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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 two weeks 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

Since I am Italian, Martyna and I thought it would be good to curate a list of our favourite films from my country, in an homage to its talents. It is sad to see how many foreign good films do not get theatrical distribution in the UK, it is a wealth of diversity that goes missing. We love Italian films and we think that alongside the great masters of the past, there is a new wave of young talents out there that is deservedly conquering the world: besides the renowned multi-awarded Sorrentino, Guadagnino and Garrone an array of talented film-makers with a lot to say have emerged Saverio Costanzo, Alice Rorwacher, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Laura Bispuri, the D’Innocenzo brothers to name only a few. But these don’t get distributed very often. 

Malaika’s Recommendations

La Ciociara – Two Women

Dir. Vittorio DeSica, 1960

This film breaks my heart every time I see it. The story of a woman and her daughter braving through the tragedy of war is so essential. It sincerely leaves you speechless. It is Italian neo-realism at its best. Sophia Loren won a cascade of awards, including the Oscar for Best Actress. 

Available on Amazon

Happy as Lazzaro 

Dir. Alice Rohrwacher, 2018

Alice Rohrwacher is young and a woman. She is one of these fresh Italian film-makers who is becoming increasingly welcomed worldwide. She is poetic, unusual, metaphoric, slow, intense. Her film may be a difficult watch but a rewarding experience. Her constant search for meaning beyond the obvious makes her one of the most interesting film-makers in the current Italian Cinema.

Available on Netflix

Martyna’s Recommendations

I’m not Scared

Dir, Gabriele Salvatores, 2003

Unfortunately my favourite Italian film ever does not seem to be available to stream, but I have to give it a mention. It’s Nirvana by Gabriele Salvatores. But since it’s not online, I’ll go for another Salvatores’ film, as I’m a big admirer of all his work. I’m not Scared is very scary, despite what the title claims.  It’s not horror scary; it’s human cruelty scary. This kidnapping drama will definitely evoke many feelings, but thankfully not all of them are negative.

Available on Amazon

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Dir. Sergio Leone, 1966

I love spaghetti westerns, and this one is an obvious classic. The redefined genre blossomed in Italy and Sergio Leone undoubtedly directed the best. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is hugely entertaining, and funny…unlike many classical westerns. It also digs deep into human morality: good and evil. With outstanding cinematography and world famous music by Ennio Morricone, this epic film is a must see for everyone who has an interest in cinema.

Available on Amazon

Other Raindance Pic(k)s

Documentary | QueerRomanceFeel-Good Films | Dark Humour | Absurdities | Women | Polish

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About 

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.