With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options—not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves–each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit platforms. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.
Audition (Takashi Miike)
Perhaps I’ve been subconsciously squeamishly avoiding it, but I’ve been waiting to see Takashi Miike’s Audition for some time and now the opportunity has easily arrived courtesy of MUBI. As Daisy Phillipson writes for Little White Lies, “On closer inspection, however, Miike asks us to consider the cultural context in which the film is set. Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, who often uses social commentary to skewer concerns facing modern Japan, Audition offers an ingenious twist on national femininity by subverting the passive female horror narrative.”
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci)
One of the most ravishing movies ever made, Bernardo Bertolucci’s masterpiece The Conformist, shot by Vittorio Storaro, is a chilling exploration of fascism. As we await the return of movie theaters to experience repertory screenings of this gem, turn down the lights and click play as soon as possible. The film is part of The Criterion Channel’s double feature with another Jean-Louis Trintignant-led classic, Costa-Gavras’ Z.
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
The Diaspora Suite (Ephraim Asili)
Before The Inheritance arrives on March 12, Film at Lincoln Center present Ephraim Asili’s five-short collection The Diaspora Suite. This 16mm shot omnibus was produced over the course of seven years in Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, and the U.S., collapsing time and space to reveal the hidden resonances that connect the Black American experience to the greater African diaspora. History, politics, music, dance, poetry, and ritual make The Diaspora Suite a playful, surprising, moving, radical interrogation of colonialism’s legacy in its construction of a one-of-a-kind, global vision of pan-African identity.
Where to Stream: Film at Lincoln Center
“One thing I hope readers will take away is that there are a lot of different ways to be a director and a creative artist,” Mark Harris recently told us regarding his new book on Mike Nichols. “Especially those of us who love movies can kind of romanticize direction as a career of fighting against the odds to realize your vision; there is certainly an element of that. But when I look at the work of Mike Nichols, he was profoundly collaborative, was genuinely interested in writers, actors, in working with other people together to create something, and who followed his passion for the work itself and particular pieces of material.” The Museum of Modern Art is now offering a special virtual Nichols retrospective featuring a mix of early and late films, Catch-22, Silkwood, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Fortune, Closer, and Angels in America.
Where to Stream: MoMA’s Virtual Cinema
Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
There is no shortage of films that depict the pains of assimilation and the pursuit of the American Dream for a more promising future. It’s been customary for these stories to tell of journeys from another country to a metropolis somewhere across the land of the free. When it comes to the family of Minari, however, they’ve already been living the United States for some time, carving out a life for themselves on the West Coast. Yet Jacob (Steven Yeun) has dreams beyond separating chickens into male and female bins as a cog in industrialized farming and so he moves his Korean-American family to the rural outskirts of Arkansas where he and his wife Monica (Yeri Han) continue the same job, all while attempting to build a more fruitful living with their own farm featuring Korean produce. All the joys and struggles of this journey are captured with a keen, warm tenderness by Lee Isaac Chung, whose carefully-considered drama deserves to be a breakthrough for the writer-director, who now has five features to his name. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Proxima (Alice Winocour)
An incredibly refreshing space story grounded in a beautifully layered Eva Green performance, Alice Wincour’s Proxima is less about the mission and way more interested in the physical trauma one’s body undergoes and the relationships you risk to leave behind when venturing to the cosmos. What makes the film so relatable is the fear and anxiety that haunts Green—how desperate she is to have the confidence her daughter will be okay. – Erik N.
Where to Stream: Hulu
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (Ali LeRoi)
While not in control of the response, Tunde Johnson (Steven Silver) does control the conversation when deciding to come out as gay to his wealthy, Nigerian-born parents the night of his secret boyfriend’s (Spencer Neville’s Soren) birthday. He sits them down, diverts their attention from the busy intellectual discourse that runs through their heads, and says his peace. He fends off his mother’s desire to hold him (a source of physical affection he’s been trying to get her to stop) and implores his father to end the silent stare into the distance he’s adopted since the words were spoken. It becomes a weight off Tunde’s shoulders internally to have his truth heard and externally to see they won’t waver in their support. But it won’t prevent his death. – Jared M. (VOD
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (Lee Daniels)
The title of Lee Daniels’ new biopic doesn’t just refer to an official court case brought upon by the American government against legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, but a far more sinister and clandestine effort of censorship perpetrated by federal agents acting at the behest of white supremacist institutions. When threatened by prospects of change, the political establishment often tries to demean and defame artists of color grappling with the hard truths about this country’s history of injustice, and Holiday’s circumstances were no different. – Glenn H. (full review)
Where to Stream: Hulu
The Vigil (Keith Thomas)
Taking place over one night in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community, The Vigil begins with an explanation for those less familiar with some of the religion’s traditions. Title cards detail the term shomer, which refers to someone made to keep watch over a recently deceased person. We then see Yakov (Dave Davis) at a support meeting for people like him who have abandoned the faith, only to be approached afterward by someone offering him money to watch over the body of someone known for being a hermit. He accepts, staying the night in the deceased’s home with his frail, dementia-suffering wife (Lynn Cohen). But soon after Yakov starts his watch, he discovers that a demon has latched itself to him, refusing to let him leave and making him relive his past traumas repeatedly. – C.J. P. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Also New to Streaming
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