While the Speed Cinema, like many cinemas around the country, is closed due to public health concerns related to COVID-19, many of us are now at home and looking for good streaming content.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be recommending some films from various streaming services. To start, I’m suggesting that you sign up for Kanopy, if you haven’t done so already. The service is free with your Louisville Free Public Library card. You simply sign in with your library card number and your library password. You’ll be set with a number of credits—mine is 5 for this month. The library purchases a certain number of credits that are dispersed over the system. When they’re exhausted, you’ll need to wait until the start of the following month.
Grab a notebooks for these two films about the history of cinema as you’ll want to make notes about films that you’ll be inspired to see. The first is A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese through American Movies. You may not know that director Martin Scorsese is an avid cinephile who makes it part of his practice to view films every day. Even when he’s on set shooting a film, there is a screening room set up for inspiration and research. When the Speed Cinema first opened, we borrowed a 35mm print of Jean Renior’s The Golden Coach from his collection. Scorsese is the founder of The Film Foundation dedicated to the preservation of cinema—with an emphasis on world cinema. With A Personal Journey . . ., you’ll revel in his passion for cinema through this three-part series that was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of cinema.
Next, CalArts professor Thom Andersen provides a deep dive into the history of the city that produced a lion’s share of American cinema in Los Angeles Plays Itself. This essay film delves into the ways that Los Angeles has been incorporated into films—its architecture, culture, and a history—told primarily in film clips from films shot there. Andersen draws upon a wide swath of film history—far from the obvious examples—and you’ll be clamoring to search out many of the rare titles featured in the film.
As for me, I’m going to catch up on a couple of films that I’ve missed earlier by directors who have stunning new films each that have played at the recent Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale. The first is Madeline’s Madeline by Josephine Decker whose most recent film Shirley, blew me away when I got to catch up with it at the Berlinale last month. The other is It Felt Like Love, the first feature film by director/writer Eliza Hitman. She took home the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for her latest drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, a gripping film about a teen from Appalachia that unfortunately is opening in theatres now and may be overlooked. Without a doubt they are two of the most talented directors of note today.