The Black Power Mixtape is a Swedish documentary that features footage of Black American revolutionaries - and those otherwise affected by America’s anti-Black history, spanning from 1967-1975. With similarities to Agnès Varda’s Black Panthers documentary, The Black Power Mixtape offers a more in-depth look at not only the political but also the personal lives of those featured.This film has left a lasting impression on me due to the harrowing tales of those who appear in it, from being targeted by government surveillance to falling victim to the crack epidemic.
This gorgeous drama-thriller is set in bustling Istanbul where different characters, mostly women, cross paths.And when I say gorgeous, I mean of the drop-dead variety. The cinematography is reminiscent of the Japanese style of Kazuo Miyagawa or Columbus director Kogonada.And it’s all matched by the dialogue. The first episode follows a woman who lays bare her life in a first session with a psychologist. The story then moves on to her psychologist seeing her own clinician, mostly discussing how she feels about seeing veiled patients.
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Absolute must-watch movies and shows.
Wendy (Michelle Williams) is a drifter driving up to Alaska in hopes of finding work. When her car breaks down, she and her dog Lucy are stranded and forced to scrounge for food and repairs, hitting one roadblock after another on her path to an uncertain dream. This sympathetic and solemn look at poverty from director Kelly Reichardt serves as a reminder of how easy it is to fall through the fragile American safety net. Reichardt’s uncompromising approach paired with Williams’s restrained performance makes the experience authentic and intense, recalling the work of Ken Loach. This natural sharpness makes for an engrossing watch that builds in power until the emotional release of the film’s heartbreaking conclusion.
This incredible documentary is about the elusive Iranian artist Bahman Mohassess, whose work has the uniqueness of a Picasso or a Salvador Dalí.But unlike his European counterparts, most of Mohassess’ work has been destroyed. Some in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in Iran but most, interestingly, by the artist himself.After the revolution, he went into exile. For 40 years his whereabouts remained unknown — until an Iranian filmmaker based in Paris tracked him in a hotel in Rome.Very early in the film, director Mitra Farahani points out that Mohassess died half an hour after one of their filming sessions.The urgency of their conversations, the genius of Mohassess and his relationship to his art, and the uniqueness of the untold story of his life, all make this more than just another documentary. It’s a work of immeasurable historic value.
Eve’s Bayou is a Southern Gothic tale of spirituality, family, secrets, and the ties that bind them together. The story follows the awakening, both spiritual and emotional, of young Eve Baptiste. The middle sibling of the Baptiste family, 10-year-old Eve, navigates childhood while enduring the tumultuous relationship between her mother and father. What lurks beneath a seemingly ordinary marital conflict is an insidious betrayal that could tear her entire family apart. Eve’s Bayou should be considered one of the greatest Black American epics of the past 25 years. I adore this film because it is unflinchingly real - and honest about the sometimes rocky reality of familial bonds.
One of the sharpest horror films of the last decade, Julia Ducournau’s Raw follows in the footsteps of films like Carrie by translating coming of age anxieties into visceral full-throated terror. Justine is a beginner veterinary student leaving home for the first time. After a brutal hazing ceremony forces this young vegetarian to eat meat, she develops an insatiable hunger for flesh that begins to consume her.Raw is as much an intense body-horror (not for the squeamish) as it is an astute psychological drama. Underneath its nightmarish sheen, Ducournau layers social commentary on sexuality, patriarchy, and deviance using the school’s sadistic initiations as metaphors for larger structures. All of this depth is paired with striking cinematography, crisp pacing, and an unforgettable performance from Garance Marillier as Justine.
This British comedy stars Charlotte Ritchie (Feel Good) as a broke young woman who unexpectedly inherits the house of a distant family member. Instead of selling it, she and her boyfriend decide they want to renovate it into a hotel. This doesn't sit well with the house ghosts, who are already strapped for space.The charming performances in Ghosts span the living and the dead. The script is witty and fun. It's the perfect TV show to wind down to: silly, but so well-made.
Arabella is a Twitter-famous writer from London who has one night to submit a draft for her second book. She gives herself an hour break during that night to go out for drinks with a close friend. When she gets back she realizes that much more than an hour had passed, that she had blacked-out, and that she has bruises all over her body.Like the excellent Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You is a Michaela Coel one-woman show: she is the showrunner, the writer, co-director, and leading actress. And whatever Coel makes, she makes it personal and without compromises. I May Destroy you is based on her experience being sexually assaulted while making Chewing Gum.To make sure she told this story right, she turned down a $1 million deal from Netflix over creative ownership.
This excellent legal drama starts with a successful partner losing her retirement savings to a Ponzi scheme. The person accused of running the scheme is the father of her newest junior associate. They both find themselves out of options and join a black-run firm that specializes in police brutality cases. From legal questions that start on Reddit and 4Chan to trying to find a Trump supporter in the firm, The Good Fight is relatable without being cringy. Everything is believable, including the characters and the arcs. The Good Fight feels like Suits or The Good Wife, but it also feels much better. It's sharper.
This addictive thriller is about two groups of Swedish young people: one already radicalized, fighting in Syria, and the other, still in high-school and on the path to radicalization.An anti-terrorism officer with a questionable past is put in contact with a woman who traveled to Syria and wants to get back to Sweden. In exchange, this woman offers information about an upcoming attack in Europe.Caliphate is fascinating, deeply thrilling, and made with an authenticity that sees past cheap stereotypes to offer genuine insight into what drives young people to become terrorists.