With thirty-one new films on Fandor this week, including incredible offerings from mavericks Guy Maddin and Mark Rappaport, it’s easy for some of our incredible recent titles to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why once a week, we take a moment to shine a light on a few films that caught our eye. Let them transport you:
Alumbrones joins a growing collection of Fandor documentaries concerned with the creative culture of Cuba (already streaming: Unfinished Spaces, about the rocky trajectory of Cuba’s National Art Schools and Yank Tanks, which highlights the incredible hot rod culture and DIY “MacGyver” ingenuity of their owners). Here, the contemporary artists of Havana relate, in their own words, their practice and their daily lives and how they intersect. Enter these homes and studios, and you will gain a greater insight into the art world that exists alongside of ones more familiar. Alumbrones is also a great complement to the new Fandor docs on American photographers Gregory Crewdson, Sally Mann and Tierney Gearon.
Although it’s not a documentary, Leila takes us inside a likewise parallel society through its depiction of life in Iran at the turn of the Millennium. A lot has happened since 1999 (understatement of the week right there) when it topped many lists for best of the year, but this story of a young couple trying to navigate newly wedded bliss as a stunning discovery and a mother-in-law’s tireless and intrusive interventions shake it to its foundation stands the test of time due to its exquisite performances and compelling developed nuances. Leila joins other Fandor films like Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten and Manijeh Hekmat’s Women’s Prison in teasing out the female experience in an Islamic republic — for more on recent developments in this eternally relevant cinematic microclimate, look no further than this article on Keyframe.
Want another dimension rather than a different place and time? Alice Underground can take you there. Go down the rabbit hole (in sumptuous 16mm, at that) with an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic that is as delightful and demented — in its own way — as Jan Svankmajer’s Alice. And in this version, Tweedledee and Tweedledum get a major upgrade.
A documentary filmmaker is at the center of The Midnight Swim, which is likewise a portal into an alternate dimension. Instead of through the looking glass, though, it’s to the astral plane: This complex contemporary ghost story takes place around a mysteriously deep lake and surrounds a mysterious disappearance. Don’t miss this quiet gem starring indie up-and-comer Lindsay Burdge, who’s in current featured FIXer Nathan Silver‘s latest feature, as well.
For other ideas on what to watch tonight (and beyond), our New Releases page and Criterion Picks collections are always a great resource. This week, we’re also in the Park City state of mind and releasing a handful of excellent offerings from the Sundance Institute. We’ll be back next week and next month with more titles and news to share. Until then, happy watching!