On Film.               April 2020

     With people having to self-isolate and social venues shut for an indefinite period, being able to access entertainment from home becomes more critical. Locally, Cinematheque’s season of films has been put on hold until who knows when, but if you are still wanting to view some quality cinema, I hope to be able to point you in the right direction. If you are not particularly interested in the latest Hollywood fare, here are some feel-good suggestions you might not have considered, many of which have been praised by Cinematheque audiences.

    Although I am not the obvious person to promote Netflix- I feel their increasing dominance in the cinema marketplace makes the availability of less mainstream films even more perilous all these titles are to be found on their site.

  The French ‘Untouchable,’ based on the true story of a friendship between a paralysed millionaire and his street-wise carer is irresistibly joyous, and ‘the very definition of a crowd-pleaser.’ Time Out.

   ‘Amelie’ concerns a simple Parisian girl bringing happiness to other people’s lives. ‘Two hours of everything that is wonderful about life, and everything that is wonderful about cinema.’ David Cox, i-D magazine.

    ‘Jean de Florette’, an adaption of Marcel Pagnol’s novel set in the Provence countryside in the 1920s, is the world’s most popular foreign-language film ever.

     ‘Belleville Rendezvous’, a French cartoon for both young and old, about a lonely little boy living with his grandmother, becoming a champion cyclist in the Tour de France is ‘funny...graced with moments of genius.’ Empire magazine.

      ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’- the original 2009 Argentinian version, not the Hollywood remake, is an Academy Award-winning nail-biting thriller, not only of a brutal murder and corrupt government officials but also lost love. ‘A masterpiece...leaves one breathless at every turn.’

       The Japanese ‘Shoplifters’ is a portrait of a makeshift family rescuing a little girl into their home. ‘A compassionate...love letter to the family.’ HeyUGuys.

       ‘Roma’, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s stunning tribute to the childminder who brought him up in 1970s Mexico City. A true classic.

       Another smaller site worth a look is BFI Player, set up by the British Film Institute, featuring some of the more obscure British films, but also many timeless classics of European cinema like Bicycle Thieves, Fitzcarraldo, Rome Open City and Breathless. Do check them out.

      A particular favourite of mine is Channel 81 on Freeview. ‘Talking Pictures’ is an independent, round-the-clock archive film and television channel, showing mostly black and white British films from the 1930s to the 1960s, ranging from Mr Pastry to Hammer Horror. That surely defines something for everyone!

    I hope this has given some guidance to a very small selection of what is available beyond the obvious blockbuster fare. Why not get in touch if you feel you have suggestions of suitable recommendations in these unprecedented times.