June On-Demand Offerings

Lots to choose from in VOD land these days

“Tuesday From 8 to 6” part of the New French Shorts collection

With theaters still closed, there are still lots of opportunities to see new or rediscovered film. When that supports a local cinema, that’s even better.


Watch on Vimeo, supporting Austin Film Society

As part of the Austin Film Society’s The Lone Star Slate initiative, Petting Zoo is a Texas movie through and though. Like others on this new on-demand streaming platform, it was supported by AFS during its creation. Shot in San Antonio, Petting Zoo depicts the struggles of Layla (Devon Keller) as she deals with dysfunctional family, pregnancy, and finishing high school. This 2015 SXSW favorite features raw performances, a lo-fi aesthetic, and all the strip malls you could shake a stick at. Fans of Texas film need to experience this one.


Watch on Vimeo

Last fall at the Austin Film Festival, I had chance to meet and chat with Melora Walters about her film Drowning, which she directed and starred in. Now, her first directorial feature, Waterlily Jaguar, is widely available. Starring James Le Gros and Mira Sorvino, it tells the tale of novelist who goes right to the edge, emotionally and physically, in search of his next great work. Walters is a visual artist outside of cinema (check out her Instagram), so it’s no surprise that paintings feature prominently in both of her movies, along with the lifestyles of the well to do in Southern California. Paul Thomas Anderson, her director on Magnolia, executive produces, and fans of Friday Night Lights will enjoy the supporting work of Stacey Oristano.


Watch on Kino Marquee, supporting Austin Film Society

“The Glorious Acceptance Speech of Nicolas Chauvin”

Shorts are usually the province of film festivals, so to get a fantastic collection available and marketed to the general public is good news. This set has supreme exemplars of the form. We’d usually have had the New French Cinema Week at AFS Cinema, but this will have to serve in its stead.

“Ahmed’s Song” shows two working-class immigrants both clash and cohese in an unusual setting, working at a public bathhouse. “Tuesday from 8 to 6” takes place in a middle school and conveys that it is indeed universal that this period of schooling sucks. It’s possible the best of the group is the bonus, “The Glorious Acceptance Speech of Nicolas Chauvin.” A cross between stand-up comedy, sincere oration, and exaggerated historicity, this short film is one great big inside joke of French culture. Outsiders will no doubt be amused, as well.


Watch on Kino Marquee, supporting Violet Crown Cinema

Many might know Richard Farnsworth from 1999’s The Straight Story, but in 1982 he was a part of a classic of Canadian cinema with The Grey Fox. This story of a 19th Century stagecoach stickup man turned 20th Century train robber is both beautiful and superbly acted. The background of rugged Pacific Northwest landscape gels with Farnsworth’s gritty kindness. It is a story of aging, consequences, and the stickiness of identity.


Watch on Vimeo, supporting Austin Film Society

I hate to say this about a VOD release, but boy this would have been great to see on a big screen. Still, this beautiful example of cinema verité set in the Mississippi delta is one not to miss. Gorgeous wide-angle shots of scenes from around Rosedale are interspersed with thick slices of life in the Deep South. This is not contentious fare, though racial disparities are always just under the surface. This is “real folk” living real lives with a distinct lack of desperation. Part of AFS’s Lone Star Slate.

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