10 of My Favourite Movies You Can Stream with Your Library Card

April 15, 2020 | Bill V.

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Since library branches are closed, and we're all staying home as much as we can, we want to make sure that you're stocked up with a wide variety of things to read and watch. My colleague Wendy has already written a great blog 38 Ways to Use the Library from Home. As a riff on her excellent work,  I later wrote 46 eBooks For Keeping Busy at Home: Cooking, Self Care, Crafting and More. 

But we don't thrive only on reading, so I thought I would add to the mix with this personal (even quirky!) list of some of my favorite films that are available from the Library's streaming services with your library card: Kanopy, Hoopla and Overdrive video.

 

During university my close friend Yuko and I used to go to all kinds of Japanese films and that has stayed with me over the years, especially the films of Akira Kurosawa.

Tpl Rashōmon

Rashōmon (available through Overdrive)

"Set in the Middle Ages, the nature of truth and subjective reality are probed in a series of flashbacks from four viewpoints to present the case history of a man's murder and the rape of his wife by a bandit."  See also his movie Ikiru.

 

If you like French New Wave Cinema, and who doesn't, then you can do no better than François Truffaut. I stayed up very late watching this on TV a short while back and was left speechless at the ending.

Tpl Jules and Jim

Jules et Jim / Jules and Jim (vailable through Overdrive and Kanopy)

"Considered Truffaut's greatest film, this is a story of friendship between two artists and their mutual love for the same woman."

 

I watched the Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant last summer at the cottage and was blown away by how wonderful it was, so I wanted to include a movie by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Tpl Kamikaze '89

Kamikaze '89 (available through Kanopy)

"In his last film role, legendary director Rainer Werner Fassbinder plays Jansen, an expert cop living in a dystopic future where a mysterious organization known as the The Combine controls all media. After The Combine's headquarters receives several bomb threats, Jansen is tasked with infiltrating the nefarious conglomerate."

 

Staying with European cinema let's move to Italian Neorealism. Not for the faint of heart the post WW2 films of Italy, I watched Vittorio De Sica's film below after a hard day at work and ended weeping profusely, so be warned.  You may also be interested in Boccacio '70 and Fellini's 8 1/2.

Tpl Umberto D

Umberto D (available through Kanopy)

"This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy's postwar economic recovery."

 

Staying with postwar Italy, but in a completely different vein, I wanted to move to a light comedy with the delightful Audrey Hepburn, looking very gamin, and Gregory Peck,  looking very handsome and dreamy.

Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday (available through Kanopy)

"Audrey Hepburn's portrays of a modern-day princess, rebelling against royal obligations, exploring Rome on her own. She meets an American newspaperman (Gregory Peck) who, seeking an exclusive story, pretends ignorance of her true identity. But his plan falters as they fall in love."

 

Keeping with the humorous theme, the next movie really exemplifies the screwball comedy with fantastic banter and chemistry between two Hollywood stars, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and directed by the legendary Howard Hawks.

Tpl His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday (available through Overdrive, Kanopy and Hoopla)

"Hildy Johnson is a reporter who is matched in force only by her conniving-but-charismatic ex-editor and ex-husband, Walter Burns, who dangles the chance for her to scoop her fellow news writers with the story of an impending execution in order to keep her from hopping the train that's supposed to take her to Albany and a new life as a housewife."

 

Sticking with comedies I wanted to list Woody Allen's 1973 Science Fiction dystopian comedy Sleeper but we don't have it available digitally so instead I went to the following which I feel really reflects it's era but also has a lot of the qualities of his best films.

Tpl Annie Hall

Annie Hall (available through Hoopla)

"Woody Allen's semi-autobiographical portrait of his amorous, but ultimately mismatched, relationship with co-star Diane Keaton. Allen uses satire and comedy to portray this "nervous romance" for modern times."

 

It's no accident that I've put Woody Allen just before our next filmmaker. Allen has been very vocal about his admiration for Swede Ingmar Bergman. Allen's one-act play, "Death Knocks", is a farcical parody of Bergman's most famous film, "The Seventh Seal".

So, what would a list of films to watch be without a bit of art house auteur Swedish Ingmar Bergman?

Tpl Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries (available through Kanopy)

"Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg, masterfully played by veteran director Victor Sjöström, is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild strawberries dramatizes one man's remarkable voyage of self-discovery. This richly humane masterpiece, full of iconic imagery, is a treasure from the golden age of art-house cinema and one of the films that catapulted Ingmar Bergman to international acclaim."

"Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg, masterfully played by veteran director Victor Sjöström, is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild strawberries dramatizes one man's remarkable voyage of self-discovery. This richly humane masterpiece, full of iconic imagery, is a treasure from the golden age of art-house cinema and one of the films that catapulted Ingmar Bergman to international acclaim."

 

And what would be a great list of film be without some Luis Buñuel?

Tpl Viridiana

Viridiana (available through Kanopy)

"Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece. In it, novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Winner of the Palme d’or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, Viridiana is as audacious today as ever."

 

I end with something a bit more modern, Pedro Almodovar

TPL Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory (available through Hoopla)

"It tells of a series of reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director in his physical decline. Some of them in the flesh, others remembered: his childhood in the '60s, when he emigrated with his parents to a village in Valencia in search of prosperity, the first desire, his first adult love in the Madrid of the '80s, the pain of the breakup of that love while it was still alive and intense."

 

What movies are you streaming right now? Share your recommendations below.

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