Stay-At-Home Seven: March 23-29

This week's dose of films to catch on UK streaming services and television

by Amber Wilkinson

Crip Camp
Crip Camp Photo: Steve Honigsbaum
Welcome to week two of our Stay-At-Home seven. You can read our week one recommendations here and don't forget to let us know on Facebook or Twitter if there's any specific subject or genre you'd like us to cover in future weeks.

Fantastic Fungi, March 25, $4.99 to rent at fantasticfungi.com

If being stuck at home has left you missing the interactive experience of cinema Q&As then this global screening event could well be for you. Louie Schwarzberg's documentary about the wonderful world of mushrooms and their ilk, narrated by Brie Larsson, is being screened in 50 countries along with a live online virtual discussion with Director Louie Schwartzberg, mycologist Paul Stamets, and special guests. Read the full review and watch it online here

The best conversation time for UK viewers is 8pm London time  (1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm Paris).

Crip Camp, streaming on Netflix from Wednesday, March 25

This engaging and informative documentary deservedly won the US Documentary Audience Award at Sundance this year. Itharts the landmark movement for better disability rights which, this film argues, stemmed at least in part from a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers. Co-director LeBrecht (working with Nicole Newnham) brings his own story to tale, which includes some joyous archive footage, while the film is cleverly structured to balance the educational with the entertaining. A triumph of diversity over adversity. Read the full review.

A Minuscule Adventure, available to rent on YouTube for £3.49

Bringing a whole new meaning to the instruction, "Ladybird, ladybird flyaway home", this animated adventure sees one of the little insects take an unexpected trip to the Caribbean, with a parent in tow. We see how the pair of them cope and make new friends on Guadeloupe at the same time as their ant buddy launches a rescue attempt from back in France with the help of a classical-music loving spider. Although this is a French film, because it is, like Shaun the Sheep, dialogue-free any age can enjoy it. Read the full review and watch it here.

Quatermass And The Pit, Friday, March 27, 10pm, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 81)

Jennie Kermode writes: Adapted by Nigel Kneale from his book and television series, Quatermass’ only outing on the big screen sees the famous professor – played by Andrew Keir – called in to investigate when something unexpected is found during the construction of a new tunnel in the London Underground. What unfolds is a story of interplanetary threat unlike any other. Rooted in myth and stretching back into human prehistory, it’s a weighty tale some of whose themes have become all the more relevant with passing time. This British science fiction classic hits harder because of its very ordinary setting and because the darkness at its heart is all too familiar. Read the full review.

Divorce Iranian Style and Runaway, Streaming for free at IDFA

Those lovely people at the Amsterdam documentary film festival have made 200 shorts and feature films free to watch online (300 if you're in the Netherlands) and it's a complete treasure trove. It offers a great opportunity to catch up with some of the early work of British documentarian Kim Longinotto, whose latest award-winning documentary Shooting The Mafia is also currently available on VoD, from YouTube and elsewhere. Her fly-on-the-wall style brings an intimacy to the stories she captures, which also have a strong feminist slant. Divorce Iranian Style takes us into the courts of Iran to witness custody cases, while Runaway charts children in the country who have fled their homes. Longinotto once told us:  "I want to make films where watching the film inspires you to be stronger and makes you feel you can be stronger." and these are great examples of that. Read the reviews of Divorce Iranian Style and Runaway and watch the films online at IDFA.

Better Things, Wednesday, March 25, 1.50am Film4 (Freeview Channel 14)

Duane Hopkins' accomplished debut film is a neo-realist exploration of life on the margins in rural Britain. He captures the world of isolation and fractured relationships of teenagers in the Cotswolds with a clear eye, showing how drugs have become a dead end escape route for a group of youngsters. Notable for its immersive sound design that keys us into the character's emotional landscape, it's a shame the director hasn't gone on to further features after his 2014 follow-up Bypass. Read the full review.

A Town Like Alice, BBC iPlayer until April 21

The most successful British film of 1956, Jack Lee's adaptation of Neville Shute's novel captures the heroism of British women during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in the Second World War. Although there's some stereotyping here, the central performance of Virginia McKenna is powerful and the depiction of the realities of war strong for the time. Look out for a young Jean Anderson who would go on to star in TV classic Tenko about prisoners of war following the Japanese invasion of Singapore. Read the full review.

Finally to our short suggestion this week. Marvel was a universe away when New Zealand director Taika Waititi made adorable short Two Cars One Night about a couple of kids who strike up an unexpected friendship. The film would go on to be nominated for the Best Live Short Oscar - where it lost out to British director Andrea Arnold's Wasp - it also provided a springboard for Waititi's delightful first feature Boy, which is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Read last week's Stay-At-Home Seven here.

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