Filmatorium No. 1

June: Black Lives Matter and Summer Heat – movies to watch

Haileigh Steffen


5 movies to support the Black Lives Matter movement. 


1 | I Am Not Your Negro (2016) – Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary following the words of American writer James Baldwin narrated by Samual L. Jackson. The film documents Baldwin’s thoughts on racial and social issues. Amazon Prime

2 | The Watermelon Woman (1996) In response to George Floyd’s death and the following protests, the Criterion Channel has lifted their paywall for their curated collection of BLM films.  Criterion Channel (free)

3 | 13th (2016) – The title stands for the 13th Amendment and explores the racial injustice faced by recently freed slaves and the modern impact it has on the “land of the free.” The film includes heartbreaking archived footage, stunning interviews, and powerful music. This critically acclaimed documentary isn’t Ava DuVernay’s only investigative masterpiece; she is the brains behind When They See Us (2019) and the historical drama Selma (2014). Netflix

4 | Do The Right Thing (1989) – On one sweltering New York City day, the only thing more heated are the racial tensions in a predominantly Black community. Spike Lee’s debut feature film She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Academy nominated documentary 4 Little Girls (1997) and recent true-crime drama BlacKkKlansman (2018) features critical messages and social commentary that is common for Lee’s work. Rent

5 | If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) – A nonlinear romantic drama set mostly in New York City during the 70s based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. This is Barry Jenkins’s third directorial feature following Moonlight (2016) and Medicine for Melancholy (2008). Hulu


3 movies to kick off the summer heat. 


It’s Gay Pride Month. Yes, the Iowa City parade was canceled. Yes, we’re amid a pandemic. Yes, racial inequalities are at the forefront of our media. But it’s Gay Pride Month. That being said, check out: 

 1 | And Then We Danced (2019) – A contemporary piece of film following two dancers training at the National Georgian Ensemble while they strike up a forbidden, soft romance. Fun fact: screenings of the Georgian film were threatened by ultra-conservative protests and boycotts. If you’re searching for documentary-style narrative, Circus of Books (2019), Paris is Burning (1990) or How to Survive a Plague (2012) will open up the doors to powerful LGBTQ+ stories. 

2 | The Graduate (1967) – If you’re looking for an appreciated summer classic, look no further than Mike Nichols’ coming-of-age story. Thirsty for more film cinema? Summertime (1955), Grease (1978), and Jaws (1975) are classic fan favorites and will reliably do the trick. Hulu, Youtube 

3 | The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014) – This sports documentary spins the tale of actor Bing Russell’s creation of an independent baseball team of neglected players. Finished and want more baseball stories? The Sandlot (1993), The Natural (1984) and A League of Their Own (1992) might convince you to try out the sport! Netflix


2 movie quotes with no particular meaning. 


You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” 

-Aibileen in The Help (2011)


“Anyone can cook aloo gobi, but who can bend a ball like Beckham?”

-Jesminder Nagra in Bend it like Beckham (2002)