Free Access to French and Canadian Films
The National Film Board of Canada has a website that provides access to over 3,000 films from a variety of genres including animation, documentary, narrative features, films for children based on books, and educational films including some films that can be incorporated into home schooling.
One of my favorite films available on the site is Mindscape by Jacques Drouin, an example of pinscreen animation in which a painter becomes immersed into the world of his painting. This fascinating, yet rare, animation technique is described in the documentary Pinscreen, by Norman McLaren from 1973.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy has assembled this outstanding list of resources of recent online French cultural offerings. The resources include access to classical music, Opera, jazz, and dance performances—there is even a link to explore the Laxcaux Cave. If you’re missing the opportunity to explore museums, you can have access to works from over 67 contemporary collections including the Centre Pompidou and the Musee Picaso through Videomuseum.
If you want to delve deeper into film history, they provide this link to a great discussion on the director Germaine Dulac in Women in Film History from Film at Lincoln Center. If you had the opportunity to watch Mati Diop’s terrific film Atlantics that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is streaming on Netflix, you’ll enjoy the director’s discussion of the film from the New York Film Festival.
More Festivals Moving Online
As the closure of cinemas drags on, film festivals have been revising their models to make sure that the work they have selected can still be available—this time online. Luckily, many filmmakers have been generous—especially shorts directors—to allow free access to their works.
One annual festival affected by COVID-19 is the Walker Art Center’s INDIgenesis festival, a showcase of works by Native filmmakers and artists guest curated by Missy Whiteman. One of the highlights is Sky Hopinka’s Lore which was inspired by Hollis Frampton’s experimental film (nostalgia).
Cinema Tropical, one of the leading presenters of Latin American cinema, is offering opportunities to stream work for free with ongoing recommendations. One of their compelling offerings is Cecilia Aldarondo’s Memories of a Penitent Heart, a complex documentary about the uncovering of unresolved family conflict rooted in the AIDS crisis.
A Classic Cult Documentary
If you’re nostalgic about the times before social distancing, you may want to check out Jeff Krulik’s Heavy Metal Parking Lot from 1986. This cult documentary follows the pre-concert partying of Judas Priest fans as they muse about life and love at the Capital Centre in Largo, MD. Many of the metal fans may have banged their heads a bit too hard before the interviews leading to some jaw-dropping confessions.