Exceptional Films Are Streaming in May

May 9th, 2019

Evolution is inevitable across all forms of mediums — especially the way in which people consume content. While there are have been controversy, streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder, Mubi, etc. have created opportunities for filmmakers — past and present — to maximize the reach of their work to audiences around the world.

There are a lot of online spaces to watch tons of movies in 2019 (especially if you have your friend’s password), and sometimes it’s hard to find the film you’re looking. It’s a result of so many films/tv shows produced or acquired for the streaming platform’s library. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s great, but some gems may get lost.

There are so many outstanding films to watch online that I can talk about, such as: The Burial Of Kojo on Netflix, The Virgin Suicides on the Criterion Channel, and even Shoplifters, If Beale Street Could Talk, & The Sisters Brothers are all streaming on Hulu! All types of audiences will find something they will enjoy online, and I’m happy to guide you, if you’d like!

The Burial of Kojo
Written/Directed by Sam Blitz Bazawule

In addition to the aforementioned ones, there are unique and glorious films waiting to be streamed . Stories from the US to South Korea, there is vital cinema everywhere — not just in expensive movie theaters, if that’s not an option for you!

Burning | Netflix

Written and Directed by Chang-dong Lee, Burning is a socially direct and artful “cat-and-mouse” thriller that is as vital as any film playing in theaters or streaming right now.

Burning is an ambiguous piece of South Korean cinema, that also serves as a visceral and terrifying experience. From the opening minutes of the film, I was invested in the main character, Lee’s (Lee Jong-su) life. We’re thrown into this narrative like a fly on the wall, unaware of where we are and who we’re supposed to trust. There’s so much to unravel, with timely themes being subtly explored i.e. the class system for young Koreans, especially, is something to look deeper into after this film. This could almost be a horror film thanks to Steven Yeun’s revelatory turn as Ben, a strange new friend that joins the gang, and who “likes to play.” Yea, that was just the beginning of the creepiness. But don’t get me started with the stunning and engrossing imagery by cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hongis put this mystery into a dimension of horror that is universal. The beauty of the cinematography didn’t overwhelm the story but enhanced the substance. Burning is a perfect example of how to show and not tell. We don’t need to hear (or read subtitles) to understand human interactions, no matter how different our cultures may be. Chang-dong Lee has crafted one of the most singular and mysterious films I’ve seen in a while. I was transfixed by the mundane, day-to-day activities with each character, only to be left dazed and terrified in the film’s final moments.

Madeline’s Madeline | Amazon Prime Video

Actor Helena Howard as Madeline, marks feature-film debut
Madeline’s Madeline

This type of filmmaking is where my heart and mind thrive in! Madeline’s Madeline is an experimental phantasm of images and sound, in which Director (Josephine Decker) and star (Helena Howard, a revelation) use to assemble this particularly compelling narrative of a young woman’s coming-of-age. What makes Madeline’s Madeline entirely sublime, is the way in which Decker, Howard, and an incredibly gifted group of writers and performers use the art of cinema to tell this story. This film just set the bar for filmmaking in the 21st century. Yup, that’s right, Madeline’s Madeline is that good.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen | Netflix

The best documentary that I’ve seen thus far in 2019. Directed by Hepi Mita, Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen is a nostalgic and vivid portrait of pioneering filmmaker and mother Merata Mita, detailing how her filmmaking intersected with the lives of her children and indigenous filmmakers globally.

This doc is a searing piece of cinema verite filmmaking, and features rare archival footage dating back to 1977. In terms of what a documentary is supposed to do, Merata is a cinematic home run, and also a vital resource to educate people around the world about the similarly oppressive horrors we see in the US happening in countries like New Zealand. Sound and image can only go so far without a beating heart. An ARRAY release.

Thanks for reading, and watch some vital films!

—Eden Sapir

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