Discover four highlights from Raindance 2020, all of which are available to watch online for free in the UK. Read more Raindance coverage.
The Raindance Film Festival — usually based in London, this year based online across the UK — is an annual showcase for low-profile independent films. There’s typically only a handful of titles in the large lineup that I recognise, which makes the event an exciting opportunity to discover under-the-radar films. This year more than ever, I’d implore UK residents to make a virtual visit to Raindance, especially since a lot of these films might not go on to get distribution. Plus, you can watch every feature and short in the programme for free, with the option to donate £5.
Here are three features and one short that have stuck with me after sampling a small selection of the programme. Many titles are available for the entire duration of the festival (Oct 28th – Nov 7th) and some are only available on select dates and times.
Survival Skills (Quinn Armstrong)
Quinn Armstrong’s directorial debut, Survival Skills, expertly balances hilarious satire and sensitive social commentary — a dangerous tightrope walk that might have come across as insulting in less capable hands. The film follows Jim (Vayu O’Donnell), a perky and well-intentioned new police officer as he gets a little too involved with a domestic violence case. The twist? The entire film is made as if it were an ‘80s police training video on VHS. This spoof works amazingly well as a commentary on how institutional corruption is caused by the way police are trained and conditioned, rather than who the individuals are. Armstrong treats domestic violence with the weight and seriousness it deserves, even as that plotline is couched in an extremely goofy premise.
Our interview with Quinn Armstrong will be on the site soon.
The Dilemma of Desire (Maria Finitzo)
The work of artist Sophia Wallace is the jumping off point for The Dilemma of Desire, a documentary about how patriarchy has shaped women’s relationship to sexual desire. Wallace’s work revolves around the idea of ‘Cliteracy’, aka increasing awareness around scientific and cultural facts about the clitoris; one biologist in the film admits it wasn’t until recently that she knew what a clitoris even looked like. The film uses Wallace’s work as a jumping off point to talk to several women about their relationship to desire and their bodies, from scientists, to sex toy designers, to strippers… continue reading our full review of The Dilemma of Desire
Now (Jim Rakete)
Thanks to Now, you don’t have to watch I Am Greta, which Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney’s review warns “falls into the same trap of lionizing [teenage climate activist] Greta [Thunberg] while ignoring the issues she cares about that the many other adults that Greta meets fall into.” Now also features Thunberg, along with many other young climate activists. While the film celebrates their inspiring commitment to the cause, director Jim Rakete always keeps his focus on the messages and information they’re trying to convey… continue reading our full review of Now
No More Wings (Abraham Adeyemi)
Abraham Adeyemi’s short film No More Wings should be a sensitive and moving experience for most viewers, but it’ll particularly excite South Londoners who have ever eaten at the chicken shop Morley’s (AKA most South Londoners). The film is set entirely in Morley’s as two adult friends meet up for some wings before one of them moves away; occasionally, we flash back to the two as teenagers. The setting is indicative of the film’s deeply rooted sense of place: Adeyemi clearly knows the haunts of South London, and his affection for them is felt in how he shoots the chicken shop in rich, warm colours. It’s a melancholy snapshot of a friendship that has drifted apart over time, and how that friendship is so inextricably linked to the place that these two men call home.