Tag Archives: maurice pialat

Guadagnino On Pialat

“What I am absolutely stunned by is that [Pialat's] cinema is absolutely disconnected [to] the idea of an artificial fabricated idea of reality, but it's actually soaked into reality.”

This probably goes without saying, but if you ever get the chance to chat with Luca Guadagnino about film and philosophy and gaze into his eyes for 20 minutes, do not pass it up.

Having Luca on the show to talk about his love for the films of Maurice Pialat is incredible enough in and of itself, but as you will have heard by now (we hope), there's also a moment where he talks about the Instagramification of memory. We live in an age where we can access every film, every image, in an instant. Thanks to home video and streaming services, we can watch the complete works of, say, Maurice Pialat, should the urge take us. Once upon a time, we'd have had to live near a repertory cinema, and been at the mercy of both the programmers' whims and the libraries they had access to.

This may sound like hell to younger film fans, but there was an additional value to works when they were rarer and harder to find. This is the point that Luca makes, and it's an observation that we agree with despite the fact that our show would not actually be possible in a pre-streaming, pre-DVD age. So that's something to chew on.

But hey, this episode isn't exclusively about Luca Guadagnino, Maurice Pialat, and the double-edged sword of instant access: we also talk about some of this month's new releases, including Woody Allen's period melodrama Wonder Wheel, Alexander Payne's shrinking fantasy Downsizing, Luca Guadagnino's Italian romance Call Me By Your Name, and Rian Johnson's franchise-busting Star Wars - Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

And then, because it's the last show of the year, we take stock of the year of cinema and compare our top five lists. Which five films impressed us the most? Which title made both lists? Which choice will make you, the listener, most angry?

There's a metric ton of content in this month's episode, and we think you'll agree that we've ended the year with a bang!

Luca and Lee talking Maurice Pialat back in early August (photo credit: Asha Holmes)

Further reading:

  • In this show, we look at Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel and Alexander Payne's Downsizing. If you'd like to hear us talk about their filmographies in more detail, listen back to our Woody Allen episode here, and Alexander Payne episode here.
  • We also talk about the new Star Wars, and if you want to compare our reactions, we looked at The Force Awakens here, and talked Rogue One here. No prequels, though. Podcasts weren't that big back in 1999.
  • Luca briefly mentions that he was into Fassbinder films prior to discovering Pialat. For his enjoyment and yours, here's our episode devoted to the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
  • Luca talks about watching Pialat getting booed at Cannes for Under the Sun of Satan. You can find this vision on the DVD (or, at least, the DVD that we watched), but if you want to see him being booed at his moment of triumph, click here. (No English subtitles, sadly, but boos are universal.)
  • We talk about how Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh makes him one of many notable directors to have made a film about the famous painter. He joins the pantheon of Vincent Van Gogh filmmakers we've discussed on the show, including Vincente Minnelli who made Lust For Life (1956), Robert Altman who made Vincent and Theo (1990), and Akira Kurosawa, who cast Martin Scorsese as Van Gogh in his film Dreams (1990). Now if a future guest could pick Paul Cox or Alain Resnais, we'd be close to the full set.
  • Luca recommends that we watch interviews with Pialat, so here's a good one to get you started: in a 1972 TV interview, Pialat looks back at 1968's L'enfance nue with a French host who is sporting some truly impressive hair.
  • Rochelle's 2016 interview with Luca when he was out for A Bigger Splash can be read on SBS Movies.
  • The Washington Post review that Rochelle refers to - the one that suggests a favourable alternative to watching Pialat's Under the Sun of Satan would be to “stay at home and hit yourself over the head with a hammer” - can be read here.
  • We were considering putting an image of that moment from Vertigo alongside that moment from I Am Love, but given what Luca says about the Instagram generation, that would entirely miss the point, wouldn't it? So instead we recommend that you remember them both. Right now! Pretty good, eh?

Huge thanks to Sony Pictures Australia, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and Asha Holmes Publicity for making the interview with Luca possible.

Outro music: Human Behaviour by Björk from Le Garçu (1995)

And don't forget to check out our 2017 Year In Review, featuring our rundown of the year that was, plus a collection of our alumni's best-of-the-year lists!

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

Lying in the Summer grass and enjoying peaches, just like the characters from the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Hell Is For Hyphenates – December 2017

Luca Guadagnino joins us to talk the films of Maurice Pialat!

Rochelle and Lee kick off the show by debating some of the key films of this month, including Woody Allen’s period melodrama Wonder Wheel (00:57), Alexander Payne’s shrinking fantasy Downsizing (03:44), Luca Guadagnino’s Italian romance Call Me By Your Name (08:55), and Rian Johnson’s franchise-busting Star Wars - Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (13:05).

It’s the last show for the year, and that means it’s time to for everyone to be bold and announce their picks for the best films of 2017. Rochelle and Lee compare their lists of top five new releases. (19:41)

Then, acclaimed writer/director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name) joins us to talk the films of Maurice Pialat! The late filmmaker is not as widely known as many of his contemporaries, but was an important figure in France’s cinema from the 1960s through to the 1990s. His films were huge box office hits, were critically celebrated, and won numerous international awards, yet he is not a household name, even among many cinephiles. So what is it about Pialat’s films that so appeal to Luca? And how has the ease with which we can now locate and watch Pialat’s films affected our enjoyment of them? (24:52)

The Maurice Pialat 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…


Maurice Pialat's first feature film, Naked Childhood, was released in 1968. It was considered by critics to be a social commentary, but Pialat disagreed. His beautiful debut about foster children trying to fit in with their adopted families deliberately avoided the fraught political arguments of late 1960s France, and instead concentrated on the real lives of the French working class. It showcases the stunning naturalistic performances that would become a hallmark of Pialat's work, and immediately cemented him as one of France's best emerging auteurs. The film was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was awarded the Prix Jean Vigo in France. At a pacey 83 minutes, it's the perfect film to kick off this double, which continues with his 1987 film Under the Sun of Satan. Gerard Depardieu stars as a zealous rural priest determined to save the soul of a young woman, played by the extraordinary Sandrine Bonnaire, who has shot dead her lover. It is a deeply religious film clearly made by a self-professed atheist, and is a starkly beautiful and chilling masterpiece. It was the first French film in 21 years to win the Palm d'Or at Cannes, a decision that was met with some controversy, as you'll hear on the show. Watch these films back-to-back and you'll not only have a perfect evening of film viewing, but you'll come away with a firm grasp on the filmmaker Pialat was and the filmmaker he became.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Naked Childhood, seek out To Our Loves (1983). The screen debut of frequent Pialat collaborator Sandrine Bonnaire, the story of a family threatened by the bourgeoning sexuality of their daughter is unforgettable and intense, and even features Pialat on screen as the family's patriarch. And he's a damn good actor. If you can't get or have already seen Under the Sun of Satan, get your hands on Van Gogh (1991). Vincent Van Gogh is a passion subject for so many filmmakers, and Pialat had been preoccupied with the artist his whole life. The film covers the final 67 days of Van Gogh's life, and is unsentimental and beautiful at once, concentrating more closely on his personal life than his work. Most of Pialat's films ran close to the 90 minute mark, but Van Gogh comes to an epic 158 minutes, and every second of it is earned.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Maurice Pialat? Then you should track down The House in the Woods (1971). Long before renowned auteurs like Jane Campion, David Fincher, Susanne Bier and David Lynch moved from cinema to short-form TV, Pialat directed this seven-part TV series for French television. Written by Rififi co-screenwriter René Wheeler, the series follows the citizens of a small village during World War One. It ranks alongside Pialat's best work, with some surprisingly funny moments and unexpected diversions. The extra room suited him well, and he doesn't waste a moment of the extended running time as he takes us deep into the lives of his characters.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Luca Guadagnino talking the films of Maurice Pialat, will be released on 31 December 2017.

Our Next Hyphenate Luca Guadagnino

Writer, director and Hi4H December 2017 guest host Luca Guadagnino

No, seriously.

Just to be clear, Luca Guadagnino will not be the subject of our next episode: he will be our guest. He’s gonna be on the show. Guadagnino. Hyphenates. It’s happening.

The Italian filmmaker behind 2009's I Am Love, 2015's A Bigger Splash, and this year's Call Me By Your Name has become one of cinema's most revered contemporary auteurs, and 2017 appears to be Luca’s most significant year to date: his latest film has been topping out half the best-of-the-year lists, he's just directed a remake of Dario Argento's Suspiria with Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton, and he's gearing up to make a new adaptation of Swan Lake.

But, of course, all of this will pale in comparison when he closes out the year with his most thrilling role to date: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host.

So which filmmaker has he chosen to talk about on the show?

French writer and director Maurice Pialat!

Pialat is not a name that comes up often. He is a relatively obscure figure compared to many of the names we’ve covered on the show, which is a little strange given the not-insubstantial success Pialat enjoyed during his career.

His first film, L'Enfance Nue (The Naked Childhood) (1969) won the Prix Jean Vigo at Cannes, and his Sous le soleil de Satan (Under the Sun of Satan) (1987) later picked up the Palme d'Or. His romantic crime thriller Police (1985), which was co-written by Catherine Breillat, was a smash hit, with over 1.8 million admissions in France alone.

Pialat won numerous awards, his films made piles of money, his debut was produced by French New Wave icon François Truffaut, he enjoyed a close collaboration with Gérard Depardieu during the height of Depardieu's fame, and critics favourably compared his work to that of Cassavetes and Renoir.

Yet in an unscientific, anecdotal survey we conducted amongst the film nerds we happen to run into after Luca told us his filmmaker choice, at least 80% of them did not even recognise Pialat's name, let alone his films.

How does a filmmaker this influential just disappear? If his films are so great, why do we no longer talk about them? And, most importantly, why does one of the world’s most exciting working filmmakers adore him so much?

Join us on December 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Maurice Pialat