Cinematheque . Virtual Cinema
Though our theatrical screenings are suspended indefinitely, these films can be viewed online now. Watching them through the links below supports the Cinematheque! New titles will be added every week.
UK/Australia/France | 2019 | Josephine Mackerras
When her husband abandons her and absconds with their savings, a desperate young woman turns to high-class prostitution to save her home and support her young son. The first feature written and directed by Josephine Mackerras won the Grand Jury prize at last year’s SXSW film festival. “Has much going for it…[This] complicated moral tale has strong art house potential.” –Hollywood Reporter. Cleveland premiere. Subtitles. 103 min.
Alice, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/15 thru 6/4 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Germany/Sweden/Switzerland/UK | 2019 | Halinda Dyrschka
Subject of a recent blockbuster exhibition at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum, Swedish mystic and painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was an abstract artist before the term had been coined. She was a trailblazing visionary inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the natural world, and in 1906, began to produce a series of huge, colorful, strange, and sensual works without precedent in painting. Long excluded from art histories, Hilma af Klint is now being rediscovered around the world, and this new documentary should help secure her legacy. “Critic’s pick...Beyond the Visible bristles with the excitement of discovery and also with the impatience that recognition has taken so long. It refreshes the eyes and the mind.” –NY Times. Cleveland premiere. Subtitles. 93 min.
Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 4/24 thru 5/28 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
USA | 2019 | D.W. Young
Susan Orlean, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese, and Parker Posey appear in this acclaimed new documentary that takes a fascinating look at New York’s rarefied rare book world—its quaint shops and colorful dealers—while also evincing a general love of book stores and the printed page. “A documentary for people who treasure the sheer look and feel of books.” –Christian Science Monitor. Cleveland premiere. 99 min.
The Booksellers, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 4/17 thru 5/31 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
USA | 1982/2020 | Horace B. Jenkins
Newly rediscovered and fully restored, this nearly lost African American indie drama (made between Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep and Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It) was the only fictional feature written and directed by an Emmy-winning, black documentary filmmaker who died (at age 42) shortly after finishing it. A regional production set and shot in Louisiana (and fully financed by wealthy black businessmen in that state) but never theatrically released until this year, this laid-back, lyrical film focuses on the love affair between a Creole man and a black woman. Though both of them hail from the same rural LA parish where the film takes place, and both are descendants of slaves, the two lovers remain star-crossed by historical disparities of wealth, caste, religion, and skin color. (It’s one of the rare movies to tackle the topic of colorism, or intraracial prejudice). Has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Cleveland revival premiere. 90 min.
Cane River, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/22 thru 6/11 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
United States | 2019 | Louie Schwartzberg
One of the most unexpected art house hits of 2019—and our most popular movie of all time—is a mind-blowing, beautifully photographed look at the world of mushrooms and how they can help save the planet. With Paul Stamets, Michael Pollan, and Andrew Weil; narrated by Brie Larson. 81 min.
Fantastic Fungi, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online thru 5/31 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Various countries | 2017–19 | Various directors
Grab some popcorn and get ready for a fun, artful film experience for kids and adults alike! These two programs of acclaimed short films from last year’s NYICFF bring some inspired storytelling and hilarity to your home screen.
Kid Flicks One (56 min.), recommended for ages 3 & up, consists of 12 films (both animation and live action, all in English or without dialogue) from nine countries. Highlights include Belly Flop, Slurp, Preschool Poets: Poem about All Different Things (co-directed by Columbus’ Nancy Kangas), and KUAP, about a little tadpole who always falls a tad behind. The complete program can be found at nyicff.org. Cleveland premiere.
Kid Flicks Two (72 min.), recommended for ages 8 & up, consists of eight films (animation, live action, and documentary, all in English or without dialogue) representing 10 countries. Highlights include the hilarious, Oscar short-listed French slapstick cartoon Hors Piste and Australia’s delightful A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl. Visit nyicff.org for the complete lineup.
Kid Flicks from the 2019 NYICFF, Cinematheque streaming exclusives, can be watched online from 5/8 thru 5/24 via the links below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Program 1: ages 3+
Program 2: ages 8+
France/Portugal/Spain/Germany | 2019 | Albert Serra
With its abundant nudity and outré sex, this is not your grandparents’ watch-at-home movie; viewer discretion is strongly advised! Catalan iconoclast Albert Serra follows his masterful The Death of Louis XIV (2016) with this austerely opulent tale of an aristocratic band of 18th-century French libertines, expelled from the court of Louis XVI for their debauched behavior, who seek refuge with a sympathetic German Duke (Helmut Berger), a seducer and freethinker out of place in his own puritanical, hypocritical country. In a forest outside Berlin one evening, these bewigged nobles strategize about how to spread their anti-authoritarian and morally transgressive doctrine. But their sylvan confab soon devolves into a perverse, pansexual, Sadean orgy. Shown at the 2019 Cannes and New York Film Festivals. “One of the most radical films to play in the Official Selection of Cannes ever.” –CinemaScope. No one under 18! Cleveland premiere. Subtitles. 132 min.
Liberté, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/8 thru 5/28 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Poland/UK/Ukraine | 2019 | Agnieszka Holland
The latest film by the master Polish director of Europa Europa, The Secret Garden, and In Darkness is an epic historical thriller set in pre-WWII USSR. The movie follows a Welsh journalist as he uncovers a man-made famine that’s starving millions in Ukraine. (Stalin’s cover-up of this human catastrophe inspired George Orwell's Animal Farm.) With James Norton (Little Women), Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), and Peter Sarsgaard. "A bold and heartfelt movie with a real Lean-ian sweep." –The Guardian (UK). Cleveland premiere. 119 min.
Mr. Jones, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/22 thru 6/11 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Norway | 2020 | Benjamin Ree
Acclaimed at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, this stranger-than-fiction documentary marvel chronicles the unlikely relationship that develops between a young Czech artist living in Oslo and the Norwegian career criminal who inexplicably steals two of the large canvases from her first solo gallery show. “Incredible.” –Variety. Cleveland premiere. In English and Norwegian with subtitles. 102 min.
The Painter and the Thief, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/22 thru 6/11 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
UK, France, Belguim | 2019 | Ken Loach
Master British filmmaker Ken Loach, two-time winner of the top prize at Cannes, is the cinema’s most ardent advocate for ordinary workers. (Film Comment hails him as “the Bernie Sanders of filmmakers.”) Loach’s highly acclaimed new film (88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes) explores the gig economy through a riveting account of a desperate British family man who risks everything to become an independent contractor for a package delivery company. But “being your own boss’ is not everything it’s cracked up to be. Penned by Loach’s longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty, this English-language film will be shown with much-needed subtitles (which were missing during its recent run as part of CIFF44 Streams). “A drama of such searing human empathy and quotidian heartbreak that its powerful climactic scenes actually impede your breathing.” –Hollywood Reporter. 101 min.
Sorry We Missed You, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/15 thru 5/28 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
USA | 2019 | James Sweeney
One of the most popular films at this year’s Cleveland Int’l Film Festival, Straight Up is perhaps the wittiest and most touching all-talk-and-no-sex romantic comedy since My Night at Maud’s. The film delineates the relationship between a highly articulate, neurotic, OCD gay man and a fast-talking, insecure, straight young actress. But can the sparks of nonstop banter ignite fireworks in the bedroom? “A playful examination of sexual fluidity, but underneath the gags, it’s really a universal, sweet movie about the modern complexities of finding a soulmate.” –San Francisco Chronicle. 95 min.
Straight Up, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/8 thru 5/28 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
USA | 2019 | Alana DeJoseph
Annette Bening narrates this history of the U.S. government agency, begun by President Kennedy in 1961, that has sent 200,000 Americans to 60+ countries around the world to promote international cooperation. But can a 59-year-old, globalist organization survive this era of budget cuts, rising nationalism, and COVID? “Enlightening and uplifting...Puts a human face on the Peace Corps—and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation, politics, and at times, its failings.” –Paul Theroux. Cleveland premiere. 107 min.
A Towering Task, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/22 thru 6/11 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
USA | 2020 | Michael Murphy
In this new jazz documentary, Grammy-winning musician, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard takes us on a guided tour of his home town and its rich musical tradition. The film features personal reflections from such New Orleans greats as Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Mannie Fresh, and Dr. Michael White, and includes new and archival filmed performances by Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, and The Neville Brothers. There will be a special live Q&A via Zoom with Terence Blanchard and director Michael Murphy at 7:00 pm EDT on Sat., May 16. For every ticket sold, $2 will be donated to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation COVID-19 relief fund. Cleveland premiere. 104 min.
Up from the Streets: New Orleans, City of Music, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/15 thru 6/4 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
Chile, Germany | 2018 | Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León
This award-winning, nightmarish stop-motion animation was inspired by Chile’s horrific “Dignity Colony,” a barbed-wire-enclosed agricultural commune founded in 1961 by a German ex-Nazi. It became notorious for rampant human rights abuses—even before it began colluding with the brutal Pinochet regime. In the movie, a young woman escapes such a compound, outrunning a wolf to take refuge in a small cottage in the woods. There she lives with two pigs who turn into children. Meanwhile, her troubled psyche constantly manifests itself in the house’s endlessly morphing interior. “[Fuses] Grimm, the early shorts of David Lynch and the stop-motion work of Jan Svankmajer into a visually engrossing, reference-rich and disturbing tale about the mental delirium of a young girl…A creative tour de force.” –Hollywood Reporter. Adults only. Cleveland premiere. Subtitles. 73 min.
The Wolf House, a Cinematheque streaming exclusive, can be watched online from 5/15 thru 6/4 via the link below. Doing so supports the Cinematheque.
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Yes, we’ve relaxed our stringent presentation standards during our current coronavirus quarantine and closure. Though we still believe that movies are properly seen only in theaters (especially true in the case of the great, unusual, and special ones that the Cinematheque shows), we also believe that moviegoers should not have to jeopardize their health to view them that way.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with a number of our longtime film suppliers to allow temporary streaming of their movies on a unique revenue-sharing basis. When you rent one of the films listed on this page (accessing it through the Cleveland Cinematheque link), the fee you pay will be split between us and the film company. (The money is much needed on both ends). This arrangement allows distributors to keep releasing new films and restored classics to art houses like the Cinematheque while the nation’s theatrical exhibition network is offline.
We know that watching films at home is not the same as watching them on the big screen, with big sound, in our Peter B. Lewis Theater. But don’t feel guilty about compromising your own standards. You’re supporting us by streaming these movies, so we forgive you for aligning yourself right now with “the competition,” at-home viewing. (To be honest, we’re paying to watch these same films—and dealing with the same intermittent technical issues—from our own homes during this time.) We can all resume being cinema purists when this crisis is over.
Just don’t become too enamored of watching art films from your couch. We want you to return to the Cinematheque after the COVID-19 cloud passes. So go ahead and frequent our online multiplex and enjoy “virtual cinema” as often as you can. But always remember that “virtual” is the operative word. With your help, we will resume showing real movies in a real theater (where they will look, sound, and play the way they should) when this crisis subsides.
—John Ewing, Cinematheque Director