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…
Land Of Mine (15) (2015) (BBC iPlayer)
A largely unknown chapter of World War 2 history provides the backdrop for the tense and timeless Land Of Mine, a riveting edge-of-your-seat drama which focuses on a group of teenage German POWs who are captive in Denmark and forced to dig up millions of landmines with their bare hands. Considered as Denmark’s biggest war crime, this poignant film follows the group and their charge, the bitter Sergeant Carl Rasmussen: hostile to the invaders and blinded by rage. Gradually, as the work takes its inevitable and bloody toll, Rasmussen begins to empathise with the (too) young soldiers, realising that these conscripts are as much a victim of the war as his country…
They Live (15) (1988) (Netflix)
John Carpenter’s politically subversive 80s horror/sci fi is as beautifully daft as you’d expect, but packs a socially-relevant punch that resonates even today. They Live stars wrestler Roddy Piper as Nada, an unemployed wanderer who finds a pair of sunglasses which show the world as it really is – populated and presided over by skull-faced aliens holding the world in their grip and using subliminal messages that keep the population dormant whilst hiding their true form, Enraged, Nada unites a rag tag force to free humanity!
Wild Tales (15) (2014) (All 4)
Wicked and delightfully hilarious, Wild Tales is an Argentinean satire on the joys of losing control. Six short stories make up the film: airline passengers realise they have something in common, A waitress exacts delicious revenge, A road-rage incident goes over the top, a parking fine sparks a mighty retaliation, a crime is covered up, and a wedding falls apart in brilliantly chaotic circumstances. Beautifully scripted and performed with true abandon, Wild Tales is a fantastic concoction of the lowest savage instincts of humanity. You will love it!
The Mauritanian (15) (2020) (Amazon Prime)
An all-star cast come together for director Kevin MacDonald’s take on the famed Guantanamo Bay memoir of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who spent 14 years inside the infamous US naval base detention centre. Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley and Jodie Foster star alongside French star Tahar Rahim (A Prophet). The film begins when Mohamedou (Rahim) is taken from a wedding by US agents who believe he has been in contact with Osama Bin Laden due to a random phone call made to him. Spotting his plight, criminal defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Foster) takes on his case and seeks his release, whilst bulldog US Naval lawyer Lt Col Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch) fights to keep him imprisoned. Meanwhile, as the case progresses Mohamedou must try to survive his incarceration – and the brutal interrogation methods that are being applied to him…
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny