Will 2020 Change the Ways We Watch Films?

While the future of the coronavirus pandemic remains uncertain, one thing we can say for sure. Many movies that were already supposed to be released had their premiere postponed, like 007 No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984. In the meanwhile, other films like Just Mercy, Capone, Never Rarely Sometimes Aways, The Gentleman, and many others have been released directly online, making us ask ourselves: will 2020 change the ways we watch movies?

It’s impossible to predict what kind of world we’ll live in after all this craziness is over, but it’s very likely that the experience we watch films will change a little. The Cannes Film Festival, for example, is currently studying the outcome for its upcoming edition which currently remains on hold. There has been some talk about presenting the festival in an online platform, which goes everything the festival stood for on previous editions by banning Netflix titles from the official selection. I personally think is a great idea but it also raises concerns when it comes to selling and distributing the titles from its line-up to countries around the world. But how long will it take for us to safely return to movie theaters?

Christopher Nolan has been commenting that he wishes his upcoming movie Tenet to be one of the first movies that greet people back to cinemas as the film is scheduled to come out on July 17, just as Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch should be released on July 24. It’s very unclear, however, if movie theaters will actually open its doors and if they do will people actually go? I personally would be glad to risk my life for watching these films on a movie theater without a delay, but won’t the box office be catastrophic?

Like I said before, releases of small and independent movies have already been released directly on streaming platforms, resulting in a study of how these titles react when being thrown directly online. After all, people have never been binge-watching so many things as they are doing right now, resulting in Netflix having to reduce the image quality to support all their demand. So wouldn’t it be great to watch all of 2020 films in the safety of our homes instead of risking our lives on movie theaters and waiting for a year to watch all the movies we have been waiting for?

There isn’t a better moment as right now to study the impact of the releases of new movies online. Yes, we have Netflix that has three or four titles at the end of the year that gets some Oscar buzz, but imagine having an entire year of amazing films coming out every week! Of course, I would prefer watching them on a big screen like I always have, but times are uncertain and we’re witnessing all these major titles being postponed, not knowing when we’ll watch them. Not mentioning the people who made them aren’t making any money either.

I look at these things and wonder all the movies that should be coming out at Cannes and Venice, all the movies that are currently on post-production that would probably be on the Oscar race and think that 2020 will probably be a very weak year for films and 2021 a very good one. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. In fact, I’ve decided to gather some incredible titles that already had an online release and some others that are still in consideration that you should definitely be paying attention to.

Calm With Horses (2019) by Nick Howland

Being one of my favorite post-COVID online releases, Calm With Horses is an outstanding debut by Nick Howland with the same power and energy of movies like Bullhead and Good Time. Telling the story of an ex-boxer who works for a family of gangsters in rural Ireland, the film follows the struggle of a man who many problems who is trying to do the right thing. With an impressive performance by Cosmo Jarvis, Calm With Horses is definitely a film you should watch during the quarantine.

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Possessor (2020) by Brandon Cronenberg

From the son of the one and only David Cronenberg, this incredible and surrealistic sci-fi hasn’t officially been out, but it’s already available on some places of the internet. The film tells the story of a female agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies and carry out assassinations for high-paying clients. However, everything starts going wrong when the agent starts to question her own identity while inhabiting another’s person body.

The Lodge (2019) by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiara

A movie that I absolutely loved is this twisted and dark horror-thriller The Lodge, which tells the story of two children who have recently lost their mom and go to spend Christmas in a cabin with their new step-mom. The kids, however, don’t trust the step-mom, who beyond blaming her for their’s mom suicide, has also a dark history involving a religious cult when she was a kid. As the night approaches and snow starts to fall, the film unfolds in unpredictable and interesting ways, resulting in one of my favorites during this quarantine season.

Swallow (2019) by Carlo Mirabella-Davis

I first watched this film at the São Paulo International Film Festival and I’m glad people are starting to talk about it. Telling the story of a woman with a perfect life who starts swallowing random objects after she gets pregnant, Swallow is a strange and disturbing tale that uses fairy tale elements to explore hidden traumas and patriarchal household abuse in a marriage. With an amazing performance by Haley Bennet, Swallow is one of the best films of 2019 that no one has seen yet.

Saint Maud (2019) by Rose Glass

A movie that has been caught up in the Coronavirus impasse, Saint Maud tells the story of a nurse who believes she has been possessed by a demon when she becomes infatuated with her former patient. Released at the Toronto Film Festival last year, the movie was bought by A24 and scheduled to be released in April, until it was postponed again to March. The movie haven’t been released yet and I believe it should come out anytime on streaming platforms.

County Lines (2019) by Henri Blake

Another movie that I have been dying to watch but we don’t know its fate – except with the fact that it’s been postponed but we hope it will come out digitally – is County Line. The movie has received great reviews and tells the story of a 14-year-old boy who enters a drug-selling enterprise that exploits vulnerable children and traffics them across Britain.