This week’s fine streaming selections span the globe (and contribute not one nickel to the corpocrats). Let’s raise the curtain!
Ee.Ma. Yau. (dir. Lijo Jose Pellisserry, 2018)
via Dharamshala Film Festival (free)
Lijo Jose Pellisserry may be the most exciting filmmaker in India right now. Influenced by the kinetic high-powered camera-work of Johnnie To, the insightful societal examinations of fellow Keralite filmmaker Padmarajan, and the ruthless pace and intensity of Sam Peckinpah, Pellisserry’s visionary work, wholly unique and authentic to his home state of Kerala, brings a new flavor to Indian cinema. While most of Pellisserry’s movies are streaming at an evil corporation not to be named here, Ee.Ma. Yau, a satirical depiction of absurd religious rituals surrounding death and an introspective look at India’s minority Christian community, is available via the Dharamshala Film Festival’s free screening room.
Dharamshala Film Festival is a major film festival held in the foothills of the north Indian Himalaya, screening debuts from around the world.
The Killing Floor (dir. Bill Duke, 1984)
via Film Forum ($10.00 rental)
Attention! This is major! It’s not every day you get the chance to see something that is almost impossible to find. Thank the cinema gods and the good people at Film Forum for this incredibly rare event. You may remember Bill Duke from his charismatic performances alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in action movies like Commando and Predator, but did you know he directed a movie about a black man who leaves his rural home and family to fight for labor rights and union power in Chicago? That won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance in its year, alongside Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise? That co-stars Alfre Woodard and Dennis Farina? In a time of reinvigorated fights for black liberation and the liberation of all workers, it is the perfect moment for The Killing Floor to re-emerge from wherever it was hidden from us. Take this opportunity.
Film Forum is a theater for alternative and independent films in Greenwich Village, New York City.
Right On! (dir. Herbert Danska, 1970)
via Museum of Modern Art (free)
A masterwork somehow buried in the chaos of the zeitgeist, Right On! is a radical film speaking for a generation of black activists, combining documentary form with live musical performances and excerpts of modernist music videos. Danska’s focus is the transcendently influential hip-hop group The Last Poets, who inspired later masters of the craft like Public Enemy, NWA, and A Tribe Called Quest. The film shows the depth and breadth of black culture in the 60’s and 70’s, pulls no punches, and it takes no cues to force a communication with a white audience. A proud and esoteric film that succeeds on its own uncompromising terms.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is the foremost museum and cultural center in the United States for… you guessed it… modern art.
La chute de la maison Usher (Fall of the House of Usher) (dir. Jean Epstein, 1928)
via La Cinémathèque (free)
La Cinémathèque is dedicated to French cinema, for French audiences. But wait! They are currently having a series on Jean Epstein with English subtitles!
Epstein’s most famous movie is perhaps The Fall of the House of Usher. Based on a short horror story by Edgar Allan Poe, and written for the screen by legendary French surrealist Luis Buñuel, this pleasurably weird and inventive silent film received wide critical acclaim, and is included on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list. It is but one of several Epstein films you can watch at the Cinémathèque.
La Cinémathèque Française is a nonprofit film organization based in Paris that has been the church of many a film scholar and critic since its founding in 1936. Their website is offering streaming movies online during the pandemic.
Asian Visual Art Pieces(various artists)
via Asian Artist Moving Image Platform (free)
Asian artists have been making brilliant artistic shorts and experimental video pieces as part of the Asian Artist Moving Image Platform. Step outside the realm of feature films and into the neglected but rewarding worlds of experimental and video art.
Asian Artist Moving Image Platform (AAMP) is a curatorial platform focusing on the video art, documentary, narrative, and experimental works of Asian artists.
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.
Please send your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, POPULA FILM CLUB.