Tag Archives: sophie hyde

Hyde On Campion

Hyde On Campion

The moment we started using Skype on the show, it opened up our guest options considerably. We were able to record with Brian Trenchard-Smith when he was on the Gold Coast in pre-production on Drive Hard, as well as Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen in Sydney, C Robert Cargill in Texas, Lynn Shelton in Seattle, Drew McWeeny in Los Angeles and Desiree Akhavan in London. It's been brilliant.

That said, the recordings are always more fun when we do them in person, because you can't beat the energy of everyone being in the room at the same time. So when our guest Sophie Hyde - who we were originally going to Skype with from her home in Adelaide - told us she was going to be in Melbourne two weeks earlier, we jumped at the chance to record the episode with all of us together. It did mean hurriedly finishing our Jane Campion refresh marathon ahead of the planned schedule, but it was totally worth it.

We had such an insanely great time chatting to Sophie, we almost forgot to record the actual episode. Good thing we did, as this talk with her about the films of Jane Campion is an absolute corker.

Because everyone knows Jane Campion, and everyone knows the films she's made, but few people talk about her style. What does the Jane Campion style look like? When you step back and look at her works as a whole, what emerges? You might be surprised to discover the answer, not to mention which of her films that all three of us consider to be a masterpiece. Particularly given how said film was received upon its release.

We also review a few of this month's new releases: Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Noah Baumbach's While We're Young and Xavier Dolan's Mommy. It's crazily fortuitous that we end up talking about Xavier Dolan on our Jane Campion episode. Why? Check out the following amazing clip from the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

As if all that wasn't enough, we also ask a question that's been on our minds since last year: with the recent massive shifts in how entertainment is consumed and how audiences gravitate towards it, does it put pressure on independent dramas to use high-concept hooks to reinforce their authenticity? We're thinking in particular of the real-time shoots of two of last year's biggest dramas: Boyhood and 52 Tuesdays. It's an important question to ask, and one you can't possibly pass up when you have the director of 52 Tuesdays right there in the room.

If you've never listened to Hyphenates before, then this is a really good one to start with. We talk about the films you've also watched over the past month, we cover an important topic with someone who is an undeniable expert in it, and have one of Australia's most exciting new filmmakers talking about one of Australia's most legendary. We've really got it all this month. We even released the episode on Jane Campion’s birthday. Now that’s synergy, we assume.

If you want to brush up on the films of Jane Campion first, remember to check out our Cheat Sheet here, before listening to the episode here.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – April 2015

Filmmaker Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) joins the Hyphenates as we look at this month’s new releases, ask if independent dramas need a high-concept hook to attract attention in the current media landscape, and explore the works of the legendary trans-Tasman auteur Jane Campion.

The Jane Campion Cheat Sheet

Jane Campion

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: a double that will bring you totally up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

JC Films

THE PIANO (1993) and BRIGHT STAR (2009)

Campion was already well known for Sweetie and An Angel At My Table, but it was The Piano that really put her on the map. A critical and commercial success, it won three Academy Awards (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay), and earned $140 million worldwide, a figure that was even more extraordinary in 1993 than it is now. But all that money and those awards are just window dressing: the real reason you need to watch The Piano is that it is still a stunning masterpiece, from its rich, analogous script to its sweeping cinematography. 22 years on, it's every bit as powerful as it was on its release. Maybe even more so. You'll want to follow that up with a viewing of Bright Star, Campion's 2009 film about the romance between Fanny Brawne and poet John Keats. On the surface, it looks a lot like The Piano: a period film in which passionate people struggle to convey that passion through the performance and appreciation of art. But underneath those superficial similarities, Bright Star is an entirely different work, deliberately restrained and distant. Watch these two back-to-back to see how an auteur such as Campion can take two strikingly similar outlines and create two entirely distinct and almost antithetical works.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen The Piano, swap it out for Campion's debut feature Sweetie (1989). If can't get or have already seen Bright Star, check out The Portrait of a Lady (1996), her Henry James adaptation starring Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey.

The Hidden Gem: Want to seek out something from off the beaten track? Try Campion's controversial film In The Cut (2003), with Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh, a dark and surprisingly existential thriller about a woman who may possibly have encountered a serial killer.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Sophie Hyde talking Jane Campion, will be released on the morning of April 30 (AEST).

Our Next Hyphenate Sophie Hyde

Writer, director and April 2015 Hyphenate Sophie Hyde
Writer, director and April 2015 Hyphenate Sophie Hyde

There's no point in us disguising our tactics any longer: whenever we see a debut film we love, we immediately begin pursuing that filmmaker to be on the show before their career takes off and we have little hope of booking them.

Such is the case with last year's 52 Tuesdays, an Australian film that knocked us both over. A coming-of-age story like no other, the film follows a 16-year-old girl who struggles to cope when her mother begins transitioning into a man. It was both set and filmed over the course of a year, as the pair spend their Tuesday afternoons together.

The film has just opened in the US to deservedly brilliant reviews, and we're delighted that director Sophie Hyde will be our next guest.

But which filmmaker has she chosen to speak about on the show?

None other than one of Australia's best-known filmmakers, Jane Campion!

Written and Directed by JC

Jane Campion is actually from New Zealand, but as with all successful New Zealand figures, we pretty quickly figured out a way to claim her for Australia. She received a lot of attention for her debut film Sweetie (1989) and her follow-up An Angel At My Table (1990), but it was The Piano (1993) with Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill that well and truly put her on the map.

From there, she made films such as The Portrait of a Lady (1996), Holy Smoke (1999), In the Cut (2003) and Bright Star (2009), and recently received huge acclaim for her mini-series Top of the Lake.

What is it about Campion's works that so appeal to Sophie Hyde? To find out, check back in with us when the episode is released on April 30.

Jane Campion
Our next filmmaker of the month, Jane Campion


Hi4H’s 2014 Year In Review

Hi4H 2014 Montage

2014 was a pretty great year for Hell Is For Hyphenates. We reached our 50th episode, we had our first ever live show at the Sydney Film Festival, we landed guests such as Lynn Shelton and Joe Swanberg, and, most importantly, we started this blog.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to take stock, and make some lists that isn't the traditional “Best Of” (those will come later). Please feel free to chime in with your own answers in the comments.

Top five Hi4H film discoveries (that you hadn't seen before)?

Paul: The Long Goodbye (1973, Altman - I'm restricting myself to one film per filmmaker, so just know I could've easily filled this list with Altmans: California Split and HealtH chief among them), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953, Tati), An Unmarried Woman (1978, Mazursky), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, Hough), Subway (1985, Besson).

Lee: I'm also gonna limit it to one per filmmaker to keep things slightly easier. Images (1972, Altman), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, Mazursky), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, Hough), Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (2002, Maddin), Beau Travail (1999, Denis).

Which new filmmakers to emerge in 2014 are you most excited about?

Paul: Can't I just say “Xavier Dolan” five times? No? Okay. But Xavier Dolan is my clear #1 here. While he's been making films since 2009, I saw four of his five features - two of which were premieres - in 2014. A preternatural wunderkind who brings a unique blend of social realism, melodrama and bold cinematic style to bear, with uncommon power and moxie. Ana Lily Amirpour (just for being supercool and singular of vision), Jennifer Kent (for bringing a dramatic, thematic approach back to horror), Damien Chazelle (while Whiplash blew others away more than me, there was an uncommon command of craft - and an interesting voice - I'm keen to see more of), Joe & Anthony Russo: with one film, these frequent sitcom directors managed to single-handedly restore my faith in the Marvel Studios model.

Lee: So, so many. Gillian Rospierre (Obvious Child), Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Charlie McDowell (The One I Love), Lake Bell (In a World…), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays). I'm excited about what everyone in this group will make next.

Five filmmakers you'd like to see us cover on the show?

Paul: Because they're Masters: Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Howard Hawks, Mario Bava. Because I want to examine their career in context: John Carpenter.

Lee: I'm gonna eschew the obvious names (Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick), because they are givens, and go with Kenji Mizoguchi, Agnès Varda, Michelangelo Antonioni, Alexandr Sokurov, Douglas Sirk. Is that a bit of a pretentious list? If so, replace one of those names with, I don't know, Brett Ratner. Or, better yet, don't.

Given we're an Australian show, what were your favourite Australian films of the year?

Paul: 1) Cut Snake; 2) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; 3) The Rover; 4) The Babadook; 5) The Infinite Man.

Lee: 1) The Babadook; 2) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; 3) The Rover; 4) Charlie’s Country; 5) Canopy. The fact that this list was so difficult to curate speaks to what a great year it was for Australian cinema.

Most Anticipated Films of 2015?

Paul: 1) The Hateful Eight (was there ever any doubt??); 2) Inherent Vice; 3) Tomorrowland; 4) Foxcatcher; 5) Serial Season 2… oh, it has to be films? Okay… Mad Max: Fury Road.

Lee: 1) Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice; 2) Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron; 3) Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight; 4) Todd Haynes' Carol; 5) Martin Scorsese's Silence.

Thank you all for listening this year. We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope you enjoy everything to come in 2015. We have some big plans we can't wait to tell you about.

Big thanks to everyone who helped us out over the year, from our guests to the good people at the Sydney Film Festival, and everyone who loaned us the DVDs and autobiographies we needed for research. Huge thanks to our loyal artist Caroline McCurdy, who did all of our amazing artwork and design.

In the meantime, 2014 isn't done yet! We have our final show for 2014 coming out on the morning of December 31, featuring Richard Watts talking about the films of Gregg Araki, so make sure you kick off your New Year's Eve plans with our latest show!