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…
In Fabric (15) (2018) (BBC iPlayer)
British director Peter Strickland weaves a bewitching tale with his eerie 2018 horror.
Lonely divorcee Sheila (Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste) visits a strange London department store to buy a new dress and discovers one with the perfect cut and in the perfect colour. The sales assistant promises that the “artery-red” gown will transform her life, and soon after buying Sheila finds the darkness behind this truth: the dress holds a malevolent curse… Fiendishly unnerving and impossible to tear your eyes away from, In Fabric is filmed in the style of the 70s & 80s, and infused with sinister nostalgia. A perfect fit!
The Forty-Year-Old Version (15) (2020) (Netflix)
Writer, director and star Radha Blank received critical acclaim and awards at the Sundance Film Festival for her terrifically funny comedy. Playing a fictionalised version of herself, Blank is struggling, once lauded playwright Radha, who is approaching middle age and a crisis. Teaching on a school theatre programme, and feeling unfulfilled, her midlife slump proves to be the kickstart for an uncomfortable rebrand as rapper RadhaMUSprime, and an affair with musician D, whilst also being plagued during the day with rewrites of her latest play. A sly and knowing dig at perceptions of the real-life experiences of Blank as an older black creative, The 40 Year Old Version is a refreshing take on love and life – and is utterly hilarious.
Pili (12) (2017) (All 4)
First time British director Leanne Welham’s beautiful feature debut Pili is a calm and compassionate story of a young woman (Bello Rashid), tilling the fields in Tanzania for an exploitative low wage. Secretly taking medication to manage her HIV condition, Pili is also providing for her two small children, who were left fatherless after her husband left her. Offered the chance to run a market stall and step up in the world, Pili must find a cash deposit for the market’s manager within 48 hours. Desperate to find the money, her ambition may be too costly…
Eastern Promises (18) (2007) (Amazon Prime)
Director David Cronenberg teamed up for a second time with Viggo Mortensen for this gripping and daring gangster film. Nikolai (Mortensen) is a ruthless fixer for one of London’s most dangerous Russian crime families. When he comes into contact with a young midwife (Naomi Watts), he is thrust into a mystery involving a young woman who died in childbirth and the baby she has left behind. Dark, visceral and violent, Eastern Promises features a commanding performance from Mortensen and an alternative view of the dark underworld of London…
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny