What to Watch on Kanopy?

The Winnipeg Public Library recently started offering access to a new streaming service for films and documentaries, so I decided to check out this new resource.  In addition to documentaries, Kanopy offers a wide selection of international as well as Hollywood movies.

Here are some of my favourite titles so far:

The King’s Choice is a Norwegian film based on the incredible-but-true events surrounding the period of April 9-11, 1940.  When Nazi forces invaded Norway, King Haakon VII was faced with an ultimatum: accede to the demand to surrender his country without resistance, or support the continued resistance of his government and escape the country into exile.  For two days, the king and his family were pursued by the invading German army through the Norwegian countryside. They shared the fear and uncertainty of their countrymen as their towns and cities experienced a new kind of war and then four years of occupation.

In Manchester By The Sea a depressed man, Lee Chandler, must face his painful past when he reluctantly returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his brother.  Upon arrival, he finds that he has been made sole guardian to his teenage nephew. This is a realistic look at the personal cost of guilt with very flawed characters who are struggling with addictions and crushing grief, and yet they must find a way to carry on with the daily tasks and responsibilities of life.

   

In Brooklyn, a young Irish woman immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950’s in the hopes of finding new opportunities. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. When family circumstances back home require her to return unexpectedly, she is faced with deciding between two countries – her home and family in the old world and the life she built with the man she loves waiting for her in the new.  Besides the great acting by Saoirse Ronan, the period reconstitution is also excellent, and the story reflects the journey that so many have done and continue to do so today.

     
Le Samourai is a mix of “1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture.”  Alain Delon (one of France’s top actors of all time) plays a contract killer with samurai instincts in 1960’s Paris.  If you have watched and loved The Professional or Ghost Dog, you can now see the movie that undoubtedly inspired both.  John Costello is a contract killer that works according to his own personal code, surviving against both law enforcement and the criminal world by being a loner.  What happens when you are forced to let someone into your life – will it save or destroy you?

I had heard of the Italian movie classic The Bicycle Thieves many times before, but thanks to Kanopy, this was my chance to finally see it.  In postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation and escape from poverty for his desperate family.  Putting posters on walls may be a modest job, so when the bicycle which is needed for his work is stolen, he sets off to track down the thief with his son in tow.  An increasingly desperate quest to save their future.

Another classic from the silent cinema era is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,  now available fully restored and with the original orchestral score.  The film takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground while slaving away maintaining nightmarish machinery, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor.  Will the love of two people from those separate worlds be enough to bridge the divide?  This was the first time that a humanoid robot was featured on film, and it’s visuals would inspire science-fiction work up to this day.
What about you, what would you recommend?
Louis-Philippe

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