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7 Day Film Diet #35

7 Day Film Diet #35

QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh returns with another batch of suggestions of films to stream at home during lockdown.

It has been one year now since lockdown had everyone scrambling for their remote controls and becoming online viewers. The countdown is now on for QUAD’s reopening but for now here is another 28 films currently available to view for free – a hearty mix of classics, genre, documentary and music films.  

Day One – BBC iPlayer 

The Magnificent Ambersons 

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Orson Welles directs, writes and produces this period drama starring Joseph Cotten and Dolores Costello. Eugene Morgan (Cotten) wishes to marry Isabel Amberson (Costello), but she refuses him in favour of a wealthy suitor. Years later Eugene returns, now a successful businessman through his invention of an automobile. When Wilbur dies, Eugene attempts to rekindle his romance with Isabel, but her spoilt son George (Tim Holt) interferes which affects both George's affair with Eugene's daughter, Lucy (Anne Baxter) and the Amberson family's waning fortunes. 

The Commune 

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Now is the perfect time to catch this Thomas Vinterberg film in light of his recent Oscar nomination for Another Round. Liberal couple Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) and Anna (Trine Dyrholm) are academics who decide to turn Erik's inheritance, an expansive home in Copenhagen, into a commune. They begin welcoming additional residents and hold house meetings, dinners and parties. Everything seems to be going well until Anna's open-mindedness is put to the test when Erik introduces his mistress Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann) to the cooperative. 

Land Of Mine 

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After Germany's surrender in May 1945 signals the end of World War II, a group of young German prisoners are handed over to Danish sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Moller) to clear the Danish coastline of thousands of live landmines. Promising them that they will be free to return home once the job is done, Rasmussen quickly sends the boys out onto the beaches to begin their dangerous assignment. However, as the group's inexperience starts to show, Carl soon finds himself forming a strong bond with his young charges as they attempt to carry on with their daunting task. 

Morvern Callar 

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Lynne Ramsay directs this adaptation of Alan Warner's novel set in a small Scottish town, with Samantha Morton in the title role. When Morvern comes home from her job at the supermarket one night to find her boyfriend dead in a pool of blood in their flat having committed suicide, she finds his finished novel on his computer and decides to pass it off as her own. Using the money he left behind, she takes her best friend, Lana (Kathleen McDermott) on holiday to Ibiza - the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery for the detached, enigmatic Morvern. 

Day Two – ALL4 

And When Did You Last See Your Father? 

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A film based on Blake Morrison's candid memoir of his father in the weeks leading up to his death. Arthur Morrison (Jim Broadbent) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and told he only has a few weeks left to live. His son Blake (Colin Firth) is visiting his mother (Juliet Stevenson) in Yorkshire in the village where he grew up. Blake visits his father in the hospital and begins to contemplate the intimacies and irritations of the relationship they have had over the years. His father has been a raffish, insensitive but loving man resented by his son, especially during the son's teenage years (the teenage Blake is portrayed by Matthew Beard). Blake wants to make peace with his father who has never realised how his behaviour gave rise to those resentments. After his father's death, Blake questions the nature of the bond between them, articulately expressing the contradictions, frustrations, love and loss bound into the complicated relationships which most of us have with our parents as we grow up. Look out for Derbyshire’s favourite bookshop Scarthin Books! 

Dance With A Stranger 

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Mike Newell directs this drama based on the true story of Ruth Ellis (Miranda Richardson), the ex-prostitute and mother of two who became the last person to be hanged for murder in England. Working as a hostess in a Soho nightclub, Ellis finds herself becoming increasingly obsessed with her upper-class lover David Blakeley (Rupert Everett). But her obsession is greeted only by his carelessness and immaturity, and it is this mismatched relationship which eventually leads to one of the most famous crimes of the 20th century. 

Wild Tales 

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Academy Award-nominated Argentinian drama consisting of six separate stories written and directed by Damian Szifron. The tales, united by revenge, violence and dark humour, include a waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) serving the loan shark (Cesar Bordon) who drove her father to suicide, an altercation between two frustrated motorists (Leonardo Sbaraglia and Walter Donado), an ill-fated festive wedding reception and a wealthy businessman (Oscar Martinez) who tries to buy his family a way out of trouble. The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language. 

Blade Of The Immortal 

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Takashi Miike directs this adaptation of the manga. The film follows Manji (Kimura), a legendary samurai warrior who is cursed with immortality following a famous battle. Plagued by memories of his sister's murder, Manji vows to fight the forces of evil in a bid to lift the curse and regain his soul. After coming across Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki), a young girl whose parents were brutally murdered by a gang of master swordsmen, Manji vows to hunt down those responsible and help Rin get her revenge. The cast also includes Sota Fukushi, Hayato Ichihara and Erika Toda. 

Day Three – ALL4 

For Sama 

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British documentary co-directed by Edward Watts and Waad Al-Khateab. Beginning in 2012, the film follows student turned-film-maker Al-Khateab over the course of five years as she documents the everyday atrocities of the Syrian Civil War. Initially chronicling the conflict as an activist, Al-Khateab falls in love with Hamza, a medical student, and begins volunteering in a hospital while those around her flee the war zone. After she gives birth to her first child, Sama, Waad faces the agonising decision of whether to flee her war-torn home and live in exile or stay and aid the fight. 

Random 

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Debbie Tucker Green's BAFTA-winning film based on her play. An ordinary family's routine is shattered by a random act. With Nadine Marshall, Daniel Kaluuya, Jay Bird and Louis Mahoney. 

Three Identical Strangers 

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Documentary exploring the journey of triplet brothers who discover each other's existence after being separated at birth. After being handed over to an adoption agency, each brother was separated and placed in a respectively different household to the others and went on to lead their own lives. When a chance encounter led two of the brothers to meet at college and get their story published in national media outlets, their third brother came forward in the belief that he may also be related to the twins after realising his uncanny resemblance to them. As the triplets enjoy getting to know each other as complete strangers, they soon uncover a dark truth about their adoptions, leading two of the surviving brothers to continue to ask questions even today. 

The Love Witch 

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Anna Biller directs this comedy horror starring Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise and Laura Waddell which pays homage to the Technicolor thrillers of the 1960s and 70s. A young and beautiful witch named Elaine (Robinson) uses her magic to devise spells and craft concoctions which will grant her what she desires: a man who loves her. Inconveniently however, her creations work too well and every man she seduces ends up dead. She finally finds the perfect man for her, but her wilful desire to feel loved may send her over the edge and into a heady brew of passion, madness and death. 

Day Four – BBC iPlayer 

Meet Me In St Louis 

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Judy Garland stars in Vincente Minnelli's classic musical following the middle-class Smith family in the lead up to the 1904 World's Fair hosted in St Louis. Esther (Garland), the second eldest daughter of Alonzo (Leon Ames) and Anna Smith (Mary Astor), falls for her new next door neighbour, John Truitt (Tom Drake), and initially has difficulty winning his affections. When their romance begins to blossom, however, Esther learns that Alonzo's employer is transferring him to New York where he plans to move the family. It soon becomes clear how much the move will affect his four daughters and son, Lon Jr. (Hank Daniels), and, what's more, it means they will miss the World's Fair. The film includes the songs 'Meet Me in St. Louis', 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' and 'The Trolley Song'. 

Up Periscope 

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Adventure set in World War II. A US Navy lieutenant (James Garner) aboard a submarine is assigned the dangerous task of retrieving a top-secret code book from the Japanese. 

The Hijacker Who Vanished: The Mystery Of DB Cooper 

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A mysterious fugitive, a hijacked airplane and a daring mid-air escape. This is the extraordinary, real-life tale of one of the greatest unsolved heists in American history and a case that has taunted the FBI for decades. This documentary brings the stories of the four possible suspects to life through candid testimony, archive footage and stylised drama. Each account is gripping and highly plausible. But who is telling the truth, who is lying and, ultimately, who is DB Cooper? 

Maps To The Stars 

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Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) is a mature actress struggling for work that her agent Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) can't provide. While Stafford's wife Christina (Olivia Williams) is occupied with managing the life and schedule of their child star son Benjie (Evan Bird), who has just been released from rehab at the age of 13, their shunned daughter Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) returns from a private sanatorium where she was being treated for criminal pyromania. As more details emerge about the reasons for Agatha's incarceration, Havana delves deeper into her own problems as she tries to confront the abuse she experienced as a child. 

Day Five – Rakuten TV 

The Man Who Knew Too Little

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Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray), an American vacationer in London, doesn't know that the bullets are real and the truth serum true. He thinks the intrigue erupting around him is part of an audience-participation theatre event. Yet the world's fate depends on this gullible goofus who can't even spell CIA. But as Ritchie's funny experiences with a femme fatale (Joanne Whalley), a corpse, highway pursuits (lesson #1: drive on the left), assassins and a bomb prove, variety isn't just the spice of life. It's the life of spies.  

Brazil 

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Acclaimed story of an unambitious civil servant who escapes the harsh realities of a totalitarian future with frequent daydreams. Jonathan Pryce and Robert De Niro star with Michael Palin and Bob Hoskins in this chilling black comedy directed by former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam. 

Louder Than Bombs 

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An exhibition to celebrate and commemorate photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) three years after her death brings the estranged men in her life together. Son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) returns to the family home occupied by father Gene (Gabriel Byrne) and younger brother Conrad (Devin Druid). With the three of them together again Gene makes efforts to reconnect with his sons, but they struggle to forge a new relationship in the absence of the woman they remember so differently. 

L.A. Confidential 

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In 1950s Los Angeles, Ed Exley (Pearce), Bud White (Crowe) and Jack Vincennes (Spacey) are three very different cops: Ed is ambitious and incorruptible, Bud takes pleasure in beating up wrong-doers, and Jack works as technical advisor to the television show 'Badge of Honour'. Ed earns the enmity of Bud and Jack when he testifies that they were involved in the beating of a group of Mexicans in police custody, but all three men become involved after a mass-murder takes place at the Nite Owl cafe. Initially, it seems that a group of drug addicts are responsible, but further investigation leads to evidence of blackmail, prostitution and a police cover-up. Kim Basinger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. 

Day Six – Rakuten TV 

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

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Michael Hoffman directs an all-star cast in this version of one of Shakespeare's most popular works, set in Italy in the 1890's. Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) is unhappy because his daughter Helena (Calista Flockhart), passionately in love with Lysander (Dominic West), refuses to marry her suitor Demetrius (Christian Bale). Helena's friend Hermia (Anna Friel) does love Demetrius, but her affection is unrequited. The quartet escape into the woods, with Helena and Lysander determined to elope. Meanwhile, the fairy king and queen Oberon (Rupert Everett) and Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer) are quarrelling, and their dispute entangles a group of amateur actors rehearsing their play. 

The King Of Comedy 

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Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis star in this comedy drama directed by Martin Scorsese. The film follows Rupert Pupkin (De Niro), a man obsessed with becoming a famous comedian by performing his stand-up routine on the talk show of his idol Jerry Langford (Lewis). After having his requests to perform on the show dismissed by Jerry, Rupert becomes even more determined to get his big break. With his behaviour becoming increasingly erratic, Rupert enlists the help of his deranged friend Masha (Sandra Bernhard) and comes up with a plan to kidnap Jerry in order to get what he wants. 

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest 

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Michael Rapaport directs this behind-the-scenes documentary profile of the seminal New York hip hop group, that includes live performances, historical footage, and interviews with band members Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. 

The Borderlands 

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Elliot Goldner directs this British horror following a team of specialists from the Vatican who are drawn to a remote West Country church by reports of mysterious occurrences in the area. Though Father Crellick (Luke Neal) has video footage of items apparently being moved around inside the church by supernatural forces, Deacon (Gordon Kennedy) and Father Mark Amidon (Aidan McArdle) are sceptics by nature and want more conclusive evidence. They duly set up more cameras inside the ancient building, but are the scratching noises coming from inside the walls a source of greater concern?  

Day Seven – BBC iPlayer 

My Feral Heart 

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The film follows Luke (Steven Brandon), a young man with Down's syndrome who is forced to move to a residential care home following the death of his elderly mother. Despite initially finding it hard to adapt to his new surroundings, Luke soon settles in and begins to form friendships with care worker Eve (Shana Swash) and groundsman Pete (Will Rastall). 

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer 

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Sundance award-winning documentary which tells the compelling story of how a group of young, feminist punk rockers known as Pussy Riot captured the world's attention by protesting against Putin's Russia. Through first-hand interviews with band members, their families and the defence team, and exclusive footage of their trial, it highlights the forces that transformed these women from playful political activists to modern-day icons. In early 2012, members of the collective donned their colourful trademark balaclavas and participated in a 40-second 'punk prayer protest' on the altar of Moscow's cathedral. Once arrested, Nadia, Masha and Katia were accused of religious hatred in a trial that triggered protests and arrests in Russia and caused uproar around the world. The film reveals the personal motives and courage of the women behind the balaclavas and exposes the state of Russian justice through the court's final verdict. 

Love & Mercy 

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In the 1960s, emerging talent Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) struggles to comprehend the sudden fame that his hit records have brought him and his band, and, after a panic attack, he turns away from touring and sets his mind to focus on creating the greatest album ever made. Later on in his life, Wilson (John Cusack)'s struggles turn to ones of health and sanity as his therapist Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti) sees it necessary to have his patient permanently medicated. When Wilson, a shadow of his former self, meets car saleswoman Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) she finds herself determined to rid the innocent man of his brainwashing doctor and recapture the talent that he once possessed. 

Whiplash 

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With a promising career as a drummer ahead of him, Andrew (Miles Teller) enrols at one of the most prestigious music conservatories in America to try to hone in his skills and perfect his ability. When he meets Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the notoriously harsh band leader at the school, he begins to doubt his talent as Fletcher takes every opportunity to belittle and humiliate his newest pupil. The cast also includes Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist and Austin Stowell. Simmons won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Academy Award for his performance. The film was also nominated for a further four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.