Tag Archives: cassandra magrath

Magrath On Von Trier

It had to happen eventually. Sometimes, a well-known filmmaker is chosen for Hyphenates, and we'll often have no idea which direction the discussion will go. But with directors like Lars Von Trier, you have a pretty solid idea of what kind of discussion is about to take place.

Sure enough, the question of whether he's an empty provocateur or a misunderstood genius is one that forms the backbone to this episode - but we doubt most Von Trier debates are half as entertaining as the one we've had with the brilliant Cassandra Magrath, who was the perfect person to help us see out 2018.

And speaking of seeing out 2018, we also continued our tradition of ending the year with a comparison of our favourite films from said year. Prepare to be completely and utterly shocked, or even just mildly surprised. We'd be happy with mildly surprised.

But before we get to all that, we kick off by looking back at some of the key films of the month, including Alfonso Cuarón’s biographical drama Roma, Yorgos Lanthimos’s acerbic historical comedy The Favourite, Susanne Bier’s sensory apocalyptic thriller Bird Box, and Gaspar Noé’s dance-filled horror Climax.

Further reading:

  • If you're not up to date on Aussie podcasts putting people behind bars, read this, then catch up on Teacher's Pet
  • The story about John C Reilly dropping out of Manderlay can be read here
  • Thanks again to Umbrella Entertainment for giving us an advance copy of Von Trier's The House That Jack Built - keep an eye on their website for news on the release
  • Weirdly enough, the (faked) scene of animal cruelty from that film has been praised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
  • Here's some more detail on that whole Von Trier/Nazi/Cannes controversy
  • The story behind Lars discovering the shocking identity of his real father (which gives more context to the whole Nazi thing) can be read here
  • If you're wondering why we kept talking about “Dogme 95” without really explaining it (sorry), you can read the manifesto here
  • And if you want to compare them to Soderbergh's rules for 2002's Full Frontal and see if Lee is just playing favourites, you can read his list here
  • If this episode left you hungry for more passionate pro-Von Trier opinions, it's worth checking out this piece by Amy Simmons over at Senses of Cinema

Outro music: Young Americans by David Bowie from Dogville (2003)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Cassandra Magrath talking the films of Lars Von Trier, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – December 2018

Cassandra Magrath joins us to talk the films of Lars Von Trier!

Actor and producer Cassandra Magrath (Wolf Creek, SeaChange, Wentworth) joins Rochelle and Lee to talk about some of the key films from the past month, including Alfonso Cuarón’s biographical drama Roma (01:30), Yorgos Lanthimos’s acerbic historical comedy The Favourite (4:21), Susanne Bier’s sensory apocalyptic thriller Bird Box (08:53), and Gaspar Noé’s dance-filled horror Climax (14:50).

They then compare their favourite films of 2018: how many crossovers and surprises lie within their lists? (23:03)

Then, Cassandra takes us through the works of her filmmaker of the month, Lars Von Trier. The Danish director is best known for brutal, challenging works like Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. He’s a controversial, divisive figure equally loved and hated by film fans across the world. So is Von Trier a provocateur who prefers shock tactics to sincerity, or a misunderstood maestro with something to say? (30:07)

The Lars Von Trier 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…


The work that put Von Trier on the map was 1996's Breaking the Waves, a film about one woman's pain exploited by the society around her. Which doesn't really help distinguish it in the Von Trier oeuvre if we're being honest. But with a vérité style and a phenomenal performance from Emily Watson, it's a film that is as intense a watch today as it was 22 years ago. Follow that up with Melancholia, the second part of Von Trier's cheerfully-titled Depression Trilogy. Lars sinks his legs into proper genre territory, with planetary collision an unlikely yet effective metaphor for depression. Watch these films back-to-back (if you can), and you should have some idea of what drives the Danish Defeatist.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Breaking the Waves, seek out Dancer in the Dark (2000). The bleakest musical you'll ever see feels is the third part of Von Trier's Golden Heart Trilogy, because the man is more obsessed with thematic trilogies than Krzysztof Kieślowski. If you can't get or have already seen Melancholia, get your hands on Antichrist (2009). This story of grief, depression, and the insidious side of nature will make you want to scissor off your private parts faster than you can intone “CHAOS REIGNS”.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Lars Von Trier? Then you should track down Medea (1988). Von Trier made this adaptation for television, and it's as close as you'll see to a filmmaker origin story happening in real time. Tackling literature's ur-woman scorned - as well as the profoundly grim shock of the plot twists - pretty much laid out the path Von Trier would follow for the bulk of his films.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Cassandra Magrath talking the films of Lars Von Trier, will be released on 31 December 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Cassandra Magrath

Actor, producer, and Hi4H December 2018 guest host Cassandra Magrath

Long before she landed what is arguably her most iconic role to date, Cassandra Magrath was burning it up on Aussie screens. She was a regular on iconic TV shows like Ocean Girl and SeaChange, she guested on high profile programs Janus and Blue Heelers, and scored her movie debut in the 1996 comedy Hotel de Love. But it was her starring role in 2005's terrifying smash hit horror Wolf Creek that cemented her in pop culture.

Since then, Cassandra's been spotted in films, TVs, and music video, with credits that include Neighbours, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Summer Coda, Utopia, Wentworth, Jack Irish, and heaps more.

Now, she is preparing to close out 2018 with her greatest role to date: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!

But who has she chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Lars von Trier!

Von Trier is the notorious and award-winning filmmaker who co-founded the notorious Dogme 95 movement. He's best known for Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nyphomaniac, and his upcoming film The House That Jack Built has already courted its own share of controversy.

He is as divisive as his films, and rarely makes a film that doesn't rile up audiences and critics alike.

So what it is about his work that Cassandra finds so intriguing?

Join us on December 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Lars Von Trier