Raindance Pic(k)s: Festival Programmers’ Film Suggestions for Lockdown - Raindance

When you are a film buff, filling up all those long, long hours that were suddenly gifted to us all by coronavirus (always look on the bright side of life, right?) is easy. Watch a few films; and then watch some more. What might not be so easy is navigating through all the content that is now available online. Trying to find something worth actually watching.

Let us help. Those that have been to the Raindance Film Festival already know our expert curatorial choices when it comes to the best independent films. Now we want to help you pick your next great movie to watch while stuck at home, with our personal list of indie and arthouse gems. These are films that made an impression on us, Raindance’s programmers.Every other Tuesday there will be a new list with a new film category, genre or theme, to get you through the next couple of weeks.

If you liked, or disliked for that matter, our suggestions, and would like to discuss the choices or get other suggestions on subjects closer to your heart, just email us:

Malaika Bova & Martyna Szmytkowska

We are kicking off with something to keep our spirits high; feel-good flicks to bring some laughs and optimism into our lives, or at least to our living rooms.  Enjoy!

Martyna’s recommendations

There’s got to be an uplifting and happy ending. That’s a given when we talk about a feel-good movie. There has to be lots of laughs too. But most importantly, I need really good music to run through the film. So the common denominator for my chosen three films is an absolute hell of a soundtrack. After you’ve watched the movies, download the soundtracks to help that upbeat mood last even longer.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 

Dir. Stephan Elliot, 1994 

Stephan Elliot’s queer road movie has it all. It will make you cry and laugh out loud at the same time. Though mostly it will just make you laugh. This camp gem is built on witty dialogues, outstanding music and above all, exquisite performances by Terence Stamp Hugo Weaving and Guy Pierce as two drag queens and transsexual travelling through backwater parts of Australia to deliver a drag show. It leaves you feeling elated, as it dazzles with colourful characters, fabulous costumes and stunning outback scenery. What’s not to love? 

Available on Youtube 

The Full Monty

Dir. Peter Cattaneo, 1997

Despite the grim reality it depicts onscreen, the Full Monty is uplifting and joyful. That’s exactly what we need right now. It follows the battles of a group of unemployed men doing everything they can to scrape by, including becoming the new Sheffield Chippendales. Awkward Englishness and clumsy dancing combines with full frontal striptease and crowd-pleasing tunes to bring belly-laughs and heart-warming cheer. 

Available on Amazon Prime 

Strictly Ballroom

Dir. Baz Luhrmann, 1992

Baz Luhrmann’s feature directorial debut is a simple story; a rebel and an ugly duckling come together to win the world and each others love. But it’s the backdrop of the tacky world of ballroom dancing that makes something spectacular of the otherwise cheesy plot. Luhrmann’s vision of this world is hysterical, exaggerated, full of madness and populated with deliciously ludicrous characters. Even the most cliché of film messages;  ‘believe in yourself and everything will be perfect’ served in so much glitter, vibrant music and dance becomes entertaining. 

Available on iTunes 


Malaika’s recommendations

My recommendations are a laugh with a quirky twist, stories that don’t add up, out of the box fairy tales, the unexpected humour, the art of paradox but also a lighter crowd pleasing touch,  with a sprinkle of true Britishness. Enjoy!

Lars and the Real Girl

Dir. Craig Gillespie, 2007

Who says that when a troubled shy guy orders a plastic doll online he needs to have sex with it? Why does it need to go dirty? Gillespie and writer Nancy Oliver think out of the box and make this only the beginning of an awkwardly sweet indie fairy tale about the weird ways in which love can heal pain and support disability.  For those who can think of a better use for a sexy plastic doll!

Available on Amazon Prime

Bend it Like Beckham

Dir. Gurinder Chadha, 2002

Jasminder is a British girl from an Indian background who dreams of becoming a football star. She bends the rules of her traditional upbringing just like Beckham bends the path of the ball in a free kick.  A crowd pleaser, this light comedy plays joyfully with the stereotypes of two cultures, delicately hinting to deeper issues of racism, integration and gender. For those looking for a mood uplifter with a more serious back taste.

Available on Amazon Prime

The Big Sick 

Dir. Michael Showalter, 2017

Wanabee comedian Kumail meets student Emily, they fall in love but then she goes into a coma and a brilliantly funny film follows. Taken from the real courtship of the two scriptwriters of the film, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, the Big Sick challenges the boundaries of traditional comedies by inserting a script into the setting of an unlikely romantic comedy drama. The mix of paradoxical and unexpected humour is a joy for the heart and the brain.

For those who believe what Mark Twain once said: Humor is tragedy plus time

Available on Amazon Prime


Other Raindance Pic(K)s

Documentary | QueerRomance | Dark Humour | Absurdities | Women



Raindance’s senior programmer and programme manager, Martyna, has helped with curating the Raindance Film Festival lineup since 2013. In her previous, pre-Raindance life she was a talent agent in one of the leading Polish talent agencies. She has an MA in Film History and Theory.

Malaika has been a Programmer and Programme Manager for Raindance since 2017. Prior to that she worked as a TV producer with ABC News, BBC and Fremantle Media and programmed for five years the Italian Film Festival in London.