We have been binging on the movies that we have missed this year. Because there are no movie theaters, we have struggled to find the films we want to watch because many are not streaming yet.
We watched Bacurau, all of the Steve McQueen’s Small Axe, Beanpole, Martin Eden and Blood Nose, Empty Pockets. I fell asleep during Another Round but it was late.
There is a theme through all of these films. Not a lot has changed in any of our societies; although we have evolved, we are all very similar no matter where you come from. As the entire world is going through this pandemic, these films connected me to history and other cultures.
Barurau is dark, violent and genius. It is about a small town in northern Brazil that is being wiped off the map. The community bands together to destroy the institutions that have essentially ignored and failed them.
Martin Eden connects us to a gorgeous poor sailor who saves a rich kid from trouble and finds himself part of a wealthy enclave. He is taken by their lives and wants to become part of it. He learns that he must educate himself. Yet through that education he finds that the wealthy individuals that he silently praised aren’t who he wants them to be. It is a severe critique of capitalism.
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets takes place in Las Vegas, in a bar that is shutting its doors forever. The regulars, who are a collection of barflies who can barely make ends meet, spend the last day and night there drinking. It is a slice of America. It drives home how young we are as a country. Our country has too many people living on the edge that we choose to ignore. That doesn’t happen to as many in countries with social nets.
Each of Steve McQueen’s five movies that he made over the past year are the best films of all. Real-life stories about ordinary people inspired him. For me, the best was Lover’s Rock, although Mangrove runs a close second. It depicts how Black people have been trying to create a space for themselves and their own cultures in many countries besides our own. There is one particular scene inside a London house party, their own castle, where the band stops playing, and the partygoers continue to sing the song without music. It is about 20 minutes. McQueen said the entire scene was spontaneous. The filming is beautiful, the clothes are awesome, and the love of culture, music and each other is very present. It is incredible.
I can hardly wait for Sundance even if I will be watching all the films from my privacy of my own home.