Film and arts journalist Tom Clift joins the show this month as we look over some of the key films of November 2015, including THE DRESSMAKER, CAROL, BRIDGE OF SPIES and JUNUN. They then examine the different forms of streaming and digital distribution channels that are suddenly available, and the ways to curate your viewing in this new landscape. Then Tom introduces us to the weirdly brilliant and deeply funny films of independent animator Don Hertzfeldt.
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…
REJECTED (2000) and WORLD OF TOMORROW (2015)
Let's be honest, you could do the entire Don Hertzfeldt filmography in an evening without ever feeling the need to look at your watch. And we absolutely encourage you to do this. But if you want to stick to our usual two-film tradition, then we've got some absolute doozies for you. Hertzfeldt's films are almost exclusively animated shorts, and it wasn't easy to figure out which two to go with. Thankfully, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made our job a little easier. Kick your viewing off with the Oscar-nominated Rejected, which runs for only nine minutes. This hilarious short film imagines a series of rejected ads and promotions, and is surely the most anti-corporate film to ever be accidentally embraced by the Academy. Once you've seen that, follow it up with his most recent film, World of Tomorrow, in which a little girl is contacted by her future clone/descendent. This is one of the funniest and sharpest science fiction films you're likely to see, somehow deeply scathing and whimsically lighthearted all at once. And literally only sixteen minutes.
Substitutions: Again, it's really strange to be doing substitutions when you should just be watching all of this stuff. But our sub for Rejected is the painfully-funny Billy's Balloon, which we won't tell you anything about because even the setup is too good to spoil. The sub for World of Tomorrow is I Am So Proud Of You, part of his Bill trilogy, and an ingenious recounting of a sad man's life and his family history.
The Hidden Gem: Our hidden gems are usually off-beat or unusual departures from the norm, but that describes every single one of his films. So we're just going to put the five minute Wisdom Teeth here. Of all his films, this is arguably the strangest.
Where To Find Them: Hertzfeldt self-distributes, and DVD collections of most of his shorts can be ordered via his website, Bitter Films. You can also rent World of Tomorrow online for a paltry $5 on Vimeo, and believe us when we say that in terms of cash-to-quality ratio, that's the biggest bargain you'll find this week. Especially given you'll probably want to watch it multiple times and show it off to your friends. There is also a very limited edition blu-ray of his work that will be available soon, but we're reluctant to tell you about it because he’s only producing a finite number of copies, and, frankly, we want them. Oh, all right. Here you go. But don't tell anyone else.
The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Tom Clift talking Don Hertzfeldt, will be released on the morning of November 30 (AEST).