Streaming through the Coronavirus quarantine

Like most of us, I was recently informed that all my obligations, appointments and deadlines are postponed indefinitely. Just as I was preparing for an exam that was supposed to occur on Friday via conference call with other students and tutors, the news came in that all exams are now cancelled after all. Immediately, all attendees of the call shifted the attention to what’s on Netflix and the like to survive the coming days.

This was so much fun, I thought I would share some hidden gems from the streaming world. If you are looking for some new tips or simply have run out of options, here are a few more obscure tips for entertainment streaming on German providers theses days. All, of course, with original audio track and optional subtitles to recreate your cancelled OmU screenings.

Porco Rosso – Netflix

Netflix recently landed a major coup in securing the German streaming rights for nearly all of the Studio Ghibli catalogue. Among the extremely high quality range of films are modern classics like Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away. But my favorite of the prolific, hand-drawn animation studio’s oeuvre is this World War I fighter pilot turned swine’s journey through post-war fascist Italy. The premise might sound like complete insanity. However, director Hayao Miyazaki manages to fill this outrageous character with so much heart and so many emotions.

Not only because he projects his own obsession with aviation and post-WWI era Italy onto the red pig pilot. Porco’s interior life and his struggle to accept the things he has done could have also fit a very sober and mature drama setting. Yet, precisely because of the film’s rambunctious and colourful approach to its heavy themes does it work so well in conveying them to all audiences. It’s also just an extremely entertaining film with jaw-dropping action sequences in the air.

Available in the original Japanese, German and English dub with various subtitles

The Sisters Brothers – Amazon Prime Video

Only barely falling off our top 10 list for 2019, this thoroughly original take on the Western genre by Un prophète director Jacques Audiard is anchored by two great performances playing the eponymous Brothers of the film. The now ubiquitous Joaquin Phoenix plays the more cruel and egotistical brother Charlie Sisters to John C. Reilly’s sweetly naive but all the more deadly Eli Sisters.

Audiard’s vision of the Old West is at times hilarious and at times gut-wrenchingly sad, but always extremely dirty and unforgiving. If you are looking for a unique experience in a familiar genre, this is the film for you. However, if you are squeamish or have no love for the Western in the first place, you might skip this more challenging watch.

Available in German and English with German subtitles

The Iron Giant – Netflix

A true classic from the visionary director of later Pixar greats like Ratatouille and The Incredibles, The Iron Giant sparked the imagination of many children growing up during the turn of the century. Incredible visuals, a simple but ethically and socially relevant story, and lots of fun for all ages thanks to great writing and direction. Now you can experience the timeless metallic colossus with a heart of gold and his friendship to 9-year-old Hogarth Hughes. Streaming it with the new generation of children or an older one who’s never heard of it will be a delight, I promise.

Available in German and English with various subtitles

The Florida Project – MUBI

MUBI is a special streaming service that only offers 30 curated films on any given day. Each film is available for 30 days. Every day, a new film is added to replace the last. Not only do the folks over at MUBI really know their movies, the concept also encourages you to catch films you might otherwise miss. So I would recommend using this time to check out the service and its many great offerings.

Within this structure of content delivery, The Florida Project is still available for 15 days at the time this article is published. It is a fascinating, joyous and eye-opening look into the marginalized and ignored population around Disneyland Florida. The protagonist and her child live in a ramshackle motel intended for visitors looking to save a few bucks by staying outside the Disney complex.

However, most tenants are actually locals, living there from day to day just to survive through each week. Within this rather depressing environment, director Sean Baker manages to prevent his inside look from becoming exploitative by really emphasizing the humanity of all of his characters. Shining among them is an atypically jovial Willem Dafoe who plays the janitor of the motel, swapping his Green Goblin menace for a favorite uncle-type persona.

Available in German and English with various subtitles

That’s our first few picks to tide you over. I hope you enjoy the films and let me know on our social media, what other recommendations and formats you would like to read about in the coming weeks of social distance.

Heiner Uebbing originally hails from rural Lower Saxony and is based in Leipzig. His passion for film dates back to his teenage years, when he started attending film festivals, writing and corresponding about his experiences. You can probably spot him in one of Leipzig’s OmU/OV screenings in the front rows.

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