Watch IN BED: Films for Hibernation

Words by Jessica Ellicott

In these cabin feverish times where we’re holed up at home, movies offer a way for us to travel. They allow us to venture into distant worlds, introduce us to new people, make us think differently about our surroundings and entertain us when we need it most. Here are a list of five cinematic gems that are readily available to stream, to make yourself feel part of the world rather than distanced from it.

In these cabin feverish times where we’re holed up at home, movies offer a way for us to travel.

Atlantics (Mati Diop, 2019)

Every now and then a film comes along that is so fresh, vibrant and bracingly original that it makes you sit up and take notice. Atlantics was that film for me last year. The Cannes Grand Prix-winning debut feature from Mati Diop, it’s a supernatural love story set in the Senegalese coastside capital of Dakar. It centres around the love between a young woman, Ada, and her construction worker boyfriend Souleiman, who is tragically lost at sea after setting off in search of a better life in Spain. Pulsing with imagination and ideas, Atlantics manages to be both haunting and otherworldly as well as visceral and contemporary.

Available on Netflix.

Somewhere (Sofia Coppola, 2010)

Who doesn’t want to self-isolate at the Chateau Marmont? This criminally overlooked gem from Sofia Coppola is a classic of the loner genre, starring Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco, a tousle-haired, burnt-out Hollywood star who’s holed up in the famous hotel while recovering from a broken arm. Battling an existential crisis and beset by boredom, salvation comes in the form of an unexpected visit from his daughter (a very fresh-faced Elle Fanning). It’s a heartwarming ode to a father-daughter bond, and an expert study in LA ennui.

Available on Prime Video.

She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)

A 1986 film that feels like it could have been shot yesterday, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It is the cinematic equivalent of hanging out with your best friend, the perfect balm for these socially distanced times. The film’s heroine Nola Darling is a straight-talking, sex-positive woman navigating the NYC dating scene. Told largely in direct camera address, she confides to the audience as she sorts the duds from the dreamboats in this frank, funny slice of life bursting with the unique energy of 1980s New York.

Available on Netflix.

Strange Colours (Alena Lodkina, 2017)

While we’re in this odd cultural moment without access to the film festivals that normally shine a light on new voices in Australian film, it’s a good time to catch up on some discoveries of recent years. Strange Colours is one of the best of the bunch. Alena Lodkina’s beautifully nuanced debut feature tracks Milena (Kate Cheel) as she arrives in the remote opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge to visit her hospital-bound dad. She learns to adapt to the town’s sleepy rhythms and befriends the blokey locals, who welcome her into their routine of sinking schooners, swapping tales and digging up the elusive black opals that lie beneath.

Available on SBS On Demand.

City of Gold (Laura Gabbert, 2015)

A virtual tour through the taco trucks, Korean tofu houses and spicy Sichuan noodle joints of Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of the late, great food critic Jonathan Gold, City of Gold is the next best thing to boarding a plane to California. It’s a loving portrait of the city’s diverse and sprawling culinary culture as well as a fascinating look behind the curtain of a writer’s process: in all its painful procrastination and deadline-evasion. One of the best food documentaries out there, it’s best not attempted on an empty stomach.

Available on DocPlay