Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.
This week’s New to Streaming column is sponsored by Alex Pritz’s The Territory, now streaming on Disney+, courtesy of National Geographic Documentary Films.
The Territory (Alex Pritz)
There are about 180 Uru-eu-wau-wau people left in the Brazilian Amazon. This community lives off the land, protecting the Amazon from deforestation, constant threats of violence, and an expanding base of anti-Indigenous sentiment, streaming from the far-right emboldened by President Jair Bolsonaro. Over three years, filmmaker Alex Pritz spent time with these native Brazilians for The Territory, a collaborative, vérité documentary that’s both engaging and terrifying. Pritz even hands over the camera to the Uru-eu-wau-wau at one point, as the group closes their borders and prepares for an ongoing fight to preserve their land. – Michael F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Disney+
The Balcony Movie (Pawel Lozinski)
Taking a sight familiar to most during the pandemic––the view outside your window––and making it even more narrow, The Balcony Movie explores a universe of thoughts and emotions from passersby below. With this strict formal conceit, Pawel Lozinski’s documentary proves both delightful and existential as we hear from his Warsaw neighbors about work, love, loss, the meaning of life, and everything in-between. Its simplicity is a virtue, demonstrating all we need for a little more human connection is the willingness to listen. – Jordan R.
The Bridegroom, the Actress, and the Pimp (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
With the recent passing of Jean-Marie Straub, Le Cinéma Club have programmed an excellent entry into his collaborations with Danièle Huillet: The Bridegroom, the Actress, and the Pimp, a playful, gorgeous meditation on relationships and violence starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his actors company. This restored edition is preceded by an introductory text from Managing Editor Nick Newman.
Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club
Filmatique’s new series “Episodic Cinema” collects some of the best longform cinema available—from favorites Out 1 and Arabian Nights to Bruno Dumont’s Quinquin duology, with pitstops at Italian crime sagas and lesser-seen epics.
Where to Stream: Filmatique
The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg)
In the tradition of Okja and Hail, Caesar!,writer-producer-director Joanna Hogg has gifted the world with two Tildas (Swinton, that is) in one film. Just shy of Suspiria and Teknolust’s respective triple- and quadruple-Tilda count, The Eternal Daughter uses this device differently than others. Where Bong Joon-ho and the Coens employed such technique for twins and Guadagnino and Hershman-Leeson used it for science fiction and horror, Hogg plays it more subtly: mother and daughter. Or, to boil them into one, an eternal daughter. – Luke H. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
Four Samosas (Ravi Kapoor)
See an exclusive clip above.
A quarter-century later and Bottle Rocket is still a fount of influence for many a filmmaker. The latest is actor-turned-director Ravi Kapoor, whose second feature Four Samosas, vibrantly shot in 4:3 and complete with no shortage of eye-popping yellow title cards throughout, follows a ragtag group as they attempt to pull off a wedding diamond heist from one of the member’s soon-to-be-married ex-girlfriends. Conveyed with a strong personality, relentless energy, and a generally go-for-broke attitude, these qualities help mask the bare-bones production and amateur touches. While the narrative gets fairly unfocused in the last half, Kapoor’s comedic insights into assimilation and cultural identity are told with such a loving, knowing eye that it’s hard not to be mostly won over. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: VOD
In Front of Your Face (Hong Sangsoo)
By evidence, Hong Sangsoo may never make an Oki’s Movie or Hill of Freedom-type work again; our maestro is shooting for bigger emotional game. It’s fascinating to observe how idiosyncratic directors make their way towards the arthouse mainstream. With Hong, arguably, it’s come from two sources: less of a rigid fixation on male vanity, neurosis, and inebriation, coupled with plot summaries you could describe in a brief, eloquent sentence. Oki’s Movie, for instance, approaches a Faulkner-esque writer with its digressive intricacy; The Day He Arrives is like a fractal Groundhog Day. This is well-rehearsed, but there’s something to be said for emotional transparency and an examination of things “as they are,” to paraphrase dialogue from In Front of Your Face’s lead character. Another well-rehearsed question: are we yet again in self-portraiture mode, for someone with a Dorian Gray-like attic full of them? – David K. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
The Harbinger (Andy Mitton)
As we cross three full years of the pandemic, more and more filmmakers are providing their own spin on our collective experience––and, for directors with an interest in horror, there’s more than enough material to express the fear and isolation we’ve all been through. In his latest feature, Andy Mitton imagines a scenario in which nightmares have a viral hook and one must confront their anxieties head-on. With effectively haunting imagery making up for a somewhat familiar narrative, The Harbinger will get under your skin.
Where to Stream: VOD
Hunt (Lee Jung-jae)
Lee Jung-jae’s writing, directing, and producing debut Hunt is a tricky film, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At its heart this is a 50-50 blend of The Raid and JFK, but camouflaged in espionage procedure. It’s 1983, South Korea. The 1979 assassination of the president / coup by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA, since renamed the NIS––National Intelligence Service) has left a wake of political chaos and widespread distrust across and within every government agency, the kind that forms a melodramatic web of tension so knotted it would take 25 pages to unpack in narrative detail. Moreover, North Korean attacks are an ever-present threat, and intelligence is leaking from South Korean agencies like oil from a BP oil rig, assuring the presence of a mole: Donglim. – Luke H. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
The Kingdom Exodus (Lars von Trier)
Lars von Trier is back, and he’s returning to his past for his latest project. The Kingdom Exodus, which marks the final installment of The Kingdom, has now started to roll out on MUBI on a weekly basis following newly restored, never-before-seen director’s cuts of the original two seasons. While we’re still catching up with those 1990s series, we look forward to catching up with what may be the director’s opus.
Last Flight Home (Ondi Timoner)
In her most personal and intimate film, master documentarian Ondi Timoner (We Live in Public, Cool It, Dig) turns an intended family tribute for a virtual memorial into a moving, bittersweet feature. In Last Flight Home, the Timoner family and immediate friends gather in Los Angeles to send off their father Eli Timoner. Only partially a biographical sketch, the bulk of the film is centered around the process of the send off. California’s End of Life Option Act offers terminally ill patients that are of sound mind the option to end their lives following a series of evaluations that occur during a 15-day period. The process requires at least two doctors agreeing with the assessment. – John F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Paramount+
Missing (Shinzô Katayama)
Santoshi Harada (Jirô Satô) has a plan. It concerns a three-million-yen reward for helping capture the infamous serial killer known as “No-Name” (Hiroya Shimizu). Santoshi says he saw him on the train to work. The man who’s been all over the news is inexplicably here in town, right now, and he’s pretty sure he knows where he can find him. Except, of course, that Santoshi is in no shape to “find” anyone. He’s been clinically depressed and unable to hold a full-time job since his wife’s (Tôko Narushima’s Kimiko) suicide. He can barely keep food in the fridge for his middle school-aged daughter Kaede (Aoi Itô) to cook. We literally meet her full-speed sprinting to scoop him up from the corner store after he was caught shoplifting. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
With the days getting shorter and the winter weather settling in, there’s no better time to cozy up with a new series on snow westerns from The Criterion Channel. Selections include The Secret of Convict Lake (1951), The Wild North (1952), The Far Country (1954), Track of the Cat (1954), Day of the Outlaw (1959), Ride the High Country (1962), The Great Silence (1968), Little Big Man (1970), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Dead Man (1995), and Ravenous (1999).
Where to Stream: The Criterion Channel
“Sr.” (Chris Smith)
Robert Downey Sr.’s accolades and popularity pale in comparison to his son. While Downey Sr. focused on writing and directing underground cinema in the 1960s and 1970s, his son became one of Hollywood’s leading men, wrapped up in major franchises, auteur directors, and Academy contenders. “Sr.” focuses on the life and career of the former, who struggled with Parkinson’s in his early 80s before passing away last summer. – Michael F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Till (Chinonye Chukwu)
Chinonye Chukwu’s Till finds the Clemency writer-director facing the story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy lynched in 1955. More specifically the story of Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till, who became an ardent activist in the decades following her son’s murder. The film comes less than a year after the implementation of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, a piece of legislation nearly 70 years in the making, and the first federal anti-lynching bill. – Michael F. (full review)
Where to Stream: VOD
That Kind of Summer (Denis Côté)
A pleasingly old-fashioned belief in therapeutic methods––what you could describe, in a streamlined way, as “the talking cure”––is what drives That Kind of Summer. The idea, sometimes mocked, of sex addiction has been refined here as “hypersexuality,” referring to unrestrained sexual behaviors as well as invasive thoughts of that nature. We are at a therapeutic retreat in the Quebec countryside, attended by three women—Léonie (Larissa Corriveau), Eugénie (Laure Giappiconi) and Geisha (Aude Mathieu)—accompanied by three mediators: Octavia (Anne Ratte-Polle), Samir (Samir Guesmi, late of a few Desplechin films) and Mathilde (Marie-Claude Guérin). The opening remarks from Mathilde, revealed to be pregnant in a deadpan-comic insert shot, are intended to be sincere and reassuring, her language redeemed from the therapy-speak bromides which often spark eye-rolling: “This is not a cure. You are not sick. This is a journey, not a treatment.” – David K. (full review)
A Wounded Fawn (Travis Stevens)
This weekend is supposed to be a rebirth for Meredith (Sarah Lind). After battling the demons of an abusive relationship, she’s accepted an invitation of romantic seclusion from a man (Josh Ruben’s Bruce) she’s just met. Her friends demand to know all the details, but she’s not quite ready to share them. This might just be an isolated yet necessary sexual encounter that ends upon her return to the city. No reason to let him move into her head psychologically or her inner circle prematurely if she’ll just be forgetting about him in short order. That Meredith is willingly allowing this stranger to take her to his cabin in the woods carries more danger in and of itself anyway—a premise screaming monstrous home invasion. Travis Stevens complies. – Jared M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Shudder
Also New to Streaming
The Criterion Channel
The Beautiful Game: International Football Films
Screwball Comedy Classics
Three by Jafar Panahi
Burn After Reading
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
MUBI (free for 30 days)
The Girl Without Hands
The Cat’s Meow
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
The Quick and the Dead
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
Kingdom of Heaven – Director’s Cut