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…
The Odyssey (PG) (2016) (BBC iPlayer)
This big budget French biopic charts thirty years in the life of the legendary researcher, scientist, inventor and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. A man who inspired generations to understand more about the sea and its inhabitants, Cousteau was a driven man, and fought to balance his passion for the ocean with his home life. With a polished performance from Lambert Wilson, wearing Cousteau’s trademark red knitted hat, The Odyssey is a prestige drama, buoyed by stunning underwater sequences.
Wadjda (PG) (2012) (Netflix)
One of the first films shot in Saudi Arabia and the first to be directed by a woman, Wadjda is a noble, quiet rebuke of repressive religious values and a world cinema masterpiece. Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a young, rebellious Saudi girl who enters a Koran recitation competition at her school in the hope to win enough money to buy her own bicycle. She’s ten years old and wants to be able to race her best friend Abdullah, but her age means that soon she won’t be able to cycle anymore, or even meet with a boy. Boundary-breaking and pioneering, Wadjda is an uplifting and moving film that provides a gentle commentary with skilful nuance.
The American Friend (12) (1977) (All 4)
Wim Wenders adapts Patricia Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game for this stylish and suspenseful European thriller starring Dennis Hopper. American expat (and Highsmith’s infamous sociopath) Tom Ripley (Hopper) lives in Hamburg and makes a living selling art forgeries. When he decides to take part in a murder plot for extra cash all he must do is find a willing assassin who won’t talk. Happening on ordinary picture-framer Jonathan (Bruno Ganz), who is dying of cancer and desperate to leave his family an inheritance, Ripley enlists him. But Jonathan is no gunman, and things don’t go according to plan….
Sound Of Metal (15) (2019) (Amazon Prime)
Just released and nominated for six Oscars, Sound Of Metal is the powerful story of a newly-deaf man coming to terms with his condition. Punk-metal drummer and recovering heroin addict Ruben (Riz Ahmed) is touring with his band, who are known for their loud and energetic gigs. When he begins to experience intermittent hearing loss he discovers that it’s permanent and will get worse. Fearing a relapse, his bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks him into an isolated home for recovering deaf addicts in the hope that the experience will help him. Ruben is welcomed with open arms, but can he choose between the peaceful balance of this new life and the desire to reclaim his life on the road? Beautifully made, featuring innovative sound design, and with a committed, Oscar-nominated performance from Ahmed, Sound Of Metal is a carefully told voyage of self-discovery, grief and acceptance.
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny