With the country in lockdown and venues closed, cinemas, distributors and film festivals have had to get creative. From drive-in screenings, to online Q&As and zoom panels, organisations have stepped up, and there are plenty of novel ways to watch movies and engage with wider film culture.
Some films have moved directly to streaming, and while independent-minded services such as BFI Player, MUBI and Curzon Home Cinema have vast libraries to dig into, they are also providing vital platforms for new releases. We’ve enjoyed David Thewlis in Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour, the release of Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network and, brand new this week, Stéphane Demoustier’s The Girl With a Bracelet.
Local venues and festivals have been innovating too. The world-renown non-fiction event Sheffield DocFest has moved online for the time being, with a selection of films and digital events that begs to be explored. Manchester’s HOME has announced that it’s aiming to reopen early September — but for now keep an eye out for online programming. They’ve collaborated with Manchester Met on A City Seen: Dangerous Associations, a free online screening and panel looking at joint enterprise law, young people and racism.
We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis. This means that, although venues remain shut and campaigns cancelled, our writers can be reengaged to help arts organisations and artists across the North of England share their online content with our culture-hungry readers.
Here are our picks
From Spanish melodrama, to the Japanese studio system, to French coming-of-age cinema, Sheffield’s Showroom presents a series of free weekly film talks from esteemed academics.
Days of Bagnold Summer, online, Until 31 August 2020, from £9.99 - Book now
Simon Bird’s directorial debut is an affecting take on mother-son relations in British suburbia. Earl Cave and Monica Dolan make for delightful leads, while a supporting cast of Rob Brydon, Tasmin Grieg and Alice Lowe almost steal the show.
Infinite Football, online, Until 31 August 2020, from £9.99 - Book now
While football authorities debate the changes necessary to bring the game back, nobody is thinking as radically as wannabe revolutionary Laurentiu Ginghina. Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu’s documentary raises questions above and beyond the beautiful game.
The follow-up to Aquarius from director Kleber Mendonça Filho, this time co-directing and co-writing with long term producer Juliano Dornelles merges sci-fi, the western, Brazilian bandit movies (cangaço) and horror for a highly original and ultra-violent look at a town under siege from a mysterious threat.
Heart surgeon Juha has lived life at an unengaged distance since his wife’s passing. And although it is often debilitating, his grief also throws up some rather surprising sexual urges.
Controversial from the moment it premiered in Competition at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, documentarian Nora Fingscheidt’s fiction feature debut portrays the life of a chaotic and troubled young girl.
Natasha Lyonne and RuPaul Charles star in Jamie Babbit’s cult 1999 romantic satire.
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson excel as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.
Rian Johnson (Brick) assembles an all-star cast in this characteristically intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist.
Claire Denis’ masterful reworking of Herman Melville is sensual and dangerous.
A relentless serial killer is stalking the streets of San Francisco, leaving citizens in a state of panic and baffling the authorities with the ciphers and menacing letters he leaves at the murder scenes.
Set in China’s underworld, Jia Zhangke’s tale of love and betrayal follows a self-sacrificial gangster’s moll as she comes out of prison and sets about tracking down her former lover.