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…
Pride (15) (2014) (BBC iPlayer)
Expertly skirting a fine line between sentimentality and joy, Matthew Warchus’ amazing comedy Pride is brilliantly written and acted. The film takes place in 1984, at the height of the Miners’ Strike. Newly out Joe (George MacKay) arrives in London, quickly meets up with, and is empowered by, the confident people he meets in his new world. Demonised by Thatcher’s government, and realising that the LGBT community has a lot in common with the striking miners, Joe soon finds himself part of new group Lesbians And Gays Support Miners. Undeterred by the National Union Of Miners’ unease at their offer of support, the group packs up and heads to Wales and the small working class community of Onllwyn. Once there, the group receive a mixed reception and cultures clash….
Akira (15) (1988) (Netflix)
Still jaw-dropping decades later, Akira is thrilling, violent world-building of the highest calibre, set the tone for animation and influenced films such as The Matrix, Minority Report and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Set in a Japan where the government have dropped an atomic bomb on Tokyo when Extra Sensory Perception experiments on children went wrong, we follow the story of Kaneda, a bike gang leader trying to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project. Battling against anti-government fighters, shady scientists and a powerful military leader, the game changes when Tetsuo’s powers begin to manifest….
A Field In England (15) (2013) (All 4)
Ben Wheatley’s mystical masterpiece combines hallucinogenic black-and-white visuals and a fantastic soundscape in its pursuit of a small group of deserters during England’s civil war. When the group ingest some wild mushrooms, they each fall victim to the powerful energies of the land around them, leading to a commentary on England’s rural landscape… Honing Wheatley’s unique cinematic voice following his breakout Sightseers, A Field In England assembles a terrific cast, including Reece Shearsmith and Michael Smiley.
Scanners (18) (1980) (Amazon Prime)
David Cronenberg’s landmark sci fi thriller is stirring stuff. Set in a world where some men and women (the Scanners of the title) are born with telepathic and telekinetic powers, Scanners looks at how this power is abused, both by the private companies eager to weaponise it, and those with the power, and who want to use it to rule.
Cronenberg’s trademark body horror and clinical storytelling is all present and correct here, and this conspiracy thriller-cum-political statement remains terrifying and mind-blowing stuff, 41 years later…
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny