We can’t visit physical cinema spaces for the time being, but film and streaming have proven essential comforts to many of us over the last few months, providing means of connection, entertainment, adventure, and even just a taste of the outside world.
With this in mind, our cinema guide this month features some brand new releases for you to dive into, including the fascinating and poignant Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets — a hybrid fiction/documentary film that follows the regulars of a Las Angeles bar as they celebrate and commiserate over its final night. We’d also recommend One Night in Miami, a unique exploration of the Black Civil Rights Movement and a directorial debut from actress Regina King.
For those looking for escape, how about The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme — this virtual multiplex presents free selection of streaming film that will transport you across oceans. Similarly, the ICA and the BFI are inviting film fans to indulge in the gloriously cool, hyper stylised films of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai, with an online retrospective starting this February.
Festivals have adapted to the current climate too, and we’d recommend the BFI Future Film Festival for all budding filmmakers looking to progress their work or connect with likeminded people. Closer to home, Manchester Film Festival has also moved to an online format.
For something completely different, there’s our friends at Make A Scene, who have a Titanic watch-a-long planned for Valentine’s. No matter your relationship status, this online extravaganza promises drag performances, life drawing and Celine Dion karaoke for everybody.
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
Taking Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a beginning, British-Nigerian poet and activist Femi Nylander journey from the libraries of Oxford University to Niger in order to follow the path of terror and genocide tread by French Captain Paul Voulet in 1898.
Brittany, France 1770. Portrait painter Marianne (Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Haenel), a reluctant bride to be who has just left the convent.
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.
Martin Scorsese’s epic saga of organised crime in postwar America, The Irishman weaves an engrossing and intricate web of connected events, audaciously cutting back and forth across decades.
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson excel as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.
Jonathan Demme x Talking Heads. Find out why Stop Making Sense is widely regarded as the greatest concert film ever made.
Bigger Than Life presents a 35mm screening of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1947 film, Black Narcissus at Stockport Plaza on Sunday 2nd September with an introduction by film scholar, Andrew Moor.