Desperate for new stories to get lost in? Jenny, our in-house writer, lists what she’s been watching and recommending to friends.
One of the plus sides to staying at home more is getting to catch up on great TV shows and epic films. We’ve been rewatching our all time favourites, getting recommendations from friends, and building our watch lists. To help you do the same, we’re listing what we’re watching right now, along with our all-time-favourites, inspired by les girls les boys.
24 Hour Party People (2002) – directed by Michael Winterbottom
Ah, man – this film! I’m a northerner, and huge fan of the music that came out of Manchester’s legendary music scene from 1976 to 1992, so this speaks to me a ton. It crystallises the music and nightlife, as well as the golden and bygone age of ITV Granada northern TV and its cheesy Alan Partridge-like segments. Steve Coogan as the inimitable “postmodern” Tony Wilson is genius, funny, nostalgic, and sure to make you feel good. Tony Wilson lived and breathed culture and artistic freedom, at all costs – from him signing record contracts in his own blood, to letting ravers raid the Hacienda offices on its closing night. Manchester’s modern identity wouldn’t have been possible without him, and the artists he championed along the way (Peter Saville, the legendary designer of the Factory Record promo posters, went onto become the Creative Director of the City of Manchester).
The film features the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and maps the birth of rave culture at the Hacienda under the drug-fuelled reign of the Happy Mondays. Tony genuinely always respects them as artists and poets, despite them leading Factory Records into bankruptcy and threatening him with a gun.
I’ve got to pair this film with the Happier Times t-shirt and the tight shorts in paradise green, a nod to the rave culture and upbeat not-going-to-give-up-culture-will-prevail energy of the whole film which we can all do with a dose of in 2020.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) – directed by Liz Garbus
I’ve always loved Nina Simone’s music, but understanding her life, where she came from, and the struggles she had to fight as a black female artist, activist, thinker and revolutionary should be required watching for absolutely everyone. You generate so much strength and resilience just from watching her. It features special off-piste performances, interviews, insights into her life from loved ones, and touches upon her mental illness. Her story is married to the ongoing civil rights movement in America and around the world.
There’s one special performance of ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ where Nina freestyles the ending (see here). She’s possessed by the music, and the way her body moves… It’s a potent and very special moment.
To learn about a woman this strong, this fearless, flowing with creative energy, and who truly knew herself, is an endless source of inspiration.
I’m going to pair this documentary with the tiger print underwear set that’s jazzy, bold, and proud – just like Nina.
Laurence Anyways (2012) – directed by Xavier Dolan
Set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this French-speaking film follows the journey of a 35-year old man named Laurence, a teacher and intellectual specialising in Proust thinking, who decides one day to unapologetically become who he really is: a woman.
Laurence’s partner continues to love, support, defend, and champion him despite the pain, confusion, worry and situation it ultimately ends in for her. She believes in being true to who you are, no matter how ‘different’ that may seem to others. The relationship Laurence has with her, and eventually the one he builds with his mother, speaks to the essence of love, fluid relationships, and the freedom to choose our own identity. Seeing them learn and grow throughout the course of the story, and fight against conventional attitudes and stigmas, is such a humbling experience. The film is poetic, raw, intelligent, and flaunts a powdery and punkish 80s French Canadian style I just adore, from one of the best directors of our generation. Seriously, check out his other films.
I’m pairing Laurence Anyways with the metallic bikini set in aqua. Laurence and his partner would approve, and share it, for sure.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out what we’re watching – volume four.