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…
Memento (15) (2000) (BBC iPlayer)
Christopher Nolan has drawn cinema audiences back to their seats with his latest film Tenet, but his masterful Memento, from 2000, gave us his first foray into playing with time in exciting ways. Guy Pearce stars as Leonard, on the trail of the man who raped and murdered his wife, but who is plagued by acute memory loss. Unable to recall anything other than life before the accident that gave him his condition, Leonard can’t remember what he’s doing, or why. Beautifully complex, Nolan assembles the film with clockwork precision, telling his story backwards and bringing us along for the ride.
Bait (15) (2019) (All 4)
Filmmaker Mark Jenkins burst onto the film scene in 2019 with Bait, a low-fi, distinctive and gripping tale of the impact of gentrification in Cornwall’s fishing communities. One of the defining films of British cinema already, Bait tells its story through the use of incredible black and white cinematography. It follows taciturn fisherman Martin, who is unable to ply his trade after his brother converts their boat into a vehicle for stag and hen do’s and who is angered by the well-off London family who now live (at weekends) in his former family home. As the tensions between the ‘tourists’ and the locals rise, so do the distinctions and disparities between the two camps… Shot on a 16mm camera, and with overdubbed sound, Bait feels like a film from a lost era, but one which tells a very modern and relevant tale for now.
The Nightingale (18) (2018) (Netflix)
Savage, powerful and important, The Nightingale is a harsh and urgent tale of Australia’s dark colonial history. Not for the faint hearted, it features scenes that may upset some people. The film follows Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a young Irish convict whose life and hopes for freedom are destroyed when her abusive British officer master (Sam Claflin) brutally murders her family and has her repeatedly raped. Enlisting Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) to pursue him and seek revenge, the pair head out into a dark and uncertain wilderness… The film’s director Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) has drawn criticism for the graphic scenes on display, which linger both on screen and in the mind, but ultimately The Nightingale is a moving tale of the shared grief and the brutal trauma of colonialisation.
On The Basis Of Sex (12A) (2018) (Amazon Prime)
After the sad death of the groundbreaking US supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we though that it would be a great time to revisit this recent biopic of RBG from director Mimi Leder. Felicity Jones stars as the young Ruth, a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and obstacles in her fight for equal rights as a woman. When she takes on a potentially huge tax case with her husband, the attorney Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way that courts view gender discrimination. Fast, moving and involving, this inspirational film provides real insight into the genesis of the remarkable woman we know.
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny