Films to watch in quarantine

May 15, 2020

Collage created by Sadie Souter, with images from Pixabay

Shivam Chowdhary explores an interesting mix of titles and shares his thoughts on what to watch

I think we can all agree that these uncertain times are like no other; full of distress, tumult and worry for people all around the globe.

For me, lockdown in London is incredibly mentally taxing, with less of my usual ways for de-stressing available to me. It’s extremely important, right now, that we look after ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually.

So I’ve compiled a little list of films, which I’ve selected as they are striking, and relevant to these difficult times.

I hope they will keep you stimulated during quarantine; some are dark, some are emotional and some are upbeat.

SAFE

Safe is a 1995 psychological thriller directed by Todd Haynes, starring the fantastic Julianne Moore, a particularly pertinent film for today’s ill-stricken climate. The film follows Julianne as an upper-class housewife who develops a psychosomatic reaction to chemical exposure.

She soon finds herself wrapped up in a conspiratorial cult, worsening her already strained relationship with her husband. The superb and chilling direction from Todd Haynes is masterful, each shot oozing with tension as Julianne slowly falls down a rabbit hole into some very dark places.

The film is spooky, so beware, but if you’re looking to get freaked out this lockdown, this underrated film is the one for you.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Lost In Translation is an absolutely superb comedy-drama, written and directed by the maestro filmmaker herself, Sofia Coppola.

The film has an all-star cast, including Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannsson and Anna Faris. It is a darkly humorous meditation on loneliness, the meaning of life and solitude. It deals with some heavy themes, such as existentialism and ennui, but manages in part, thanks to Coppola’s masterful direction, to remain a sweet, grounded film.

Aesthetically, the film is gorgeous, with low-key lighting throughout, giving the film a very natural feel and thus making it hit close to home. You’re invested in the development of Bill Murray’s character, as he slowly detaches from reality and deals with what is, essentially, a mid-life crisis.

It is a comic and dramatic tour-de-force and I’d recommend any film fan to watch it ASAP. My only problem with the film was that I didn’t see it sooner!

SPOORLOOS

Spoorloos, also known as The Vanishing, is a 1988 classic mystery drama, about a man who obsessively searches for his lost girlfriend after going missing on holiday. It is a Dutch film, based upon the novella, ‘The Golden Egg’ by Tim Krabbe.

This is definitely a thought-provoking film, focused more on the mental state of the protagonist, as opposed to the actual disappearance itself.

The film is infamous, particularly for the last ten minutes, which film critic Mark Kermode labelled, “the scariest moment in any film I have ever seen.” Despite this, the film carries a 12 certificate from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), as there is no violence or bad language at all.

It is perfect viewing for anyone who would enjoy a slow burn psychological drama. A ground-breaking journey of cinema for anybody willing to take it!

SICKO

Sicko, especially nowadays, is a very important piece of cinema. It is a 2007 political comedy-documentary by Michael Moore. It examines the flawed and corrupt nature of the US healthcare system and big pharmaceutical companies.

The film investigates healthcare horror stories in the US, ranging from people not being allowed to have major surgeries to people genuinely dying, due to negligence from their insurance provider.

Sicko then goes on to explore the UK healthcare system, with Michael Moore being shocked at the relative equality of the NHS. The film is an eye-opening and shocking documentary, doused with some surprisingly funny moments, mainly deriving from Michael Moore’s hilariously invasive and slightly awkward interviewing style.

Along with the valuable service our health workers are providing at the moment, this film is another reminder of why and how we should cherish our NHS.

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I’m sure these films will evoke strong feelings in you and I hope will prove to be some excellent entertainment!

It would be good to hear what other young people think of my choices. What’s on your quarantine to-watch list?

Shiv is from north-west London, currently studying Film Studies at University of St Andrews. His hobbies include writing and watching lots of films! His favourite director is Darren Aronofsky and his favourite films of all time include ‘Mulholland Drive’, ‘Festen’ and ‘Mother!’

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