With Clio Barnard’s new film Dark River now making the festival rounds, catch up on the British director’s previous features, both set in the industrial West Yorkshire city of Bradford. Now streaming on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, this week’s Friday Night Double Feature kicks off with Barnard’s conceptually audacious documentary The Arbor (2010), which investigates the brief, tragic life of playwright Andrea Dunbar through a cast of actors lip-synching to audio interviews with Dunbar’s family members. The film is followed by Barnard’s first purely narrative work, the Oscar Wilde–inspired The Selfish Giant (2013), in which two working-class teenagers become friends as they try to earn money by collecting scrap metal.
Also up this week: two pitch-black, death-themed comedies and a Criterion Channel original documentary about New York–based filmmaking duo Josh and Benny Safdie.
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: The Extraordinary Life of Rocky and Harold and Maude
In these two comedies, glimmers of macabre humor emerge amid the specter of death: Belgian director Kevin Meul’s award-winning 2010 short The Extraordinary Life of Rockyfollows the story of a young boy whose very presence seems to lead his loved ones to die in freak accidents, while Hal Ashby’s 1971 Harold and Maude observes the unlikely romantic relationship between a suicidal twentysomething and an eccentric elderly widow.
Meet the Filmmakers: Josh and Benny Safdie
The Channel-exclusive series Meet the Filmmakers invites exciting artists to turn the camera on directors who intrigue them, capturing their creative process through genuine, personal encounters, not filmographies or biographies. This latest entry goes behind the scenes with Josh and Benny Safdie, brothers who have made their name with a number of singularly chaotic features set in their native New York. In addition to candid footage from the set of their new thriller Good Time, director Michael Chaiken offers an intimate immersion in the Safdies’ world, where family life and filmmaking flow together inseparably. Alongside the fifty-five-minute documentary, we’re presenting a sampling of the duo’s key films, including The Pleasure of Being Robbed (2008), Daddy Longlegs (2009), their basketball documentary Lenny Cooke (2013), and four of their shorts. Check out a preview of the episode here.