Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.
Aniara (Pella Kågerman & Hugo Lilja)
The title shares its name with a city-size spacecraft ferrying humans from Earth to Mars in barely three weeks. It’s a routine trip that’s never run into problems with many passengers already having family on the red planet to greet them upon arrival. But there’s a first time for everything as a small field of debris forces Captain Chefone (Arvin Kananian) off course. Unfortunately a screw breaches their hull anyway, pushing their nuclear fuel supply to critical mass. Expelling it may save them for the moment, but without it they cannot steer. So despite having enough self-sustaining electricity and algae (for air and food), there’s no way to return onto their necessary trajectory. Either a celestial body interrupts their path to slingshot back or they simply drift forever. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Tubi
Athena (Romain Gavras)
Gavras’ film is also a happy example of budget being put to good use. Athena played in competition this week at a Venice that has so far boasted two Netflix-financed passion projects that have spent big, and to wildly varying degrees of success. Gavras has troubled the streaming giant’s deep pockets to the tune of $15 million, a war chest that lets him turn entire buildings in Évry-Courcouronnes into Boschian nightmares, and to hire many of the inhabitants (he claims 90% appeared as extras, comparing the set-up to Dogville). With them his film holds two aces: an unmistakable sense of place and of real indignation. – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Diary of an African Nun (Julie Dash)
Adapted from a short story by Alice Walker, this early film by the groundbreaking Black American director seizes a woman’s spiraling devotion in breathtaking black-and-white. A test of faith through the rhythms and rituals of the Ugandan mountainside.
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
Girl Picture (Alli Haapasalo)
While it doesn’t break out entirely new ground, Alli Haapasalo’s Sundance winner and Berlinale selection Girl Picture is an energetic, deeply felt coming-of-age film that takes a unique structure. Set across three separate Fridays in Finland, it follows the adventures of three young women dealing with first love, heartbreak, and reckoning with their next steps in life. As Brianna Zigler said in her review, “Haapasalo’s film is a free-wheeling portrayal of (cis) feminine adolescence in its various complicated, unflattering incarnations: familial pains, burgeoning sexualities, finding balance between work and pleasure, all the while trying to figure out who the fuck you even are. As a girl I intimately know the score and often found Girl Picture warmly reflecting my own experiences.”
Where to Stream: VOD
Kino Lorber on YouTube
Kino Lorber have begun streaming their films for free on YouTube. There’s seemingly no qualitative limit: alongside some of our favorite titles in recent years (Goodbye to Language, Chained for Life, Petzold’s Barbara, The Forbidden Room) there’s a series of their repertory classics (Babylon, Jarman’s Blue, Legend of the Mountain, 1957’s A Star Is Born).
Where to Stream: YouTube
New York Film Festival Favorites
Ahead of the 60th edition of New York Film Festival kicks off next week, programmers Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan have curated a collection of favorites since its inception, featuring works from Terence Davies, Jacques Rivette, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Edward Yang, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claire Denis, Wong Kar Wai, Ousmane Sembène, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Jia Zhangke, and many more.
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
The Story of Film: A New Generation (Mark Cousins)
While most film-related documentaries attempt to capture something solidified in the past, whether it be a legendary, late filmmaker or a production whose story has wrapped, Mark Cousins is grappling with the very recent in his new update to The Story of Film, A New Generation. With a multitude of clips, from Bong Joon Ho to An Elephant Sitting Still to Tangerine to Apichatpong Weerasethakul to Mad Max: Fury Road to Lover’s Rock and beyond, the film unpacks the cinematic language of 2010 through 2021. It’s an expansive, fascinating look at where the medium is headed and most interesting in the ways Cousins makes unexpected connections from films across the world.
Where to Stream: VOD
Three Minutes – Lengthening (Bianca Stigte)
What can we glean from three minutes of film shot in 1938? This is the question driving Three Minutes — A Lengthening, an engaging essay film from director Bianca Stigter. Over a decade ago Glenn Kurtz recovered a 16mm film reel hiding in his parent’s house. It was footage his grandfather David Kurtz shot while on a European vacation in 1938. These three minutes photograph the mostly Jewish town of Nasielsk, Poland. By 1939, the Nazi occupation and their Holocaust would leave less than 100 surviving Jewish townspeople. In these brief, captured moments we see a flurry of faces. Who were these people? What lives did they lead? – Dan M. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Also New to Streaming
Me to Play (review)
MUBI (free for 30 days)
Notes on an Appearance
A Girl Missing
The Mouth Agape