A Pick Of Online Releases
Saturday 28 March 2020, by
During this hopefully short-lived period of confinement, we’ll bring you some new releases, old gems and freebies that are now available on streaming platforms or video on demand to help distract us all from our currently precarious financial and emotional conditions.
We’ll post 2 or 3 titles at a time, starting with these recent releases:
Bacurau - MUBI
Bacurau is a small, isolated and impoverished village lodged somewhere in the backwaters of Brazil. The day after the death of the local matriarch, the village disappears from all digital maps, just as drones start hovering ominously overhead. Beyond the village’s borders, a group of trigger-happy mercenaries are preparing to kill off the residents to let off some steam.
Although unevenly-paced and at times pointlessly drawn out, this is quite a daring and surprising film. Sitting at the crossroads of many genres, Western, Samurai (quite a clear nod to Seven Samurai), gore and dystopian sci-fi, Bacurau is thrilling and playful and certainly courageous. The subject matter is embedded in the country’s modern history ; it feels very cathartic to watch the indigenous residents have their bloody and brutal revenge on the hunters, incarnating the racism, foreign meddling, corporate and environmental destruction that they have been the victims of. The ending feels slightly anti-climactic and could have packed more of a punch, but kudos to Mendonça Filho and Dornelles for going all out, having fun with the codes of cinema to unleash this anger.
And Then We Danced - BFI Player
A very engaging and thoroughly enjoyable film about a young Georgian dancer struggling with the pressures of graduating from his dance school and his growing feelings for a newly-arrived dancer. The film gives a heart-warming account of the lust and growing bond between the two central figures, and their passion for their craft. The film is well structured and stitched together, the actors give very watchable performances and the dance sequences are a thoroughly good watch.
However, the other characters could have done with a little bit more fleshing out and feel a little incidental. It’s quite uniform in tone, so the drama doesn’t quite build up to a crescendo and the stakes only feel high towards the end scene.
On the whole, this is an enjoyable, fun, moving film that, beyond the central, unfolding relationship, offers us a glimpse into a little known art scene.
The Platform - NETFLIX
A depressingly prescient film, The Platform is a Spanish allegorical horror in which the inmates of a brutalist prison tower are fed via a descending buffet-platform. The titular platform is loaded up with lavishly prepared dishes at the top of the building - level 0. The inmates on level 1 are the first recipients. Once they are given their allocated time to eat, the platform descends to level 2 with the remaining food, and so on. Had all of the higher level inmates taken their fair share, the buffet would have been enough to just about feed everyone. But of course they end up gorging themselves, and as the platform progressively descends, the ones residing on the lower levels are left with nauseating spit and piss-covered scraps, with those further down the bottom greeted only with empty and broken crockery.
Remarkably aesthetically reminiscent of Denis Villeneuve’s Clermont-Ferrand winning short Next Floor, The Platform is a tightly-paced, anxiety-inducing and very effective warning tale about solidarity and fairness.