During the recording we spontaneously decided to create a Christmas shopping list themed on this episode. You can pick up Jocelyn Moorhouse and PJ Hogan’s Unconditional Love (replete with its Don’t Look Now reference) from here; Nicolas Roeg’s memoir The World Is Ever Changing from here; and check out the trailer for the astonishing restoration of The Man Who Fell To Earth here.

Outro music: score from Don’t Look Now (1973), composed by Pino Donaggio

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

Hell Is For Hyphenates – November 2016

Filmmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse (ProofHow To Make An American QuiltA Thousand AcresThe Dressmaker) joins the show this month as we look back at some of the key releases of November 2016, including the new Marvel entry Doctor Strange, the Harry Potter prequel spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and DreamWorks Animation’s toy adaptation Trolls. They then look at what role cinema can take in the world following the results of this month’s US election: can films be a force for change, or will they simply be a coping mechanism? Then, Jocelyn takes Sophie and Lee through the career and works of the director who influenced her the most: English filmmaker Nicolas Roeg.

The Nicolas Roeg Cheat Sheet

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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…

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WALKABOUT (1971) and THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976)

You could probably write an essay on how Nicolas Roeg’s films depict Australia and Australians, from the two census takers in 1986’s Castaway to Bryan Brown as an existentialist masseuse in 1995’s Full Body Massage. But looming over these works it the masterpiece of cinema that is Walkabout. Two posh English schoolchildren (Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg) are abandoned in the Australian outback by their father, and are struggle to survive when they are found by a young Aboriginal man on walkabout (the legendary David Gulpilil in his first role). Australia is brutal and beautiful, and Roeg’s film is nothing short of a captivating masterpiece that, like Ted Kotcheff’s Wake In Fright the same year, suggests that Australia is never more fascinating than when viewed through the lens of a foreigner. Once you’ve seen that, check out The Man Who Fell To Earth. This strange, experimental film about an alien (David Bowie) who comes to Earth in search of water for his dying planet is experimental and strange in all the ways your expecting, and at least twelve that you’re not. The film is a staple of pop culture, but remains curiously divisive: it is perhaps too esoteric in parts, and even now many cinephiles fail to connect to it. But to understand Roeg and his style, it’s essential viewing, and the perfect film to watch either alone or with the weirder of your friends.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Walkabout, try 1973’s Don’t Look Now. Although the Venice-set thriller with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie may not seem of a kind with Walkabout, its disjointed, unsettling style establishes it as being the work of a filmmaker consumed with fear of an almost-mystical displacement that comes with unfamiliar places. If you can’t get or have already seen The Man Who Fell To Earth, check out that other experimental Roeg film featuring a legendary pop star from the 1970s: Performance. Mick Jagger stars in this reality-bending film about East London gangsters, rock stars and identity.

The Hidden Gem: Want to try something from off the beaten path? A Nicolas Roeg film that is rarely discussed? You’ll want to check out 1985’s Insignificance. The adaptation of the stage play by Terry Johnson speculates on what might have happened if Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph McCarthy had encountered each other one evening in a hotel. They’re never named as such – they’re The Professor, The Actress, The Ballplayer and The Senator – but there’s no mistaking them. It seems to have slipped into obscurity, but it’s a film that stretches far beyond its obvious “icons meet” setup into something far more profound and interesting.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Jocelyn Moorhouse talking Nicolas Roeg, will be released on 30 November 2016.

Our Next Hyphenate: Jocelyn Moorhouse

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Director, producer and November 2016 Hyphenate Jocelyn Moorhouse

One of the highlights of 2015 was that moment when The Dressmaker came out and everybody remembered how great Jocelyn Moorhouse is. It had been eighteen years since her last feature film (1997’s King Lear adaptation A Thousand Acres with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange and Jennifer Jason Leigh), and those of us who never fail to include her superb debut film (1991’s Proof with Hugo Weaving, Geneviève Picot and Russell Crowe) in our endlessly-reworked Best Australian Films Of All Time lists had been waiting with bated breath for her next movie.

There was only one thing that audiences have been clamouring for even more than a new Jocelyn Moorhouse film, and that was a Jocelyn Moorhouse guest appearance on Hell Is For Hyphenates.

This month, your prayers will finally be answered as Jocelyn joins us for our November 2016 episode. But which filmmaker has she chosen to discuss with us?

None other than English director Nicolas Roeg!

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After serving as director of photography on films as diverse as Rogert Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death (1964), François Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and Richard Lester’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), Nicolas Roeg turned his hand to directing.

His first five films have been burned into pop culture: the Mick Jagger drama Performance (1970), the Australian-set Walkabout (1971), the notorious thriller Don’t Look Now (1973), the David Bowie sci-fi The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), and Art Garfunkel mystery Bad Timing (1980).

From that point on, his filmography becomes less familiar. With a few exceptions – the Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches (1990), or the non-Vietnam War Joseph Conrad adaptation Heart of Darkness (1993) – the subsequent films failed to pierce public consciousness as keenly as his earlier works.

So why the sudden shift? Did Roeg’s style change, or was it the audience’s perception? And what is it about his films that won over and influenced Jocelyn?

Discover the answers when we talk the films of Nicolas Roeg on November 30!

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Our next filmmaker of the month, Nicolas Roeg