Christchurch City Libraries has a hot new eResource in town – Kanopy, an on-demand streaming video service. With your library card and password/PIN, you can freely access a sizeable collection of award-winning independent, international and classic films, and documentaries. I have already amassed a pretty extensive watch list, and am so impressed by the range and depth of films available – for me, it far surpasses the widely used pay-for subscription services in the quality of content available. Below are five of my top picks available to stream now.
Lars Von Trier's Melancholia is a beautiful, haunting, magnetic feat of filmmaking from the Danish auteur. Kirsten Dunst is Justine, a women in the throes of dark depressive spiral on her wedding day. The event is set against an impending celestial cataclysm, in the form of a planet on collision course with the earth. With a score that soars, sublime cinematography and an outstanding performance from Dunst, this film is well-worth an inclusion in the Kanopy watchlists of those inclined towards dark romanticism.
- Watch Melancholia on Kanopy.
Ex Libris - The New York Public Library
At three hours seventeen minutes this fly-on-the-wall documentary about the New York Public Library may appear daunting, but Wiseman's film about the institution masterfully glides between vignettes of library life - from administrator meetings juggling budgets, to luminaries delivering public talks, to patrons whiling away at community branches. Ex Libris illuminates the library as a vibrant, vital venue for community connection and cultural exchange, as well as being a conduit to intellectual discovery. Kanopy provides access to many (possibly all?) of Wiseman’s impressive oeuvre, which can often be difficult to find otherwise.
- Watch Ex Libris - The New York Public Library on Kanopy.
Love and Friendship
Based upon a Jane Austen novella titled Lady Susan but named for a work she wrote as a child, Love and Friendship is a delightfully arch, comedic film of a widow seeking two husbands (for herself and her daughter), and happily soars above the many dull Austen adaptations. Kate Beckinsale brings nuance to Lady Susan Vernon, at once manipulative and charming, with a smooth mastery of the social games played by all in her set. A slinky, funny period film.
- Watch Love and Friendship on Kanopy.
An arresting collage of footage of situations that marked cinematographer Kirsten Johnson most is assembled in this visual memoir Cameraperson. It is transfixing, poetic – and critiques the idea of objectivity in non-fiction filmmaking, revealing the person framing the stories she is telling through whispered conversations, outtakes, a hand clearing blades of a grass from a shot, and once – a glimpse of the woman behind the lens. A deeply thought-provoking assemblage.
- Watch Cameraperson on Kanopy.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Based upon Iphigenia in Aulis by classical Greek playwright Euripides, in The Killing of a Sacred Deer the central character, like Agamemnon, is faced with a terrible choice, upon which the lives of those he loves depends. Featuring a truly bone-chilling performance from actor Barry Keoghan, in The Killing of a Sacred Deer Yorgos Larithimos brings the strangeness of his singular imagination to bear in ways excruciating, tragic, and complex.
Watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer on Kanopy.