Streaming Spotlight: Cannes class of 22

Films from last year's festival to stream at home

by Amber Wilkinson

Butterfly Vision
Butterfly Vision Photo: Wild Bunch
Cannes is now in full swing with cinephiles eagerly awaiting news of this year's batch of heavy hitters, from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson. For those who aren't there, the good news is that many of the great films from last year are available now to stream in the UK - here's a handful you can catch at home.

Butterfly Vision, MUBI

Ukrainian filmmakers have spent the past 12 months in the spotlight, with both fiction features and documentaries making their presence felt globally. Maksym Nakonechnyi's impressive drama about a former prisoner of war was among the best. It follows drone operator Lilya (Rita Burkovska) as she returns from Russian captivity and attempts to adjust back to her old life. Nakonechnyi marries Lilya's experience - with her PTSD represented by glitches in the film - to the pressure cooker of a news cycle and ever-opinionated social media. Burkovska's understated central performance is magnetic.

Harka, Chili

Harka Photo: Courtesy of KVIFF
Adam Bessa deservedly shared the Un Certain Regard acting prize (with Vicky Krieps for Corsage) for his intense central performance in Lotfy Nathan's gripping social drama. He plays Tunisian Ali, who sells illegal gasoline to just about make ends meet. After his father dies he finds his plans to quit the country for a new life are thrown into disarray when he is left to look after his younger sisters (played by Ikbal Harbi and Salima Maatoug, both non-professionals making impressive turns). Nathan brings home the constant struggle and soul-destroying nature of poverty in a world that seems indifferent even to extreme acts of desperation. Bessa told us: "We just tried to create this character that was a representation of a whole generation." Nathan, meanwhile, told us about his move from documentary to fiction.

Joyland, Sky Store, BFI Player and other streamers

Saim Sadiq’s Joyland which won the jury prize in Un Certain Regard
Saim Sadiq’s Joyland which won the jury prize in Un Certain Regard Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
The first film from Pakistan to ever screen at Cannes, Saim Sadiq's debut is a complex and deeply moving character-driven drama. He immerses us in the lives of a single family who find themselves pushed this way and that by patriarchal expectations that leave little room for personal feelings. Although the main focus is the family's youngest son Haider (Ali Junejo) and the unexpected relationship that develops between him and trans performer Biba (Alina Khan), each member of the family is fully developed and grappling with their own sense of self. A richly scripted and nuanced film that was fully deserving of its Jury Prize from Cannes Un Certain Regard.

Moonage Daydream, Netflix, Apple TV

Moonage Daydream will open DocFest
Moonage Daydream will open DocFest Photo: Courtesy of Sheffield DocFest
One of the best documentaries of the past year, Brett Morgan's immersive consideration of David Bowie's music is a kaleidoscopic treat. The documentarian brings the musician's life and canny knack of reinvention alive thanks to a well-assembled archive that includes plenty of observations from the man himself. While not giving the music short shrift, the film also opens out into a consideration of Bowie's other artistic endeavours. Although there's no doubt the showmanship will be a little reduced by the transfer from the big to small screen this is a cracker that allows Bowie to tell his own story, while illustrating it beautifully.

Holy Spider, MUBI

Protest came before a screening of Holy Spider
Protest came before a screening of Holy Spider Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Zar Amir-Ebrahimi took home the main competition's acting prize for her portrayal of a reporter on the trail of a serial killer in Ali Abbasi's gripping thriller. Based on the true story of Saeed Hanaei - who targeted street workers in what he claimed was a “jihad” against immorality - Amir-Ebrahimi's film may start off in the realm of conventional drama but it expands into a consideration of societal expectations and constraints. The Spider Kiler's (Mehdi Bajestani) identity may be quickly revealed, but that allows the writer/director to focus on society's reaction to him, which proves to be almost as chilling as his crimes.

Chile, 76, BFI Player

1976 Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Directors' Fortnight
This is not the first time the subject of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship has been brought to film, but the subject is lent a freshness by first-time director Manuela Martelli by its female-centric focus. When an upper-middle class doctor's wife Carmen (Aline Küppenheim) is enlisted to help a fugitive Elías (Nicolás Sepúlveda) from the dictatorship she finds her comfortable life increasingly under threat in a film that wrings tension from even the smallest interactions. Martelli also has a keen eye for framing and colour (which the director told us is "very linked to character", making this as aesthetically enjoyable as it is gripping.

Tori And Lokita, Apple TV

Tori and Lokita
Tori and Lokita Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne were given a special jury prize to mark Cannes' 75th anniversary for their social-realist tale of two refugee kids who are struggling to forge a better life for themselves in a country that seems to care more about whether Tori (Pablo Schils) and the slightly older Lokita (Joely Mbundu) are genuine siblings than their welfare. The inseparable pair find themselves exploited at every turn, from the church to the authorities. The Dardennes unfussy formula of keeping character front and centre pays off yet again as the children's innocent attitude comes up against the harsh realities of an uncaring world.

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