Whilst many 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.
DETAILS: USA, 113mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Book your virtual screening ticket via the Hyde Park Picture House website and we’ll receive a portion of the ticket price: https://hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/film/clemency
ABOUT THE FILM: A new virtual release that we’re really excited about is Clemency. Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard). As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill. In a powerful interview published today in the independent with writer-director Chinonye Chukwu she says that casting Bernadine as a black woman “inherently complicates” Clemency’s narrative “because we’re not used to seeing black women as fully realised human beings who are not solely defined by their race and gender”. The full interview between Chukwu and commissioning editor at The Independent’s comments desk, Kuba Shand-Baptiste, can be found here https://bit.ly/3eENNLi To rent this film and support the Picture House at the same time head to our website hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/film/clemency.
DETAILS: UK, 92mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Streaming on Netflix and Now TV or available for rent on a variety of different platforms.
ABOUT THE FILM: In honour of the fact one of our favourite places in Leeds, Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, re-opened this week our family friendly choice this week is Babe. Based on the Dick King-Smith’s book The Sheep-Pig, the screenplay for Babe for co-written by its director Chris Noonan and George Miller, the writer/director perhaps most well-known for the Mad Max films.
Babe tells the story of a precocious little piglet who finds himself orphaned and alone on a country farm. When a loving sheepdog takes pity on him and raises him as one of her own Babe has a second chance, but fitting in isn’t easy when you’re such a remarkable little pig! Babe was nominated for seven and won one Academy Award in 1996 recognising a span of accomplishments from direction to cast to special effects. Four months after Babe was released, the Vegetarian Times writer Amy O’Connor stated that “the motion picture Babe, featuring an adorable porcine protagonist and a strong vegetarian message” was partially responsible for a major slump in sales in the pork industry. Meanwood Valley Farm have some magnificent pigs in their family, alongside sheep, alpacas and chickens! You can find some of these beautiful beasts in the fantastic Fun Book, an activity book for kids, full of graphic puzzles and games, ready to print at home if you donate to support the farm – see more details here: www.funbook.co.uk
Local Hero (1983)
DETAILS: UK, 111mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Free to watch now on 4oD https://www.channel4.com/programmes/local-hero/on-demand/21773-001
ABOUT THE FILM: A shared sense of community is one of the things we love most about cinema, and this is a central theme so lovingly exemplified by Local Hero. Written and directed by Bill Forsyth (who won a BAFTA for best direction), Local Hero followed Gregory’s Girl (1981) and shares with it a complete lack of cynicism, wry humour, idiosyncratic storytelling and even a cameo from John Gordon Sinclair. On the orders of a Texan oil magnate (a wonderful Burt Lancaster in an eccentric later role), dedicated executive MacIntyre is sent to the remote Scottish coast to buy the entire village of Ferness, so a refinery can be built. What results from this simple and familiar premise is anything but, as the village folk aren’t quite as hostile to the idea as you might expect. That Forsyth gives time for his characters to breathe and grow is just one of the film’s many pleasures, which continues to surprise with its depth of warmth and calm, progressive environmental themes, obsession with astronomy and even a hint of magical realism. Yet still the film apprehends the world with a real emotional and intellectual feeling - for how we change a place and a place changes us - with a heartfelt, wistful and clear-eyed charm.
The Salt of the Earth (2014)
DETAILS: France, Brazil, 110 mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Streaming now on MUBI
ABOUT THE FILM: The Salt of the Earth is a profoundly beautiful recent documentary directed by Wim Wenders that has just been added to the MUBI streaming platform. Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado has created a vast portfolio of photographic work in which you’ll find some of the most unsettling images of human life on earth. He points his camera with the aim, or at least the hope, of affecting change. In 1973 he gave up a career as an economist and began travelling to the most remote and dangerous places on earth, to document the lives of people living there. From its opening minutes, the film will make you gasp at the images which Sebastião Salgado captured in the Serra Pelada, Brazil’s largest and most dangerous gold mine. "I had returned to the dawn of time" he said, looking down into the vast abyss where hundreds of men hauled up sacks of earth on their backs. The mine operated for a short time in the 1980s. Initially Salgado was prohibited from taking photographs there, he had been stripped of his Brazilian passport as a result of his participation in the student protests against Brazil’s military dictatorship in the late 1960s. Wim Wenders made the documentary with Sebastião's son, Juliano. It’s a deeply personal and very moving film about the life of a man driven by his political convictions. If you haven't already done so, you can watch this film with our offer of three months of @MUBI entirely free. Sign up here with your email: https://mubi.com/hydepark
Mystic Pizza (1988)
DETAILS: USA, 105mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Available on Netflix and also to stream from YouTube and Google Play.
ABOUT THE FILM: On the 21st July and we celebrated Junk Food Day and the Scalarama Leeds team came up with just the right film for the occasion. In true Scalarama style it’s both a feel-good pick and a cult classic! They explained their choice: “During our social isolation, Scalarama Leeds has continued to host weekly watch-a-longs, including one evening recently where we each created our own delicious pizza-based accompaniment at home for Mystic Pizza. Far from being junk food, pizza has now become a comforting core food for the group, bringing us closer together. Mystic is the name of a Connecticut harbourside town where Kat, Daisy and JoJo work as waitresses in a pizza restaurant. They have finished their studies and now it's summer, soon these young women will embark on new paths, probably leading them away from small-town Mystic. Superstars Lili Taylor, Annabeth Gish and Julia Roberts were barely known back in 1988, but their characters in this film are the equivalent of the restaurant's secret pizza ingredients. Look out for a very young Matt Damon playing Julia Roberts’ love interest 's brother!” Scalarama Leeds are a voluntary group who help to support people putting on their own film screenings in the city. They will be gearing up to celebrate cinema in a responsible and socially distanced way in September, so if you’d like to know more, have a look at their social media channels to see what they are planning to do.
Beneath the Surface (2017)
DETAILS: UK, 4mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Free to watch on the BFI Player https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-beneath-the-surface-2017-online
ABOUT THE FILM: The BFI Black British Films season #WhoWeAre introduced us to some brilliant films by filmmakers we should know better and this is one of these films. Beneath The Surface is an animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently. Over three minutes we observe Cherelle and Minomi’s 25 year relationship, plagued with micro-aggressions and realisations. The film was directed by Jessica Ashman and Yero Timi-Biu and commissioned as part of First Acts, a series of films celebrating England's most exciting young artist filmmakers in partnership with the Arts Council England and Random Acts. To watch Beneath the Surface and explore other films in the #WhoWeAre programme visit player.bfi.org.uk/we-are-parable. You can also find recordings of all the Q&A events organised in the season over on the BFI youtube channel here youtube.com/user/BFIfilms.
Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge (2020)
DETAILS: USA, 100 mins
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: On BBCiPlayer now https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000kjnt/storyville-welcome-to-che...
ABOUT THE FILM: Welcome to Chechnya has played at various film festivals this year including Berlin and Sheffield DocFest and is now available as part of the BBC’s Storyville series. Since 2017, Chechnya’s tyrannical leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has waged a depraved operation to “cleanse the blood” of LGBTQ+ Chechens, overseeing a government-directed campaign to detain, torture and execute them. Welcome to Chechnya follows a group of LGBTQ+ activists working tireless to help LGBTQ+ people escape this life threatening situation while also trying to bring those responsible to account via the courts. Welcome to Chechnya is a deeply disturbing documentary and a vital record of large scale state sanctioned persecution of LGBTQ+ people that's happening right now. To learn more about the film head to the DocFest player and you can find a pre-recorded Q&A with director David France, producer Alice Henty and Olga Baranova from the Moscow Community Centre for LGBT+ Initiatives, moderated by BBC Storyville’s Mandy Chang. You can find that here: https://bit.ly/2ORQ2At If you'd like to make a donation to support the Russian LGBT Network and the Moscow Community Center you can do that here https://bit.ly/2ZPLUrl