Four new films to stream this weekend

Black Bear, I Blame Society, Sisters with Transistors, House of Cardin

Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott in Black Beat

Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott in Black Beat

 

BLACK BEAR ★★★★★
Directed by Lawrence Michael Levine. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon, Paola Lázaro, Grantham Coleman. VOD, 104 min
Plaza excels in this tricksy, surreal cringe comedy, which falls somewhere between Fawlty Towers and Mulholland Drive (and defies easy summary). Gadon and Abbott are the most unmissable actors around. But it’s Plaza’s turn in a script that demands she “....break down and give the best performance that anyone has ever seen ever” – yes, that’s the script direction – that pounces like the ursus of the title. Lawrence Michael Levine’s blisteringly original, provocative, often hilarious screenplay lurches between familiar tropes and jagged edges. It’ll keep you guessing. TB

I BLAME SOCIETY ★★★★☆
Directed by Gillian Wallace Horvat. Starring Gillian Wallace Horvat, Keith Poulson, Chase Williamson, Lucas Kavner, Morgan Krantz, Alexia Rasmussen, Olivia Kuan. VOD, 85 min

Gillian Wallace Horvat in I Blame Society
Gillian Wallace Horvat in I Blame Society

A young woman, driven to distraction by the hypocrisies of the LA movie scene, begins by making a mock documentary on the perfect murder, but soon finds herself actually hacking up bodies. Only a cad would wish Horvat’s ragged, low-budget feature more polished. Made within the communities it satirises, I Blame Society thrives on its own crotchety energy. Playing a version of herself, the director (also an eloquent critic of both arthouse and grindhouse) never allows the self-conscious theorising to get in the way of disgusting gags. An absolute blast that deserves more than a cut following. DC

SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS ★★★★☆
Directed by Lisa Rovner. Featuring Laurie Anderson, Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron. VOD, 86 min

Suzanne Ciani in 1976, in the documentary Sisters with Transistors
Suzanne Ciani in 1976, in the documentary Sisters with Transistors

Why have there been no “great” women composers?” asked accordionist and experimental musician Pauline Oliveros in a 1970 New York Times essay. Why indeed, wonders this engrossing documentary that bills itself as “an untold story”. Electronica may have been a refuge for many classically trained female musicians, hoping to break away from a male-dominated profession, yet these women have still been sidelined and forgotten by the medium they shaped and willed into existence. There’s nary a dull moment nor dull character in this gripping history. Narrator Laurie Anderson is our amiable guide. TB

 HOUSE OF CARDIN ★★★☆☆
Directed by P David Ebersole, Todd Hughes. Featuring Pierre Cardin, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sharon Stone, Philippe Starck, Naomi Campbell, Dionne Warwick. VOD, 98 min

Pierre Cardin in House of Cardin
Pierre Cardin in House of Cardin

Efficient documentary on Pierre Cardin. The contemporary interviews with the subject, who died less than six months ago, are not nearly so challenging as the footage of him in his prime. As the flashy, buzzy visuals here push home, the House of Cardin has endured for decades, but it’s defining period was the pop-futurist 1960s. The directors efficiently hammer home what a blast of fresh air that was in a stuffy industry. Dionne Warwick and Naomi Campbell remind us how he opened up a hitherto vanilla catwalk to people of colour. DC  

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