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!
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This weekend, we recommend the bizarre, funny, and melancholic The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet on Curzon Home Cinema in the UK and screening for a final weekend in the US at the Minneapolis St. Paul's Film Fest. In the US, there many great films screening at the Human Rights Watch Festival (we have a discount code deal!), and we particularly recommend HotDocs highlight Daughter of a Lost Bird. Finally, streaming worldwide, catch Sophy Romvari's great short, Still Processing, on Mubi, and American Mary on Shudder (UK/US/AU/Ireland) or Hoopla Canada.
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The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet
The best film from Sundance is on Curzon Home Cinema in the UK and available to rent in the US this week only!
Here's an excerpt from my intro to my interview with director Ana Katz:
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet
, the latest feature from Argentinian writer-director Ana Katz (My Friend from the Park
), is a series of vignettes in the life of Sebastián (played by her brother, Daniel Katz
) over the course of several years. Each vignette features small moments of connection, which taken together, feel like a full, rich life depicted in almost insignificant details. We see the moment when Sebastián is forced to choose between his day job and his dog; the moment he meets his future wife, but not when they marry; a moment of crisis as a father; and a moment of calm comfort that closes out the film. The moments are fleeting, but also often very funny and sweet.
The film opens with a gathering of Sebastián’s neighbours in his backyard. It’s a rainy day, and they’re all crammed into his backyard, their umbrellas hitting each other, as they complain to him about his ‘dog who wouldn’t be quiet’ whenever it is home alone without Sebastián. Of course, Katz never lets us hear the dog’s supposed cries of longing, so we can’t share in the neighbours’ frustration, only in Sebastián’s affection for his dog. This is soon followed by a meeting at work, where his two bosses explain to him that they can’t allow him to bring his dog to work would because it would be the first step into an office of chaos; it’s hilarious, if sad, then, when the film later takes a sci-fi turn, and everyone suddenly adapts to wearing giant glass helmets.
Read the interview
Click here for tickets
Human Rights Watch NYC - May 19-27 - across US
Get a discount on tickets with the promo code CHANGEHERE21.
If the price of buying a ticket to a film would prevent you from participating, please email the following address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free ticket code. The festival has set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work.
Daughter of a Lost Bird
Here's Orla on the film, which has yet to secure distribution:
Daughter of a Lost Bird opens on Kendra, a young woman in her thirties, sitting on her floor as she nervously makes an important phone call. She leaves a message: “Hi April, this is Kendra Potter, your birth daughter.” Shortly after, April calls back, and mother and daughter hear each other’s voices for the first time.
Swaney tracks Kendra’s journey over several years as Kendra reconnects with her long-lost family and her indigeneity. Swaney is careful to contextualise Kendra’s identity crisis within the traumatic history of adoption in Indigenous communities in the US. As a result of the Indian Child Welfare Act, both Kendra and her mother were adopted out of their birth families, separating them from their Indigenous communities by two generations.
Read the full review
Click here for tickets
American Mary - Shudder US/UK/AU/Ireland, Prime AU, Hoopla Canada
Here's Rosie McAffrey on why Katherine Isabelle's central performance is so great:
The Soska sisters wrote American Mary, their 2012 body horror revenge movie, with Katharine Isabelle in mind. It’s perfect casting, subverting the expectations set up by her cult-favourite turn as the demented and bloodthirsty Ginger in Ginger Snaps (2000); in American Mary, Isabelle navigates her character’s struggles with cool, aloof restraint.
In American Mary, Isabelle tracks the thrilling revenge arc of a woman, Mary Mason, coming undone as she rises up against her assaulter. Mary Mason is a promising but financially insecure med student who reluctantly begins moonlighting as a back-alley surgeon. Seen as too soft by her instructors, she feigns emotional detachment and ruthlessness in order to impress them. Her ambitions are shattered, however, when her professor invites her to a party where he drugs and rapes her. Traumatised and humiliated, she drops out of school, adopts the impersonal ruthlessness so hallowed by the surgeons, and exacts revenge by using her professor as practice for her new career in body modification. Soon, her reputation precedes her, but her pursuit of vengeance erodes all vulnerability until she and her icy exterior are indivisible.
Read the full essay
Still Processing - Mubi Worldwide
One of the highlights of TIFF2020 is streaming free worldwide. Here's an excerpt from Justine Smith's introduction to her in-depth interview with director Sophy Romvari:
In Sophy Romvari’s personal documentary, Still Processing, she holds memories in her hands. After a long negotiation with her parents over her desire to make a film reflecting on her two older brothers’ deaths, her father presents her with a box of photos, videos, and film negatives. We watch as, for the first time, she takes them out. In black and white photographs taken by her father, we see children at rest and play. In one photo, a young Sophy is captured in closeup, looking directly into the camera. It’s a confrontational image, and given the film’s subject, it’s hard not to read melancholy in her expression. The photos capture an almost foreboding doom. They capture fleeting expressions that are transformed by events that follow.
The film’s title gestures at the double meaning of living with grief and also the process of discovering these photos and literally processing the negatives. Much of the film unfolds at York University, where Romvari was studying her Master’s degree at the time of shooting (Still Processing is her thesis film). The school’s brutalist institutional atmosphere contrasts with the film’s emotional intensity. Virtually wordless, Romvari’s film uses reflective subtitles at the bottom of the screen, adding context and insight.
Read the full interview
As always, let us know what you watched and what you thought of them!
Alex Heeney, Editor-in-Chief
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