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Some tremendous work is becoming available to stream this coming month, including films by pioneers of queer cinema, multiple restorations of ’90s gems, and standouts from the ’80s Taiwanese New Wave. Here’s a roundup of everything you should check out. This article will be periodically updated with more links as films become available on their respective platforms.
Beau Travail (1999)
Herman Melville’s Billy Budd gets updated to follow French Foreign Legion soldiers stationed in Djibouti. Director Claire Denis pays studious attention to the rhythms of their exercises and daily routines. This is an acutely physical film, attuned to body language like few others, and now it has a dazzling new 4K restoration coming out. Now is the time to witness one of the greatest movie dance scenes ever.
In virtual cinemas starting September 4
Angels Wear White (2017)
This tense Chinese drama follows two young girls who become embroiled in a public scandal when one of them comes forward about her sexual assault by a middle-aged man and the other has proof of the crime. A stunningly accomplished first feature from writer/director Vivian Qu, it intricately, infuriatingly lays out how institutions are constructed to insulate predators and obstruct justice.
On OVID starting September 4
New Taiwanese Cinema
Throughout the 1980s, the Taiwanese film industry experienced a boom in realist films from new directors, garnering international acclaim. This series by MUBI presents early works from some of the key directors in the movement, including the sadly departed Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Chen Kun-ho. The Sandwich Man and The Terrorizers in particular are important texts.
The Terrorizers (1986) starting September 5
In Our Time (1982) starting September 6
A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1985) starting September 11
The Sandwich Man (1983) starting September 12
Dust in the Wind (1986) starting September 18
Growing Up (1983) starting September 19
Seven Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude
As far back as the early ’70s and as recently as last year, filmmakers have documented the environmental art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In the wake of Christo’s death this past May, the Criterion Channel has put together a tribute to the pair in the form of a collection of six features and one short about their work. Many were directed by the venerable documentarian team of the Maysles brothers and Charlotte Zwerin, such as 1987’s Islands and 1994’s Umbrellas (both about the artworks of the same name).
Seven Films by Marlon Riggs
The brilliant, gone-too-soon filmmaker, academic, activist, and poet Marlon Riggs made numerous terrific documentaries on queerness, Blackness, and the intersections of both identities. We previously featured two films by Riggs in this column, but now those and even more are coming to OVID, all available in one convenient collection. Some of them will be widely accessible for the first time in years.
Color Adjustment (1991) and Ethnic Notions (1987) starting September 10
Black Is… Black Ain’t (1995) starting September 14
Tongues Untied (1989), Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1992), Anthem (1991), and Affirmations (1990) starting September 16
A Thousand Suns (2013) and Touki Bouki (1973)
French actress and director Mati Diop broke out last year with her first feature, Atlantics, becoming the first Black woman to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. This Criterion Channel program pairs Diop’s short film A Thousand Suns with Touki Bouki, a landmark African feature directed by her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. The short follows Magaye Niang, the star of Touki Bouki, and how he eventually turned from actor to farmer. Together, the films form a diptych of the past and present of Senegalese cinema.
From the East (1993)
In the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, untold thousands became displaced amidst widespread economic and societal unraveling. Chantal Akerman took her cameras to Eastern Europe to create an indelible, sweeping survey that’s less about the state of post-communist Europe than it is simply a state of being, of living in pure uncertainty and precarity. This is the first time the newly restored documentary will be available to stream on any platform.
On OVID starting September 24
Two Films by Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
MUBI will be presenting a double feature on Bressan, who emerged from directing gay pornography to capture vital snapshots of queer culture in the ’70s and ’80s. Gay USA collates footage from 25 different Pride parades happening simultaneously in June 1977, while Buddies was the first American film about AIDS. (Bressan would himself die of illnesses related to the disease two years after its release.)