Seventh Row

Oslo August 31st, Sonita, I Was At Home But, and more to watch this weekend

published28 days ago
6 min read

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Next week, we're celebrating the 10th anniversary of Oslo, August 31st so what better time to watch the film than this weekend! This week only, catch up on some great films by Afghan Women for free thanks to Women Make Movies; I recommend Sonita. Meanwhile, on VOD/streaming, we recommend a few fun summer films to close out August, including Giant Little Ones and Lina from Lima. Plus, don't miss the rare opportunity to screen gems like I Was at Home, But... (Mubi worldwide except US, and leaving UK/Ireland on the 31st)... and even more recommendations within!

Also: If you have access to Canadian iTunes, we still have one code each to give away for Bandar Band and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. They're two of the best films of the year so surely you want the chance to not just watch them for free but own them! Hit reply if you'd like the code!

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Celebrate Oslo, August 31st's 10th anniversary

Our #1 film of the 2010s, Oslo, August 31st is hitting its 10th anniversary next week, and we're going to be celebrating with a FULL week of content on the film every day, including new interviews with the director, lead actor, and production designer all looking back at the making of the film.

Here's the opening of my essay on the film:

Joachim Trier’s brilliant and moving Oslo August 31st is as much about its protagonist — the over-educated, over-privileged, recovering heroin addict Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) — as it is about his generation and his city. Anders is our window into the city, and as a former drug dealer, he was, in the words of his former friend, “the best connected guy in Oslo” — although he spends the film feeling like the most disconnected one. When he returns to the city for one day in August, it’s from a ten-month exile in rehab. The occasion is a job interview, but he also uses the opportunity to catch up with old friends and family, in an effort to either start again or to say goodbye — he hasn’t quite decided which, having attempted suicide that morning, but changing his mind. We wait with baited breath to see which way it will go.

Read the full piece

How to watch the film

To prep for this big celebration, why not catch the film? Here's how:

Canada: Stream on Kanopy; rent or buy on iTunes
US: rent or buy on Amazon, YouTube, GooglePlay, or iTunes
United Kingdom: rent or buy on Amazon, Chili, iTunes, or Curzon
France: Stream on Mubi until August 31st; stream on Canal+ FilmoTV
Click here to find the film in your country

Virtual film festivals

Voices of Afghan Women - free worldwide until August 31 - register to watch

Click here to view the films in the collection.

Sonita (also streaming on Kanopy US and Mubi UK/Ireland)


Here's an excerpt from my review:

Sonita, the subject of Rokhsareh Ghaeemmaghami’s eponymous documentary Sonita, is an Afghan refugee in Iran who dreams of being a rapper, performing indictments of the patriarchy to packed houses. She’s taking back the voice that her culture has denied her: in Iran, it’s illegal for women to sing. But Sonita’s family has other plans. Her brother needs money to purchase a wife, so the family angles to sell Sonita as a bride to the highest bidder. In her mother’s words, “This will solve everyone’s problems.” If Sonita refuses, she’ll be beaten.
We first meet Sonita as she recounts her dream to be a rapper, but later, we discover it’s not even legal — and as an independent immigrant, neither is she. Ghaeemmaghami’s camera follows Sonita from behind as she walks the streets of Tehran alone, the image of an independent woman.

Read the review.

Click here to register.

Now Streaming

Lina from Lima - Mubi UK/Ireland/Latin America/Scandinavia/Western Europe, HBO US, SBS Movies AU

A highlight of TIFF19 is finally getting a streaming release in many parts of the world.

Here's Orla on the film:

In the opening scenes of María Paz González’s Lina from Lima, the rhythms of everyday life feel almost musical. Quietly, Lina (Magaly Solier), a Peruvian immigrant working as a housekeeper in Chile, goes about her daily life. The noise of Lina’s world are pronounced in the sound mix: A bus trundling along the road; Lina rifling through boxes in her clients home; shoppers walking and chatting in the store. It’s as if Lina is listening for musicality in the mundane. It only makes sense, then, that the film is a musical.

Though Lina from Lima is largely a realist drama, occasionally, Lina’s drab world will explode into flamboyant song and dance. These sequences are over-the-top and fun, as if out of a film much soapier than the one we’re watching, but while they’re fun to experience as they are for Lina, there’s something sad about their fakery. This is Lina’s coping mechanism for the injustice and boredom of real life These sequences are a manifestation of Lina’s daydreams, where life is grand and melodramatic, when really it’s just disappointing. In contrast, the rest of the film lacks any non-diegetic music and the colours are flatter, clearly demarcating Lina’s real and dream world.

Read Orla's interview with the director.

Giant Little Ones - BBC iPlayer, CBC Gem Canada, Starz/Kanopy US, Prime Austria/Germany, VOD France/Scandinavia/Belgium/Spain/Switzerland

This little Canadian gem is the perfect summer movie to watch on the last weekend of August... and it's streaming all over the place!

Here's an excerpt from the intro to my interview with Keith Behrman:

Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones is one of the great teen movies of the decade — vibrant, fun, and moving, and everything changes so fast you hardly realise it. And yet writer-director Behrman also manages to tackle weighty issues without ever veering into afternoon special territory or getting didactic.
Everything seems to be going great for Franky (Josh Wiggins) who is about to turn 16: he’s inseparable from this best friend, Ballas, bonded to his swim team, and the hottest girl in school, Priscilla (Hailie Kittle), not only likes him but is actively trying to have sex with him. The film moves at such a breakneck speed that it’s easy to miss — or ignore — all the beats indicating something isn’t quite right: Franky is avoiding his newly out father (Kyle MacLachlan), concerned about his lonely single mother (Maria Bello), idly standing by while homophobic bullying happens, and unable to quite talk to Natasha (Taylor Hickson), Ballas’ sister for whom Franky clearly carries a torch.

Read the full interview.

I Was at Home, But... - leaving Mubi UK/Ireland August 31, still streaming on Mubi Canada/AU/Europe/Latin America/Africa for 2 more months

It's been almost a week since I watched I Was at Home, But for the first time, and I still don't know how to describe it — but I can't stop thinking about it. Maren Eggert (who wowed us at the Berlinale earlier this year in I'm Your Man) stars as a woman who was widowed a year ago, and when the film begins, her teenage son has been mysteriously missing for a week. But before we meet Eggert and her two children, the film opens with several scenes of animals, including a donkey, a dog, and a rabbit. Eggert's story is also intercut with the story of a teacher (Franz Rogowski) who is not her son's teacher but works at her son's school and scenes from the production of Hamlet that the students are rehearsing at school.

Much of the film is without dialogue. And then a seemingly perfunctory scene about buying a bicycle, and then trying to return a bicycle, slowly turn into one of the best depictions of grief I've seen on screen. Throughout, you see Eggert's character just barely holding it together, so every outburst — from a long rant to a film director she just met about how much she hates his film, to screaming at her children, to lying at the grave of her husband — takes on added meaning. It's a film about how families break and put themselves back together, about giving love when you've got nothing left to give, about how art moves us and changes us, about how we see ourselves in art, and the way relationships don't always turn out how you'd expect. It's sometimes very slow, but it's always invigorating. A must see.


Alex Heeney, Editor-in-Chief

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