Whilst cinemas are closed and screenings on hold, sadly its not possible for us to share films in the usual way. Thankfully though, a growing number of top independent films are available to stream from home – often for free – allowing you to continue discovering brilliant films from around the world.
With this in mind we’ve launched Hyde Park Picks to share some of some of the best films available online, with picks coming from Picture House staff, volunteers and partner organisations. We'll also be including occasional non-film recommendations too, from podcasts and books, to other fun bits that we think you'd like.
Throughout June we will be using our platform to better amplify the voices of Black artists, with all our regular #HydeParkPicks consisting of films directed by Black filmmakers. Over the course of the next month we will be reaching out to black curators and collectives - as well as you our audience - as we try to use the platform we have the privilege of holding to help share the stories of black lives globally.
DETAILS: US, 100mins+
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: free on moma.org/magazine/ from 5–8pm GMT on the 9 June
ABOUT THE FILM: Suggested to us by Pavilion, akingdoncomethas (2018) is a video collage by American artist Arthur Jafa. Known for his work as the cinematographer on films like Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991), over the last few years Jafa has produced a series of incendiary montages using appropriated images and videos. akingdoncomethas combines over 100 minutes of found footage of preachers, gospel singers and musicians at black church services across the decades. What emerges is a profound reflection on black communality, expression and persistence in the face of oppression and alienation.
Jemima + Johnny (1966)
DETAILS: UK, 29mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Free from player.bfi.org.uk
ABOUT THE FILM: Directed by South African-born actor and activist Lionel Ngakane, Jemima + Johnny is a simple, almost dialogue-free yet extremely important heritage film focuses on the friendship between a black girl and white boy in post Windrush London told against a background of overt racial tension. The important message of this optimistic and beautiful short still resonates today and it is a great starting point to discuss diversity and equality with all ages. Children will be able to explore their own experiences and understanding of diversity, look at the differences between life then and now and most importantly discuss how we can continue to change and develop.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
DETAILS: CH/FR/BE/US, 93mins, 12A
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Rent it for £2.49 on YouTube as well as from a range of platforms including player.bfi.org.uk
ABOUT THE FILM: With unprecedented access to James Baldwin’s original work, Raoul Peck was able to complete a documentary film version of the novel Baldwin never finished—a radical narration about race in America that tracks the lives and assassinations of Baldwin’s friends Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. Whilst anchored in the struggle for equality in the 50s and 60s, I Am Not A Negro is also a penetrating documentary about what it means to be Black in America today and Baldwin’s words (narrated perfectly by Samuel L. Jackson) feel as prescient as ever. If you haven’t read anything by James Baldwin now is a great time to invest in some of his works as well as that of other Black writers. Supporting Black owned bookshops including @newbeaconbooks, noordinarybookshop.co.uk/ and @jacarandabooks to name just a few is one way of supporting Black voices right now.
WORLD OCEANS DAY: Jonah (2013)
DETAILS: UK/TZ, 17mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Watch it for free via: vimeo.com/58646255.
ABOUT THE FILM: Dorected by Kibwe Tavares, Jonah follows the story of Mbwana and his best friend Juma, two young men with big dreams. When they photograph a giant fish leaping out of the sea their dreams become a reality and their small seaside town become a tourist hot spot. But for Mbwana, the reality isn't what he dreamed, and when he meets the fish again – both of them forgotten, ruined and old – he decides only one of them can survive. As well as being an award winning director, Kibwe Tavares is also a trained architect. His fascination with the built environment weaves it's way through all areas of his practice. In this 2017 interview Tavares speaks to the inspiration behind his work including his directorial debut Robots of Brixton (2011) - a mixed media short, retelling the story of the 1981 Brixton riots. Available via: shorturl.at/fuDWX
A Portrait of Mr. Pink (1997)
DETAILS: UK, 15mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Free to watch on YouTube here: shorturl.at/pxzU7
ABOUT THE FILM: This week marks the three year anniversary of the death of Brenton Samuel Pink, the subject A Portrait of Mr. Pink by filmmaker and artist Helena Appio. Brenton Samuel Pink was a resident of Lewisham, who worked as a refuse collector for the local council. He also made music, gardened, painted and decorated his extraordinary home. Pink emigrated over from Jamaica to England in the 1950s, buying his house in Lewisham in 1963 for £4,800.The importance and act of home making in the non-traditional sense shines through in Appio's documentary. The care and attention he gave to his home through painting, gardening and plastering made it something that would bring joy. Pink went back to visit Jamaica in 1978 which was his last time travelling due to the hostility he experienced from UK immigration officers at the airport. Of the experience he said ""It made me feel very sick, very dirty, very ugly"". This resonates still today with hostility that the Windrush generation have continued to experience, the Windrush Scandal erupting just a year after his death. Reading the YouTube comments provides further insight into what Pink was like and how he is remembered by the local community. Many commenters remember passing by his house as children and how he would often say hello and chat to anyone walking by whilst he gardened.
The Stuart Hall Project (2013)
DETAILS: UK, 103mins, 12A
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: It's available with a subscription to the BFI channel here player.bfi.org.uk for £4.99/month or try a 14 days free trial
ABOUT THE FILM: Using artfully assembled fragments of archive film, television, radio broadcasts & photographs, The Stuart Hall Project (directed by British director John Akomfrah CBE) uses Stuart Hall's own words to tell the story of the astonishing life and career of one of Britain's foremost intellectuals. Hall arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1951, a time when 'ordinary English people had little direct experience of the Colonies'. Hall's 'escape' to Europe gave his ideas a new route, a new context for thinking about post-colonial struggle & political protest around the world. Turbulent moments of the 20th century are symbolically glimpsed & connected through Akomfrah’s skilful editing & use of intertitles. His work in the fields of sociology, culture and semiology responded to his own life experiences and led to the establishment of the influential Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, of which he was the first Director. Stuart Hall was one of the most prolific writers of the New Left. He was a founding editor of Soundings, a journal of politics and culture. This collective of writers produced the Kilburn Manifesto in response to the financial crisis of 2007-8. This was the last truly global crisis, they argue that it was used to reinforce redistribution along the lines of class interests.
Fresh Dressed (2015)
DETAILS: FR/US, 90mins, 15
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Rent it for £2.99 on Amazon Prime, Youtube and Google Play
ABOUT THE FILM: Fresh Dressed is a light-hearted documentary about the emergence of hip-hop fashion & the streetstyle entrepreneurs who made their brands world famous.Directed by Sacha Jenkins & produced by Nasir Jones (aka rapper Nas) Fresh Dressed is an expert history of African American streetstyle & its origins in New York’s counter-culture, with contributions from Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Sean Combs and many more. Combining political & sociological analysis with clips of RUN DMC, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and kids explaining what it takes to be “fresh” in sneakers with fat laces, the film also tackles the paradox of fashion innovators and ‘authentic’ streetstyle brands going mainstream.