This is the free version of our weekly newsletter. The premium version has 17 excellent recommendations, on top of these, of what to watch at festivals, virtual cinemas, VOD, and via streaming. We also spotlight several virtual film festivals worth catching worldwide, featuring films we love that have yet to secure distribution (so this may be your only chance to see them!).
In our premium newsletter for members this week, we recommend more virtual film festival screenings, plus additional VOD, virtual cinema, and streaming recommendations. If you become a member now, shoot us an email, and we'll be happy to send you these recommendations, too!
It's another busy week for virtual film festivals in Canada and the US. Catch up with some of the best films of the year, including Pebbles and Fabian: Going to the Dogs.
Meanwhile, you can now catch Anne at 13,000 ft in virtual cinemas in Canada/US and on Mubi in Europe/UK. Plus, Mouthpiece.is now streaming in Canada/US/UK/Ireland.
Have a friend whom you think would like our newsletter? Feel free to forward this to them and let them know they can sign up for the free version here.
Virtual film festivals
Pebbles - across the US - until Oct 5
One of the best films from the Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR) is the Indian award-winner Pebbles, screening this week in the US. It has yet to secure distribution so this could be one of your only chances to catch it.
Here's Kanika Katyal on the film when it screened at IFFR:
Vexed father Ganapathy (Karuththadaiyaan) is determined to bring back his wife and daughter, who have fled home to escape his violence, in P.S. Vinothraj’s Koozhangal (Pebbles). Ganapathy forces his son to come with him to fetch them, and together, they undertake a 13km journey into the heart of a village experiencing a major drought.
Pebbles is a road movie without frills; “a father-son odyssey without designs of grandeur,” as I wrote in my review for Cinespotting. We see them walking through wide expanses of arid land, past leafless vegetation and boulders in the desert. The village of Arittapatti, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu, in which the film is set, is an agricultural land that’s turned barren. Through glimpses into women’s huts and men’s gambling dens, we see the dismal state of the inhabitants,who have been robbed of their livelihood.
For over a year, Vinothraj lived in the village to familiarize himself with the location, and his knowledge of the area shows. We are not told about the pervasive hunger or water scarcity through dialogue, but shown it through patient scenes of everyday process. In one scene, an old woman draws out groundwater from a scanty puddle, slowly filling one mug after another. Initially, we assume that her extreme poverty is an anomaly, until the camera zooms out into a wide-shot to show a half-dozen women waiting in a queue to fill their pots.
Vinothraj impressively captures the beauty and radiance in the seemingly humble and mundane. Vinothraj includes poetic images of a balloon fluttering in a bus, the clinking of a young girl’s anklets, an austere mother tending to her child, a young girl smiling in a shower of dry leaves, and even an adorable puppy playing on the street. Like a mystic, Vinothraj works with contrasting energies, making miracles of nothingness.
Vancouver International Film Festival - across Canada (a few BC only titles) - until Oct 11
The program for VIFF is fantastic and most of it is available across Canada. If you think you can pack in 8 films in the next 10 days, the VIFF Connect Pass is a steal at $80 for unlimited films, and will give you access to films that are currently sold out online (there's a special allotment for passholders). Indidivual tickets are reasonbly priced at $10.
Fabian - Going to the Dogs - across Canada
VIFF scored the North American Premiere of one of the very best films at the Berlinale. Don't be deterred by the run time. It goes by in a blink, and it's a whole lot of fun.
Here's my Berlinale capsule:
Anne at 13,000 ft - Mubi UK/Ireland/Latin America/France/Germany/Italy/Turkey/India, virtual cinemas Canada/US
Two years after its premiere at TIFF, where it won an honourable mention for the Platform Competition (where director Kazik Radwanski sat on a jury with Riz Ahmed and Clio Barnard this year), Anne at 13,000 ft is now streaming in the US!
Here's an excerpt from Orla's intro to her interview with director Kazik Radwanski:
Mouthpiece - Prime UK/Ireland, Kanopy/VUDU Free US, CBC Gem Canada
One of the best films of 2018 is now streaming in the UK... and we helped it get distribution there!! If you missed our free worldwide screening of Mouthpiece last year, catch up with it now. Expect to laugh and cry.
Our team fell in love with Patricia Rozema's Mouthpiece at TIFF 2018. We named it the best film of 2019 and the third best film of the decade. We've sat with Mouthpiece for several years now, and revisited it so many times, that it already feels like an all-time favourite — and yet, until now, it's been so difficult for people to actually see it. Although the film got a small release in Canada and the US, it never saw international distribution. To bring it to wider audiences, we held a free online screening of the film last October. As a result, the film secured UK and Ireland distribution with Bulldog Films. It's coming out tomorrow!
Mouthpiece stars Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava (and is based on their play) as Cassandra: one woman whose internal monologue is externalised by the two actresses. Cassandra's mother has just died, and we follow her around Toronto picking up flowers, snacks, and a coffin while trying to write a eulogy. As she attempts to sum up the complicated woman that her mother was, she has her own existential crisis and feminist reawakening.
Beautiful, moving, inventive, and so entertaining, Mouthpiece is unlike any film we've ever seen before.
Here's a short excerpt from Alex Heeney's interview with Rozema, Nostbakken, and Sadava from our ebook The 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook, in which they talk about adapting the play for the screen together:
You'll want to watch Mouthpiece again and again and again. It's a film that will make you want to call your mom.
Alex Heeney, Editor-in-Chief
PS Have a friend whom you think would like our newsletter? Feel free to forward this to them and let them know they can sign up here.
The Seventh Row newsletter is a free weekly newsletter featuring streaming recommendations, primarily for Canada, the US, UK, and Australia, but always features at least one worldwide streaming recommendation. We also offer occasional giveaways of free downloads of our favourite films and other benefits! Questions? Comments? Reply to this email, or find us on Twitter @SeventhRow. If you're reading this because someone forwarded this email to you, consider that helpful button to become a regular subscriber.
If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe here to read more.