Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Miklós Jancsó, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Italian Studies and more

Each week, we highlight notable titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s picks below and past roundups here.

Ailey (Jamila Wignot)

Has a choreographer counted more for American dance than Alvin Ailey? The documentary Ailey, directed by Jamila Wignot, makes a bargain that there is not. Comprised of incredible archival footage, interviews with peers, and choreographer Rennie Harris preparing a modern performance in honor of the artist, Wignot paints a full picture of a complicated man. Born in mid-Texas during the Great Depression, old recordings of Ailey tell of picking cotton with his mother (his father was non-existent in his life), then later seeing Katherine Dunham (and her male dancers) perform in direct. The shock of seeing someone who looked like him produce such wonderful art encouraged him to pursue the work himself. – Dan M (Full Review)

Where to stream: Hulu

Bergman Island (Mia Hansen – Love)

Mia Hansen-Love’s Bergman Island is in all transparency a form of self-portrait: it is about a filmmaker, embodied by the great Vicky Krieps, in a relationship with another filmmaker, just as Hansen-Løve was with Olivier Assayas. But much more than that. It’s a film on the pains of making personal art, but also its release as a means of re-examining past times. Bergman is not so much an influence on the film as he is a menacing shadow for the character of Krieps, who is looking for another way of making films, perhaps calmer, more optimistic, less extractive, than the Swedish legend. . – Orla S.

Where to stream: Hulu

Black bear (Lawrence Michael Levine)

Split into two separate stories, that of Lawrence Michael Levine Black bear is not just a showcase of Aubrey Plaza’s expressive range, which has always been teased in previous projects, but a treatise on independent cinema and the relationship between life and art. Plaza, alongside Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon, evolves into different roles as the film shifts from relationship drama to a behind-the-scenes look at cinema, and Levine asks his audience to make connections themselves, only explaining never quite how these disparate tales are connected (or even what the black bear literally symbolizes). As we wrestle with the possibilities of theatrical film, Levine’s project proves a demanding puzzle, debate and conversation. – Christian G

Where to stream: Hulu

i am your man (Maria Schrader)

Falling in love with a robot is not good news, because Her and blade runner (2019 and 2049) tell us. In i am your man, parading in competition in Berlin, a museum director in her forties (Maren Eggert) is rightly nervous – she’s in a movie named after a Leonard Cohen piece, which is just asking for trouble – when asked to try out a new romantic partner. That’s because he’s a “humanoid robot,” Tom, algorithmically aligned to his romantic preferences and played by dashing English actor Dan Stevens in a performance in which he speaks impressively fluent German. . – EdF. (Full Review)

Where to stream: Hulu

Italian studies (Adam Leon)

See an exclusive clip above.

Adam Leon’s third feature film, Italian studies, follows Vanessa Kirby as Alina Reynolds, a woman who sometimes doesn’t know her own name. Call it amnesia or memory loss or even a blackout, but Kirby’s peak performance relies on quiet confusion. Leon’s story gives little context or background as to how this woman had these spells, instead accompanying her during a 24-hour period in New York City. – Michael F (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD

Luzzu (Alex Camilleri)

Filmed and set in Malta, director Alex Camilleri’s directorial debut Luzzu follows Jesmark, a fisherman and new father, in his attempt to find the money and resources necessary to provide a good life for his young family. Set up by a simple premise and hyper-realistic approach, the film pits dreams against pragmatism as Jesmark struggles to shed his generational appeal to go to the high seas in a small, hand-painted boat. As most viewers will find, we are even less aware of Maltese life and this fishing culture than we think. Camilleri, a Maltese-American, has spent the past decade working as an editor and assistant editor on a number of films, often collaborating with Iranian-American director Ramin Bahrani. Camilleri takes a naturalistic path in his first film, bordering on documentary fiction, its main character (Jesmark Scicluna) hard-faced and unwilling to smile. – Michael F (Full Review)

Where to stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Retrospective Miklos Jancsó

One of the major restoration events of the past year involves six remarkable films by Hungarian master Miklós Jancsó, who died in 2014. 4K restorations by the Hungarian National Film Archive from the original 35mm camera negatives are finally being rolled out more broadly after last year’s projections, including 1965 The roundup at NYFF––where I had an introduction to Jancsó’s formally arresting masterpiece. Thanks to Kino Lorber, the six Scorsese-approved films — which also include red and white (1967), The confrontation (1968), winter wind (1969), red psalm (1971), and Electra, my love (1974)––are available now through Metrograph, both in theaters and at home, before getting a wider arc this spring. – Jordan R

Where to stream: Home Metrographer

Our time will come (Anne Hui)

In an early scene of Hong Kong’s New Wave pioneer Ann Hui’s historic war drama Our time will come, a Chinese rebel accidentally drops a live grenade into a large crowd of civilians. A brief moment of chaos ensues as everyone takes cover; balls are exchanged, tables and chairs are thrown and dodged behind – then silent. They wait and wait, nothing happens, and the rebels get up and leave. If it wasn’t obvious until then, it confirms Hui’s sultry, quiet take on World War II, a setting and genre of film that is typically characterized by noise and over-the-top heroism. The film, like its characters – civilians turned spies who must behave as if nothing had happened – exudes delicacy. The two most common words in the movie, “Xiao Xin” – which translates to “Be careful!” – become a formality, repeated endlessly in a low voice. – Jason O. (Full Review)

Where to stream: OVID.tv

Macbeth’s Tragedy (Joel Coen)

Joel Coen’s take on the Scottish play takes place almost entirely on sets – steeply angled, streaked with shadows and flashes of light. It’s an approach that marries the immediacy of theater with the narrative dynamics of cinema. More Dreyer than Bergman, more Welles than Olivier, this is the sharpest Shakespeare adaptation in years, a precipitous descent into madness with stunning performances from Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and Kathryn Hunter. Bruno Delbonnel’s richly layered black-and-white cinematography blends beautifully with Stefan Dechant’s sharp production design. – Daniel E

Where to stream: AppleTV+

The whaler boy (Philip Yuriev)

To strip a quote from The social network, it’s probably better to be accused of necrophilia these days than to be accused of whaling. Less in the world of the whaler boy– a new Russian film set tantalizingly in the farthest reaches of this vast nation – in which a young boy struggles with hormones and the annoyances of rural life while casting wistful glances towards the West (which is, in this case, just 50 miles to the east). The subject of his desires is an American Camgirl with the handle HollySweet999. Oh, to be young and feel the sting of love. – RoryO. (Full Review)

Where to stream: VOD and Virtual cinemas

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Ryuusuke Hamaguchi)

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s first masterpiece of the year, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, is an infinitely playful and inventive triptych. Exploring the thorns of love, sparks of connection and mistaken identities across three stunning vignettes, Hamaguchi’s skill at crafting dialogue that is as entertaining as it is moving has never been so sharp. Every day my favorite of the three shorts changes, but there’s certainly no funnier or more surprising sequence in theaters this year than Revenge Gone Wrong between Nao (Mori Katsuki) and Professor Segawa (Shibukawa Kiyohiko) . – Jordan R

Where to stream: VOD

Also new to streaming

Amazon Prime

Towards the Wonder

HBO Max

In the heat of the Night

The criterion channel

karaoke girl

MUBI (free for 30 days)

The happiest girl in the world
Jabberwocky
The beginnings
A woman like Eve
The cold lakes of death
Black sequence

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