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…
Philomena (PG) (2013) (BBC iPlayer)
In 1952, Irish teenager Philomena became pregnant out of wedlock and was sent to a convent. When her baby, Anthony, was a toddler, the nuns took him away and put him up for adoption in the United States. For the next 50 years Philomena (Judi Dench) searched tirelessly for Anthony in vain until former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) learned of her story. The pair team up and travel together to the US to find Philomena’s son. From a powerful true story and with terrific performances from Dench and Coogan, Philomena is a beautifully told and very affecting tale of loss and love.
Roma (15) (2018) (Netflix)
Alfonso Cuaron’s film is just a few years old and has already attained masterpiece status. Based loosely on his own upbringing in 1970s Mexico City, the film tells the story of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), one of two housekeepers who help Antonio and Sofía take care of their four children. Complications soon arise when Antonio suddenly leaves his wife and children, and Cleo discovers that she’s pregnant. As these upheavals take place Cleo does all she can to keep the household together. A story that is both intimate and personal but also documents sweeping upheaval across Mexico, Roma is a profound artistic achievement from a filmmaker at the absolute pinnacle of his powers.
Ida (12A) (2014) (All 4)
Beautifully filmed in crisp black and white, Pawel Pawlikowski’s powerful film is about Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), a 17-year-old novice nun in 1962 Poland. Just as she is about to take her vows, Anna is ordered by her Mother Superior to visit her aunt, her only living relative, in nearby Lodz. Having never left the convent before and unaware of having any family, Anna tentatively travels to Lodz and finds Wanda, a brassy and determined woman who immediately mocks Anna‘s naivety and tells her facts she never knew – including her real name and that she is in fact Jewish. On a mission to unlock what happened to Anna’s parents the pair embark on a journey to discover their family’s story-and where they belong.
A Cat In Paris (PG) (2010) (Amazon Prime)
This gorgeous French animated film is a striking delight (and not just for kids)!
Dino is the pet cat of lonely little girl Zoe by day and the accomplice of burglar Nico by night. Zoe is traumatised by her father’s recent death and has not spoken for a long time. But she adores Dino, so when she finds out about his double life she follows him out onto the Paris rooftops and finds herself caught up in a thrilling adventure.
An Oscar-nominated treat, A Cat In Paris is wonderful, irresistible filmmaking.
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny