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 Big Sick (15) (2017) (BBC iPlayer)
Writing duo Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani bring the story of their own relationship to the screen. Kumail (Nanjiani) is a Pakistani comic, who meets an American graduate student named Emily (Zoe Kazan) at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her, but things take a dramatic twist when Emily suddenly comes down with an illness which leaves her in a coma. Kumail finds himself developing a bond with Emily’s deeply mother and father as she fights to survive. Mining a real-life situation and relationship for the film provides the opportunity to find a darkly funny and utterly honest heart to the comedy.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (15) (2020) (Netflix)
Chadwick Boseman (in his final role) and Viola Davis star in this terrific drama about tensions and temperatures rising over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. As a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room she engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. Meanwhile, ambitious cornet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) is determined to launch his own career…
Woman At War (12) (2018) (All 4)
Original, subversive and strikingly quirky, Iceland’s Woman At War is the story of Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), a 50-year-old choir teacher by day and ninja-like environmental activist by night. Her mission is to mount a crusade against the local aluminium factory in Iceland, to protect the country from the ravages of the industry. As Halla’s actions grow bolder, her life changes instantly as she faces a new challenge – to adopt a child from the Ukraine…
Primer (12) (2004) (Amazon Prime)
At times scary, puzzling and 100% original, cult classic Primer is the story of intellectual engineers Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan), who build and sell error-checking technology with the help of their friends. However, when Aaron and Abe accidentally invent what they think is a time machine, Abe builds a version capable of transporting a human and puts the device to the test. As the two friends obsess over their creation, they discover the dark consequences of their actions…
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny