The journey of Watch From Home has reached the letter 'J' this weekend. The picks for this edition have everything from justice to joie de vivre, jugglery to jargon, and jokes to journals.
Admittedly, alliteration is not the best way to advertise films that are diverse in form and content. But, whatever catches the eye!
While Pakistan resolves its constitutional crisis and the world figures out a way to deal with the Russia-Ukraine war, here is a bunch of films that can help take one's mind off the macro events to focus on what's around and within oneself.
Escapism? Perhaps. Effective? Certainly.
Jim & Andy (2017)
Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman. One legendary comic playing another and talking about the entire process of transformation. What other reason do you want to watch this gem of a documentary? Will the full name of the documentary convince you?
Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton.
Carrey let himself be filmed during the shooting of Man on the Moon where he played Kaufman. Chris Smith used 100 hours of footage from the sets for this documentary where Carrey reveals how he lost himself and became Kaufman for a while.
The documentary also revisits Kaufman's life who died from lung cancer in 1984. He shot to fame after playing a mechanic called Latka Gravas in the sitcom “Taxi”.
This documentary is a must-watch for all Jim Carrey fans—though the number has been diminishing ever since his award-night-sexual-assault video resurfaced in the aftermath of the Will-Rock slap episode at the 2022 Oscars night.
The non-fans won't be disappointed either. Smith's documentary shows divergences and convergences in the lives of the two protagonists but the real story is about the art of cinema itself. Is it possible to keep any distance whatsoever between the reel and the real?
Where to Watch: Netflix
Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019)
Loneliness. Isolation. Hours and hours of staring at the screen.
What was once depression in the aftermath of a tragic event—or for no reason at all—became the new normal for the world in the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some of us have the ability to transform bleakness into art.
This 75-minute-long film is French filmmaker Frank Beauvais's onscreen catharsis. Dealing with his breakup, staying alone at a village in Alsace, Beauvais devoured films. And out of his screen time emerges this cinematic memoir that asks the basic question: is art an escape or expression?
Just Don't Think I'll Scream
Using snippets from the hundreds of films that he watched in a matter of nearly six months, Beauvais—aided by his editor Thomas Marchand—creates a unique vocabulary of his experience of healing after a heartbreak. His everyday experiences in a small town, hopes, despair, reveries, and dreams get expressed through a melange of existing cinematic works.
This collage of his mindscape is held together by an extremely powerful narration by Beauvais. The filmmaker in him looks upon his depressed self and finds inspiration. Yes, it is as narcissistic an enterprise as narcissism itself is. Still, it evokes empathy for the narrator-protagonist.
Where to Watch: Mubi
While this column is intended to showcase lesser known gems strewn across different OTT platforms, it does not discriminate against new releases. Hence, Jalsa.
The critics are already impressed, and the regular viewer entertained with this thriller. So, why wait for another weekend?
Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah are a delight to watch individually but when they come together, it's a performance powerhouse. Is mainstream Indian cinema in Hindi finally learning the lesson that it's ultimately the power of a story matched with performances that are enough to deliver a delight? But then, there's also an RRR.
The Quint has given a thumbs up to Jalsa, and you can, too.
Jai Bhim (2021)
The weekend watch list just before Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar's birth anniversary is complete without this pathbreaking film. Written and directed by Tha Se Gnanavel, Jai Bhim does not make any attempt to hide its politics.
Based on true events, the film doesn't hiccup depicting the brutality unleashed by police upon the marginalised sections of the society. If the scenes of custodial torture make you revolt in horror and disgust, how can tolerate the same atrocities going unchallenged in real life?
Again, a favourite with The Quint. Stream it this weekend to know how India's justice system is still the last resort for many a voiceless in the country, it just needs to find its ears to hear the call of the founding fathers.
Where to Watch: Amazon