Tuesday 10 – or more
New out this week is The Uncertain Kingdom (15, BFI Player), a two-part anthology of short films examining the state of the UK (well, pre-Covid) in 2020. Featuring 20 short films from new and established film-makers and covering climate change, homelessness, race and sexuality, these are intended to provoke discussion and debate and, at 35p per film, represent good value. I haven’t seen them all but can particularly recommend Verisimilitude, What’s In A Name? and Strong Is Better Than Angry.
Or choose a duo of films that will fuel your discussions around the anger of #BlackLivesMatter. Ava DuVernay’s documentary The Thirteenth (15, Netflix), which vividly documents the horrors of mass criminalisation and incarceration in the US which particularly affects African Americans. And Fruitvale Station (15, Netflix) is a dramatised version of the final hours of Oscar Grant, shot by San Francisco transit police on New Year’s Day, 2009. The fine film is directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Michael B Jordan, who subsequently collaborated on Black Panther and the Creed films.
Check out We Are One Global Festival which is running free on YouTube until Sunday 7 June. It’s a collaboration between a number of international festivals and there is a host of short films, features and talks for adults and youngsters. So far my only recommendations are some lovely little animations for kids and two BFI archive gems which we screened when they were reissued, silent epic Shiraz: A Romance of India (U) and documentary The Epic of Everest (U), the official record of the 1924 attempt by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine to climb Mount Everest. I’ll also be watching short film Forever’s Going to Start Tonight – I’m a big fan of the films of Eliza Hittman (Beach Rats, Never Rarely Sometimes Always) so am keen to see this early short she made. If you have time to dive into any other films in this festival, do share your thoughts with us on our social media channels. The Festival is free but asking for donations to the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Saffron Screen is working with Cheltenham International Film Festival, who have moved their festival entirely online so it is now available country-wide from 8 – 14 June. Do have a look at the listings – there are some great choices here and we get a percentage of every ticket you buy through our website.
June is Pride month so we recommend seeking out Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory (15, BFI Player), a semi-autobiographical story about an ageing film director (a stunning performance by Antonio Banderas), and Tangerine (15, All4), Sean Baker’s comedy drama, inventively shot on an iPhone, which follows a transgender woman in LA, determined to find the woman her boyfriend has been seeing while she was in prison. And one of our favourite films of 2018, Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post (15, Netflix) is a compassionate coming-of-age story set in a gay conversion camp in 1990s America.
And a few other treats to catch this week
Here are a few films we recommend you watch this week before they leave BBC iplayer:
Some Like It Hot (12A, iplayer) – one of the finest comedies ever, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Happy memories of screening it for our first birthday celebrations in 2007.
Chicken Run (U, iplayer) – we love this brilliant Aardman animated film as a host of chickens seek to escape their fate as pie filling. The voice cast is excellent, particularly Julie Sawalha, Miranda Richardson and Jane Horrocks (who visited Saffron Screen in 2013 when we screened Sunshine on Leith).
The Eagle Has Landed (15, iplayer) – settle in for derring-do and good old fashioned adventure with a brilliant cast, led by Michael Caine, about a German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill at the height of the Second World War.
Oklahoma! (U, iplayer) – have a good old sing-along with this old-fashioned musical and its hits including Oh What A Beautiful Morning and The Surrey with the Fringe on Top.