Tag Archives: antonia bird

Hardie On Bird

Hardie On Bird

There's always something a bit special when our guest has a personal connection to the filmmaker they're here to discuss. In the case of our guest Kate Hardie, it was particularly fascinating to hear her discuss the works of Antonia Bird given she was both a collaborator and a huge fan of Bird's work.

Kate and Antonia worked together numerous times, notably on the acclaimed telemovies Safe (1993) and Rehab (2003), and Kate has a unique insight into Antonia's directorial style and technique. To have such a personal angle on one of cinema's most underrated filmmakers is roundly fantastic.

But we don't just stop at Antonia Bird. This month we dip back into our semi-regular mini-Hi4H segment, in which we choose a director who may not have made enough films to qualify them for the main event. This month, it's acclaimed experimental filmmaker and documentarian Shirley Clarke.

Clarke is one of the true visionaries of modern cinema, with short films such as Dance in the Sun (1953) and the Oscar-nominated Skyscraper (1960), the groundbreaking mockumentary The Connection (1962) and the Oscar-winning documentary Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel With the World (1963). If you've never seen any of her films, we flatter ourselves that this is a good place to start.

But before we get into our two filmmaker spotlights, we also take a look at three of this month's films, including improvised comedy Black Mountain Poets, single-take feature film Victoria, and comedy/drama Our Little Sister.

All this in one single hour of audio. Plus jokes! And you can subscribe via iTunes, download or stream from our website, or use your podcast-listening app of choice. Whatever works best for you.

Further reading:

Outro music: score from Ravenous (1999), composed by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Kate Hardie talking the films of Shirley Clarke and Antonia Bird, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed via our website.

Shirley Clarke
This month’s mini-Hyphenate, the incredible Shirley Clarke

Hell Is For Hyphenates – April 2016

Actor and filmmaker Kate Hardie joins the Hyphenates this month, as we look at some of the key films released in April 2016, including Jamie Adams’ improvised comedy Black Mountain Poets, Sebastian Schipper’s single-take feature Victoria and Hirokazu Koreeda’s comedy/drama Our Little Sister. Kate, Sophie and Lee then look at the films of legendary documentarian Shirley Clarke for our semi-regular mini-Hyphenates segment. Finally, Kate takes us through the career of her filmmaker of the month - a filmmaker Kate worked with on many occasions - the brilliant Antonia Bird.

The Antonia Bird Cheat Sheet

Antonia Bird Directs

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…

AB Films

PRIEST (1994) and RAVENOUS (1999)

Without a doubt these were - and remain - director Antonia Bird's biggest critical and commercial hits, and her hallmark films. And they're quite a pair: Priest, her debut feature won the double honour of a Michael Powell Award and a call for a ban from the Catholic Church. It follows a Catholic priest (Linus Roache) in 1990s Liverpool facing a loss of faith because of his sexuality (but who wouldn't fall in love with Robert Carlyle?) and a parishioner's terrible confession. Ravenous is the film The Revenant wishes it had the balls to be: a wild, bloody (funny) satire on cannibal colonialism, bear trap included. Carlyle - more Begbie than big softy here - brought Bird onto the project three weeks before shooting after the original director left, and she gets to express a ferocity and appetite for physical drama not seen since her TV drama Safe (1993).

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Priest, you must watch 1993's Safe, where Aiden Gillen and Kate Hardie boil with the energy of a British Mean Streets. If you can't get or have already seen Ravenous, then switch up to 1997's Face, possibly the best of the ‘lock, stock' bunch (Winstone, check; Davis, check), and certainly the only one a) starring Gerry Conlon, and b) where the gangster's driven by the demise of socialism.

The Hidden Gem: Has to be The Hamburg Cell (2004), the first film to grasp the nettle of understanding the 9/11 bombers, which was buried in by a nervous HBO. Bird's use of CCTV is genius, generating claustrophobia - but also a strange intimacy with the young men under surveillance. The best kind of uncomfortable and necessary viewing.

Our Next Hyphenate Kate Hardie

Kate Hardie
Actor, filmmaker and April 2016 Hyphenate Kate Hardie

Kate Hardie has a pretty impressive CV: starring alongside Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, with Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom, with Richard E Grant and Judi Dench in Tim Sullivan's Jack & Sarah, with Clive Owen and Gina McKee in Mike Hodges' Croupier, she's had a lot of first-hand experience with great cinema.

She is also an accomplished filmmaker, writing and directing works including the short film Shoot Me!, the Playhouse Presents episode Mr Understood, and the Coming Up episode Lickle Bill Um.

But her most exciting role is coming up in a few weeks when Kate joins us our next guest on Hell Is For Hyphenates!

Which filmmaker has Kate chosen to discuss with us?

It's British director Antonia Bird!

Directed by Antonia Bird

Antonia Bird was a prolific director on television, working on Eastenders, Casualty, The Bill and many others. But it was her film work that made her a cult figure: the 1994 religious drama Priest, 1997's crime thriller Face, and 1999's colonial cannibal hit Ravenous solidified her reputation as a sharp, stylish filmmaker with a distinct directorial flair.

So what is it about Bird's work that so appeals to Kate? Join us on April 30 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Antonia Bird