The Popula Film Club brings you worthwhile options to stream, chosen with a view to quality, and to withholding as much money as possible from the oligarchs and monopolists of Amazon, Netflix, YouTube and the like.
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Rock Hudson’s Home Movies (dir. Mark Rapaport, 1992)
via Filmmuseum München; free, from May 25th to May 28th
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies is a documentary that lives up to Mark Rappaport’s unique radical style of independent filmmaking. Piecing together clips from Rock Hudson’s many roles in Hollywood cinema, the movie is an exploration of Hudson’s sexuality onscreen, with a voiceover reading entries from the actor’s diary. It’s the rare essay film that allows the actor to reveal, in his own words, a deeply personal part of himself.
Filmmuseum München (Munich Film Archive) is one of six film museums in Germany and is dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and archiving of digital cinema and film prints.
Taste of Cherry (dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 1994)
via Criterion Channel; $10.99 US subscription
In light of the cancellation of the “physical” Cannes Film Festival this year, the Criterion Channel offers a compensation: 18 Cannes Palme d’Or winning films streaming on their service in lieu of the fest. From these 18, I am singling out Abbas Kiarostami’s minimalist masterpiece Taste of Cherry. A man in Tehran roams around asking someone to help him dig a grave. For whom? For himself of course. A journey into the heart of a nation and the soul of religion, “radical and elemental,” in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s words. The first Iranian film to win the Palme d’Or (shared with Shohei Imamura’s The Eel).
Criterion Channel is a subscription streaming service from the Criterion Collection that focuses on offering classic and art cinema that is a more refined and adventurous alternative to other services.
Pahokee (dir. Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bregnan, 2019)
via Indiana University Cinema; $10.00 rental, until May 27th
Pahokee is a small town in Florida where most residents work agricultural jobs, In this insular environment, youth at the brink face the reality of being thrust into the world at the end of their senior year of high school, both eager and anxious for what comes next. Pahokee is the perfect movie for the end of the school year, and remembering those last few months with the people you really grew up with.
Indiana University Cinema is a arthouse cinema venue at IU Bloomington campus which screens films for students and hosts professionals from the industry to come speak and share their wisdom.
Deerskin (dir. Quentin Dupieux, 2020)
via AFI Silver Theater; $9.99 rental
Yes, there is a second eccentric Quentin who makes movies, a genius of sorts. I was able to see Deerskin last December at the AFI Silver Theater near my residence; remembering how great the theater experience is, it’s sad to think this won’t be the same. But the movie is terrific. Following a mysterious French man (played Jean Dujardin, Oscar winner for The Artist) who falls so love with a deerskin jacket he tries on at the store that he decides to go on a crusade to destroy every other jacket in existence, Deerskin is as weird as pitch black comedy can get. Co-starring the ever-enchanting Adèle Haenel, this movie will have you laughing and yelling “what the f*ck” over and over again.
AFI Silver Theater is a repertory theater of the American Film Institute which screens rare, classic, and independent movies alongside mainstream Hollywood releases. The site also hosts speakers and celebrity/artist Q&As.
Solaris (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)
via Russian Film Hub; free
Here’s one to bookmark for the rest of your life. Russian Film Hub is a website that offers an absolutely astounding selection of the greatest Russian films, with English subtitles, for free. Wow, we can have nice things after all. Singling out a movie from here is hard, but why not begin with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, based on the novel by Stanislav Lem, about an astronaut who goes to explore a “living” planet that plays tricks on his mind. This masterpiece by Tarkosvky is a heartbreaking love story, a hypnotic science-fiction drama, and the ultimate movie about being alone with your thoughts. How relevant.
Russian Film Hub is a streaming site that is a labor of love of Russian film scholar Richard Wess.