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Culture Film

Quarantined by COVID-19? Here’s a List of Films to Help You Pass the Time

The hysteria surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be growing at a rate that’s unfathomable.

It’s hard to know what’s up, down, left, right, true or false.

It’s hard to bear witness to the circus of opinions swirling in the theatre of our digital devices, yet it’s also been a very interesting exercise in learning how to be present.

I am in no position what-so-ever to speak on the implications of this virus, and I’m the first to say I am not qualified to comment on, make assumptions or offer any advice on COVID-19.

But, I have been quietly taking it all in, and being present with it.

I am unsure what the future will bring, but the only words I will offer regarding this moment in time are from one of my favorite philosophers, Francis Bacon.

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.” – Francis Bacon

During times like this, the only certainty is uncertainty.

For those of you who are also taking it all in, self-quarantining, or actually do need to quarantine, I’ve decided to put together a list of films for your enjoyment to help pass the time, and to help make sense of the times we are in. And, yes. This is very irreverent. Lighten up, please.

Life imitates art, and the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. In any event, we mustn’t lose our logic, rationale, humor, hope or agency over self.

So, here’s a list of time-appropriate films to help you pass the time…

NOTE: For premium-viewing pleasure, we recommend going through the list of films in order

Baraka

Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes viewers around the globe to witness a variety of spectacles in both natural and technological realms. Detouring into former concentration camps, the production doesn’t shy away from the dark side of humanity, and ultimately shows how much of the world is interconnected by both the tragedy and the vibrancy of life.

Century of the Self

The Century of the Self is a 2002 British television documentary series by filmmaker Adam Curtis. It focuses on the work of psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, and PR consultant Edward Bernays.

Hypernormalisation

HyperNormalisation is a 2016 BBC documentary by British filmmaker Adam Curtis. It argues that governments, financiers, and technological utopians have, since the 1970s, given up on the complex “real world” and built a simpler “fake world” run by corporations and kept stable by politicians.

1984

George Orwell’s novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love. After The Atomic War the world is divided into three states. London is the capital of Oceania, ruled by a party who has total control over all its citizens. Winston Smith is one of the bureaucrats, rewriting history in one of the departments. One day he commits the crime of falling in love with Julia. They try to escape Big Brother’s listening and viewing devices, but, of course, nobody can really escape…

They Live

They Live is a 1988 American science-fiction action thriller film written and directed by John Carpenter, based on the 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, and starring Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster.

Outbreak

Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston’s nonfiction book The Hot Zone. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman, and co-stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland and Patrick Dempsey.

Dawn of the Dead

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

28 Days Later (and 28 Weeks Later)

28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Alex Garland, and starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, and Brendan Gleeson.

28 Weeks Later is a 2007 horror film directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who co-wrote it with Rowan Joffé, Enrique López-Lavigne, and Jesus Olmo. A sequel to the 2002 film 28 Days Later, it stars Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, and Idris Elba.

The Girl With All The Gifts

One of several children immune to a mutated fungal disease that has eradicated free will and turned the rest of humanity into cannibalistic zombies, a gifted young girl escapes the safety of a special school and helps guide mankind’s survival.

I Am Legend

Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other possible survivors, and works on finding a cure for the plague using his own immune blood.

The Maze Runner Series

Maze Runner is an American film trilogy consisting of science-fiction dystopian action adventure films based on The Maze Runner novels by the American author James Dashner

The Hunger Games Series

The Hunger Games consists of four science fiction dystopian adventure films based on The Hunger Games trilogy of novels, by the American author Suzanne Collins.

12 Monkeys

Traveling back in time isn’t simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James is recruited for a mission that will send him back to the 1990s. Once there, he’s supposed to gather information about a nascent plague that’s about to exterminate the vast majority of the world’s population.

Children of Men

When infertility threatens mankind with extinction and the last child born has perished, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the unlikely champion in the fight for the survival of Earth’s population; He must face down his own demons and protect the planet’s last remaining hope from danger.

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

Super-villain Thanos assembles six Infinity Stones to wipe out half of the world’s people in order to cure all of the ills of overpopulation in society.

Lord of the Flies

In this updated take on William Golding’s classic novel, a group of American military schoolboys become marooned on a remote island after a plane crash. 

Samsara

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Forrest Gump

Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field), he leads anything but a restricted life. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam or captaining a shrimp boat, Forrest inspires people with his childlike optimism. 

Get well soon, Tom Hanks!

PS: Don’t forget to wash your hands, everyone.

“Litany Against Fear” from Dune

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