Writer/director Hugh Sullivan is behind many acclaimed short films as well as low budget feature film The Infinite Man, which became a critical darling of South by South West. The film was remade in Spanish in the Dominican Republic and released under the title, Peaches.
Tell us a little about your film at SBS On Demand.
The Infinite Man was made as part of the South Australian Film Corporation’s FilmLab program. This was an initiative that supported projects from one-page ideas through to finished films, and resulted in some great films including Shut Up Little Man! and 52 Tuesdays, which you can watch right here at SBS On Demand.
Watch The Infinite Man now at SBS On Demand.
What are you currently working on?
Initially, a period of lockdown seemed like a great opportunity to get some work done. However, lockdown with a young and very energetic child has complicated things (as it has for many people), and that’s what’s really keeping me busy at the moment.
How are you coping with self-isolation?
Fortunately writing has thoroughly prepared me for social distancing, so it hasn’t been all that demanding. And we certainly have it a lot easier than many people. My only tip would be: don’t crack. Maybe do some vacuuming.
What are your 5 favourite films at SBS On Demand?
1. Paper Moon
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Cast: Ryan O’neal, Tatum O’neal, Madeline Kahn
For anyone in lockdown with a young child, I would recommend this very funny and surprisingly affecting depiction of a grudging father–daughter relationship. Ryan O’Neal and real-life daughter Tatum O’Neal star as confidence man and reluctant father-figure Moses Pray and his probable daughter Addie Loggins (“Seems you got the child’s jaw”). Both father and daughter give incredible performances, and their onscreen relationship is made all the more poignant by Ryan O’Neal’s real-life ambivalence towards fatherhood (“A couple of them I would take back,” he has said about his children, and he once fired a gun – a warning shot, really – at his son). Unsurprisingly, his daughter’s Oscar win further complicated family life.
Watch Paper Moon now at SBS On Demand.
2. The Conversation
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall
Obviously a lot has already been written about this film, and I don’t really have a great deal to add. So I’ll just say that it’s another good lockdown film – a timely reminder that no good can come from involving yourself in the lives of others. Much better to just stay inside, lock the doors and put your telephone in a drawer. Walter Murch is credited as Supervising Editor and Sound Montage & Re-recording, and his work (with editor Richard Chew) on the film is incredible. And I will never understand how Francis Ford Coppola released The Godfather, The Conversation and The Godfather Part II in just two years.
Watch The Conversation now at SBS On Demand.
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel
If one can get past some of its more troubling aspects (and perhaps one can’t), there are some sublime comic/cinematic moments in this film. Watch it for Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray – they are all at their very best. And watch it for the costumes (by the brilliant costume designer Mary Zophres), which are truly inspired. Finally, watch it for the climactic bowling tournament – specifically, for Bill Murray’s hair during the tournament. It is one of the most memorable hair moments in cinema history.
Watch Kingpin now at SBS On Demand.
4. I Am Love
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Flavio Parenti, Edoardo Gabbriellini
This film is such a pleasure to experience. Truly sumptuous, without feeling overly staged or precious. From the camerawork and editing – restless, bold, alive – to Tilda Swinton’s performance (as striking as the Milanese architecture) there is just so much to relish here. Luca Guadagnino is an extraordinary director.
Watch I Am Love now at SBS On Demand.
5. The Tree of Life
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
I chose this film because I’ve never seen the experiences, the emotions and sensory pleasures of childhood so beautifully evoked. This film’s depiction of 1950s small-town America feels at once entirely real and half-remembered, dreamlike. One experiences it in a rush of fragmented memories, an intermingling of dream and reality (and the afterlife, and a glimpse of what may or may not be God), set to some pretty great music. There really is nothing quite like it.
Watch The Tree of Life now at SBS On Demand.