Chris & Jonny’s Film (in the) House Watch List
Friday 5th June 2020
Whilst the world is on pause and your Filmhouse Sunderland visits aren’t possible, we’re keeping the independent cinema flag flying with our new weekly watch lists from Chris & Jonny, the people behind the project.
Each Friday, we’ll post a list of four films that are currently available across BBC iPlayer, All4, Netflix and Amazon Prime that we think you should seek out.
This week’s selection is…
13th (15) (2016) (Netflix)
Unmissable documentary making from filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma), who here explores the history of racial inequality in the United States. Taking its title from the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States”, 13th is a powerful and information packed film focusing on the American prison system and the disproportionate amount of African-Americans who are incarcerated. Utilising archive footage, interviews with a huge range of former prisoners, politicians, activists and historians, DuVernay’s film is a staggering work, and sobering, important viewing.
Young Adult (15) (2011) (BBC IPlayer)
Charlize Theron is Mavis, a writer of teen literature in this black comedy from director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). Looking to reclaim her high school glory days following her divorce, Mavis returns to her small hometown to try and rekindle her relationship with her high school sweetheart Buddy (Patrick Wilson). However, things aren’t so simple: Buddy’s settled down with a happy family… Daring and dark and savage, Theron gives a brilliantly caustic performance, taking Cody’s insightful script and bringing a truly remarkable character to life.
Happy As Lazzaro (15) (2019) (Amazon Prime)
Italian writer-director Alice Rohrwacher’s film is the story of Lazzaro, a young peasant whose sweet nature makes people mistake him for simple-minded. Happily doing the bidding of anyone in his local village, which is ruled over by the Marchesa, he finds an unlikely friend in Marchesa’s petulant son Tancredi, who convinces his new ally to help him stage a dramatic incident to secure a ransom…. Rohrwacher’s follow-up to her 2014 hit The Wonders is a luminous magic-realist fable that doubles as an origin myth for a modern Italy consumed by corruption and decline. Mixing folk tales with social critique, biblical allegories and pop culture references, this kaleidoscopic film deservedly won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes 2018.
Withnail & I (15) (1987) (All4)
Bruce Robinson’s evergreen British comedy is so much more than a non-stop stream of endlessly quotable lines. Richard E. Grant is the unsuccessful actor Withnail and Paul McGann is “I”, his flatmate and equally struggling thespian. At the end of the swinging sixties the pair are facing a dilemma – they are failing in their careers and living in squalor, propped up only by the booze and pills they consume each day and without a plan in sight. In an effort to escape the city, the pair head off to Withnail’s Uncle Monty’s retreat in the Lakes, only for things to become even worse. Incredibly funny, Withnail & I is also one of the most poignant films about friendship, the end of an era and growing up and moving on that you’ll ever watch. If you haven’t yet experienced it, you owe it to yourself this weekend.
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny