Streaming Suggestions is a month-by-month series of recommendations for film lovers and those interested in expanding their horizons.
While I assume most readers will have at least one of the popular streaming services, I understand that some don’t, so I have also included excellent free services such as Kanopy (UNSW) and SBS on Demand.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man - available as of 30 April 2020
The Japanese cyberpunk successor to David Lynch’s Eraserhead, Tetsuo is a cult film in the truest sense of the word. Uncompromising in its filmmaking and ideas, it is Shinya Tsukamoto’s masterpiece, and clocking in at under 70 minutes, it's a (relatively) easy watch. The film follows a businessman and his girlfriend who accidentally hit a metal fetishist with their car, and are subsumed into his nightmare of machinery. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but that’s ok, it doesn't need to. Tsukamoto’s sheer hard work and brilliance in the design and shooting of the film are enough to hold your interest for the length of the feature. Give this film a go. You’ve never seen anything like it.
“Together, we can turn this fucking world to rust!”
AI: Artificial Intelligence - available as of 30 April 2020
Steven Spielberg’s late masterpiece, AI is a really beautifully made film with a great emotional core. Originally a short story, ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’, the project was first developed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick found that it was more to Spielberg’s sensibilities, and so passed the project onto him, and it seems to have been the right call. The film at its very core is a cerebral retelling of Pinocchio, but now with a much more profound, metaphysical twist. Haley Joel Osment is great in his unblinking performance, and the supporting cast play a set of memorable characters that the protagonist meets along his journey. Brilliantly made, the film was released to a rather muted reception, but now is gaining a reputation as one of the great films of the 21st century. AI makes us ask questions about the very nature of our existences, with Osment’s character as a focal point of examination for the audience. Can something humans have programmed to display love, and act it out, ever really feel it? And perhaps a further, more pressing question; does it matter?
“Maybe - Maybe she will be special. Maybe she will stay.”
Parasite - available as of 30 April 2020
Bong Joon Ho proves himself as an especially strong filmmaker with Parasite, demonstrating a mastery in pacing and storytelling. Since the early 2000’s, Joon Ho has released a string of some of South Korea’s greatest contemporary films, with his magnum opus being Memories of Murder. Parasite, although not quite as emotionally resonant as Memories of Murder, is an example of great cinema that everyone can enjoy. The film follows a lower class family that slowly integrates itself into employment with a wealthy, upper class family. The script is incredibly strong, the first half of the film playing like a perfectly paced thriller, and when the 2nd act twist comes in, everything is thrown up into the air, nothing is predictable. The themes of the film however, are unoriginal and only ever superficially explored, and such ideas of class disparity have essentially been done to death since the very beginning of cinema (see: Metropolis, Bicycle Thieves and even Bong Joon Ho’s previous film, Snowpiercer). Despite this, the experience of watching this film is delightful, and it is doubtless one of the best movies from 2019.
“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned.”