Into Film Clubs
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Due to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 situation around the world, cinema and home release schedules for film are greatly in flux, as many cinemas are closed for safety reasons, and release dates are being pushed back across the board. To help during this uncertain time, we'll be bringing you our picks for the best films to watch either on free-to-air television, free streaming services, and subscription services, as well as any films that do gain a cinema release during this period.
This page will be updated each week, so please bookmark it and keep checking back to stay up to date with the most educationally valuable - and entertaining - films that young people can watch while at home.
Where possible, for each film we recommend, we'll also be providing any resources, behind-the-scenes videos, or other content relevant to the title to help you discuss the film afterwards, provide links to the curriculum, and ensure young people get the most out of their viewing experience. You will need to sign up for a free account to download our resources.
The below films are airing on free-to-air channels that the majority of people will have access to. These films have been selected for their educational value as well as their power to captivate and entertain.
Saturday 22 August @ 16:30 on BBC1
Great for all ages, this inventive computer-animated comedy imagines what would happen if arcade game characters had lives of their own, hopping through different machines after dark. Ralph is tired of being the villain in a game where all he does is destroy things, and so sets out to change his reputation. However, Ralph's mission has terrible repercussions, when he accidentally unleashes something that threatens every video game in the arcade.
Saturday 22 August @ 14:20 on Film4
Adapted from a bestselling novel, this charming and inspiring film has an anti-bullying message and demonstrates the importance of kindness and learning to see the world through other people's eyes. Auggie has been born with genetic facial differences that have prevented him from attending a mainstream school. Embarrassed, he wears an astronaut's helmet on his head in public, but when he starts school he begins to realise that he is no different to anybody else.
Sunday 23 August @ 18:00 on ITV1
This adaptation of the hit West End Musical takes you on a holiday to the Greek islands filled with the catchy songs of Swedish 1970s pop group ABBA. When a young woman is about to be married, she wants to finally find out which of the three men her mother dated 20 years before is her father.
Tuesday 25 August @ 11:25am on Film4
This comedic stop-motion animated fable takes place among an underground community of trash collectors, where a young human boy grew up raised by a family of trolls. When the town above's wealthy leader threatens to exterminate the boxtrolls, young Eggs must venture above ground for the first time to save his family and friends.
A film guide that looks at The Boxtrolls (2014), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
In cinemas from Friday 14 August
Milla is an Australian teenager with some serious health issues, who is distant and disengaged from her parents and drifting through what might be a very short life. However, one sunny summer day at a train station, she strikes up a conversation with a free-spirited older boy named Moses who, despite his troubled existence, provides her life with a newfound energy. Milla's parents, however, do not seem so keen on Moses and must navigate their own feelings of anxiety and grief as well as attempting to do what is best for their daughter. This highly original take on the young adult drama is wildly funny and visually inspiring whilst never looking down on its myriad of complicated characters.
In cinemas from Friday 14 August
This new live-action Italian version of the much-adapted Pinocchio story begins in a familiar manner, with a lonely woodcarver named Geppetto who builds a living boy out of a magical piece of wood. Things get mightily strange from this point onward as the newly-named Pinocchio gets a taste for exploring the world around him, suddenly setting off in search of friends and adventure. With giant sea creatures, talking snails, fairies and two dastardly robbers named Fox and Cat, this highly fantastical Pinocchio has more in common with the original folk tale that inspired it, exploring concepts of what it means to be human whilst containing some incredible special effects sequences.
In cinemas from Friday 7 August
Fashion has always played a part in social politics the world over, being utilised as a way to showcase both liberation and oppression at varying moments in history. The story of Papicha is set during 1997 in the African country of Algeria, a time when women were still looked down upon, and follows Nedjma, a young woman who harbours a passion to put on a fashion show despite all of the obstacles in her way. Both a history lesson and a truly engaging tale of resistance and optimism, Papicha aims to reconstruct a fresh, vital and stylish period of history.
In cinemas from Friday 7 August
A film touted as being in the classic vein of British social-realism as Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold, this gritty but soulful story takes place just outside Brighton and follows Leigh, a 14-year-old gymnast with a thirst for success, despite her poor upbringing and the recent death of her mother. When Leigh comes home one night to find she has a half-brother that will be staying with her, her life suddenly takes a wild and surprising turn. From a first time Scottish director Eva Riley, Perfect 10 is a reminder of how family effects the way we see ourselves and a distinctive slice of working-class Britain in the modern age.
In cinemas from Friday 31 July
Women-led science fiction has been in short supply over the history of cinema, so this new heady space-station-set drama from France, directed by Alice Winocour, is very much welcomed. Eva Green stars as Sarah, an astronaut preparing to be jettisoned into space for a one-year stay on the International Space Station, who must come to terms with sacrificing her motherhood and relationships for the greater good. With much of the film being shot on authentic astronaut training facilities, Proxima promises to be an engaging look at the complex careers of those who choose to visit space.
In cinemas from Friday 31 July
This romantic war film explores the difficulties faced by those who stayed at home during World War II and how they navigated their new, unexpected world. Gemma Arterton stars as Alice, a writer who rediscovers her zest for life when Frank, an adolescent evacuee from London, is placed in her care. This leads her to reminisce on memories of her lost love Vera, with whom she had a brief but feverish affair years before. Nostalgic without being sentimental, there are plenty of historical and social lessons to be learned from this homegrown drama starring a mix of some of Britain's most recognisable and rising talent.
The following films are available to watch for free on various streaming platforms, in order of which will expire first. These films are all accessible to watch online at no cost, provided you have a TV licence.
The much-loved duo make their feature film debut in this hugely entertaining tale from Aardman Animations. In preparation for the annual Giant Vegetable Fete, Wallace and Gromit are on high alert for any hungry bunnies planning to harm their crops. Everything seems under control until the appearance of the dreaded Were-Rabbit. Will Wallace's inventions and Gromit's good sense save the day?
This animated adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel sees a group of animals joining together to remove a mean and neglectful farm owner from his land. The animals' peaceful life and new-found freedom does not last long, though, when the pigs - in particular a boar named Napoleon - begin to create new laws and hierarchies. This is an accessible introduction to a classic historical and political allegory that can be enjoyed and discussed with young people of all ages.
This screen adaptation brings to live action Roald Dahl's heartfelt story about a young girl's friendship with a 24-foot giant. Although terrified at first, when 10-year-old Sophie is whisked away to Giant Country she realises he's not so scary. However, even bigger foes are out to get her, and Sophie and the giant must hatch a plan to get rid of the other giants forever.
The following films are educationally noteworthy new additions to subscription streaming services. While some streaming platforms require a paid subscription, or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of.
Note: The information about films on streaming services is aimed at people at home only, and not for any film clubs still running in schools. Licencing conditions do not permit the access of streaming platforms from a school setting.
Spike Lee, arguably the world's most prominent African-American director, returned to the mainstream with this provocative yet gloriously entertaining period piece that goes back in time to the early 1970s to uncover some of the racial issues still facing America today. Based on a true story, John David Washington (son of Denzel) stars as the first Black detective to serve on the Colorado Springs police force, where he immediately takes on a seemingly impossible and dangerous task - to infiltrate and bring down the racist terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan.
Computer screens have become an even bigger aspect of so many of our lives lately, and Searching gives us the opportunity to remind ourselves just how deeply intertwined we are with the technology surrounds us. The film follows single father David, played by John Cho, who is forced to hack into his daughter's laptop and delve into her online life when he discovers that she has gone missing. Full of surprising twists and turns, Searching is a unique film within the ‘screenlife' genre; one that's bound to grab your attention.
A collection of our curriculum-linked film guides, each featuring engaging extension activities that young people aged 5-16+ can do at home without supervision.
Reading time 4 mins
See the winning films from our Nature in your Neighbourhood competition, which has created a unique time-capsule of young people's lockdown experiences.
Viewing time 10 mins
As the BFI continues its Japan season with a new collection of five titles released on BFI Player, we take a look at the unique world of Japanese animation.
Reading time 9 mins
Viewing 4 of 4 related items.