Welcome to Sydenham Arts Film’s new venture- Talking Films! Every month, we’ll be creating a playlist of content to watch at home, including films, documentaries and series across a number of readily available streaming platforms (free and subscription). Watch at your leisure, and each month, we’ll meet up to discuss and debate the content we’ve watched.
Our Meetups will start online, with the hope that some day soon, we’ll be able to meet up in person!
In our first This month we start by looking back to October to celebrate both BHM and Halloween, and a look at the most extraordinary US election. We’ve also added some discussion points to have a think about, but they’re just a guide, we’re looking forward to everyone’s points of view and ideas!
NOVEMBER MEET UP DATE: THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER, 7PM
Join our Meet Up Group for Links, and to register your attendance!
This month, we’re asking you to watch…
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM PLATFORM: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
14 years after his Oscar nominated, cult, timeless, daring comedy, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”, Sacha Baron Cohen returns as the Kazakh TV journalist. Shot in absolute secrecy in the midst of the pandemic, with both Cohen and newcomer Maria Bakalova (who plays Borat’s teenage daughter) staying in character for hours on end, if not days, the film, which premiered on October 23, gained instant notoriety for catching President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a compromising position. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
DISCUSSION POINTS: Has it lost the originality and timelessness of the original? Is this one of the most feminist films in recent times? Is it Oscar worthy?
MO GILLIGAN: BLACK, BRITISH & FUNNY PLATFORM: ALL 4
Channel 4 commissioned for and included these two documentaries in its BHM diverse programme across all its TV channels and streaming platform. In this first one, comedian and star of “Celebrity Gogglebox”, Mo Gilligan traces his comedic roots, revealing the inexcusably under the radar, rich and vibrant British black comedy culture of the last 30 years.
DISCUSSION POINTS: British humour is renowned the world over, so why does our thriving Black comedy circuit remains mostly hidden? How does comedy help to break down barriers and become universal?
THE TALK PLATFORM: ALL 4
In the second of these Channel 4 documentaries, well known Britons, some with their parents, some with their children, share their experience with systemic racism and the talk they had, or didn’t have, about it growing up.
DISCUSSION POINTS: “I understand that I don’t understand, but I still stand” was one of Black Lives Matter main mottos. Does it make more sense now? Should we always remind ourselves that there is a difference of experience growing up white or black, male or female, and everything in between? How does this documentary help drive forward the discourse around racism and discrimination?
LOVECRAFT COUNTRY PLATFORM: SKY ATLANTIC (SKY & NOW TV)
Based on Matt Ruff’s dark fantasy horror novel, this imaginative, original and wonderfully bonkers series created by Misha Green (Underground, Helix, Sons of Anarchy), explores the unexpected conjunction between H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction and racism in the US during the 50s. It does so by following Atticus Freeman, embarking on a road trip with his friend, Letitia, and his uncle George, in search of his missing father. Initially. Because after episode 2 it takes some wild and continuously jaw dropping turns.
DISCUSSION POINTS: Thoughts around the use of mainly primary (red, blue, and yellow) colours and the near absence of pure white? Any comments on the extremely varied and effective soundtrack?
GHOSTS PLATFORM: BBC iPLAYER
The first season of “Ghosts” was the highest rated British comedy TV series of 2019. No wonder that the BBC commissioned a second, which concluded on September 21, a Christmas Special to air this December, and a third season for 2021. Created by the same people who gifted us “Horrible Histories” and now star as some of the titular ghosts, it tells the at times hilarious or unexpectedly emotive, but always uplifting story of a young couple inheriting a country home, and have to learn to coexist with the spirits that haunts it.
DISCUSSION POINTS: Think about the use of tragedy/misfortune and its relationship with comedy. Who is your favourite character, dead or alive?!
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (SERIES) PLATFORM: BBC iPlayer
Created by New Zealanders, writers, actors, and directors Jermaine Clement and Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit). It is inspired by and takes place in the same universe as their original, insanely cult, 2014 film of the same name (also available on iPlayer). It is shot as a reality TV show, documenting the everyday lives of 3 “regular” and 1 “psychic” vampires, navigating the pitfalls of Staten Island, with the help of one of their familiars, the surprising resilient Guillermo.
DISCUSSION POINTS: Comment on the juxtaposition of reality TV norms with the Vampiric mythos tropes. Which famous actors/cult personalities did you spot guest starring as Vampires on S01E07, “The Trial” and on S02E06, “On the Run”?