Tag Archives: gregg araki

Watts On Araki

Watts On Araki
Richard Watts (left) and his filmmaker of the month Gregg Araki (right)

We always knew we were going to have the wonderful Richard Watts on sooner or later, so we asked him about a year-and-a-half ago which filmmaker he'd pick. He didn't appear to need any time to think about it, immediately answering with “Gregg Araki”.

Araki's such a great Hyphenates choice: he's got a strong authorial voice, a surprising number of titles in his filmography were unknown to us, and he'd only made about a dozen films to date. (This last one sounds trite, but the occasional short filmography can be very appealing given we try to watch everything.) So we were excited by the choice, and even more intrigued once we dove into his works.

But hey, that’s not all. We also talk about some of December’s new releases (Mike Leigh's Mr Turner, Paul King's Paddington, Chris Williams & Don Hall's Big Hero 6, and Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies), and count down our respective top five films of the year.

All this in our one hour show! Crazy, right? What’s crazier is not getting it in your ear holes right now. Listen to it on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribe via iTunes, or right here.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – December 2014

Arts journalist and broadcaster Richard Watts guest hosts this episode of Hyphenates, talking about the films of December 2014, comparing notes on the best films of the year, and looking at the films and career of indie filmmaker and key figure in the New Queer Cinema movement, Gregg Araki.

The Gregg Araki Cheat Sheet

Gregg ArakiWant to be knowledgeable about our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: a suggested double that will make you an insta-expert in the director we're about to discuss…

GA Films


Gregg Araki was one of the biggest names in the New Queer Cinema movement, and of his early films, Totally F***ed Up is probably the best example of this. The first part of Araki's thematic Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy is angsty and lighthearted, dramatic and hilarious. It's stylish but also very genuine, and has a potent MTV aesthetic that makes it feel very, very 1993. And we mean that in a good way. After that, give Mysterious Skin a spin. This is not particularly emblematic of his work, but it's key to understanding Araki as a filmmaker, and features him at the height of his talents. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a teenage hustler, unable to shake off the memories of a childhood trauma. It's full-on yet brilliant, and is career-defining stuff from Araki as well as his cast. It simply must be seen.

Substitutions: If you can't get Totally F***ed Up, try The Doom Generation (1995). If you can't get Mysterious Skin, try Kaboom (2010).

The Hidden Gem: We like to recommend a film that's off the beaten path, but that term applies to nearly everything Araki made. Nevertheless, you should try for Splendor (1999), his polygamous romantic comedy that is equal parts parody and sincerity.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Richard Watts talking Gregg Araki, will be released on the morning of December 31 (AEST).

Our Next Hyphenate: Richard Watts

Arts journalist and December 2014 Hyphenate Richard Watts
Arts journalist and December 2014 Hyphenate Richard Watts

Richard Watts has been on our guest wishlist since about five minutes after we came up with the concept of Hyphenates, so we're pretty excited to end 2014 with him. He is, after all, the busiest arts journalist we know, and we're still not entirely convinced there isn't a fleet of Richard Watts Clones out there covering the Australian arts scene from every angle imaginable.

If this theory is correct, then we're delighted to have one of the Clones joining us. If you're somehow not familiar with his work, Richard will this Thursday celebrate a full decade as the host of Triple R's SmartArts, he is the National Performing Arts Journalist at ArtsHub, he was the Artistic Director of Express Media for five years, and spent seven years on the board of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, including three years as chair. He has been involved in the programming of numerous festivals, including Next Wave, the National Young Writers' Festival, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

So which filmmaker has Richard opted to talk about?

Drumroll please: it’s US indie director Gregg Araki!

A Gregg Araki Movie

Araki was one of the biggest names in the New Queer Cinema movement, with films such as Three Bewildered People in the Night (1987), The Long Weekend (O' Despair) (1989), The Living End (1992) and Totally F***ed Up (1993) making his name on the festival circuit.

He reached a wider audience with 1995's cult film The Doom Generation, and is probably best known for his 2004 film Mysterious Skin, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michele Trachenberg and Elisabeth Shue. This year, he made White Bird in a Blizzard, with Shailene Woodley and Eva Green.

What is it about this filmmaker that Richard so admires, and why should all good cinephiles be more familiar with Araki's name? You'll have to listen in on December 31 to find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Gregg Araki