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  • Noor Kabbani

The Broad’s Seasonal Recommendations: What to Watch this Autumn

Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq

The Broad’s Creative Editor, Noor Kabbani, has compiled a list of ten films and TV shows to keep you entertained throughout the autumnal season. Whether you’re in the mood for a spooky movie night, or maybe something a little cosier, you’ll find what you’re looking for on this list!

Film: Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society, Touchstone Pictures and Silver Screen Partners IV

At its core, Dead Poets Society explores the meaning of life and portrays the psychological rollercoaster that is yearning for passion and curiosity whilst living in a society built on conformity. The plot follows a class of schoolboys at Welton Academy who are being taught by an unconventional teacher, Professor Keating. Keating’s lessons resonate deeply with the boys and change their perspectives on life. After finding out that Keating was once a member of the now forbidden ‘Dead Poets Society’ during his time as a student at Welton, the boys restart the society, and we see the how their insightful discussions shape the decisions that they make throughout the film. Exploring adolescence, passion, and curiosity within the charm of an autumnal setting makes the film beautifully tragic and leaves the watcher questioning whether they too need to adopt Keating’s overarching lesson: Carpe Diem.

TV: Wednesday

Wednesday, Netflix

Last autumn saw the return of a popular spooky character, Wednesday Addams, to our screens. The Addams Family by Charles Addams was originally a series of comics published with the New Yorker between 1938 and 1988, and since then, has been adapted for stage and screen multiple times. This TV show takes the family’s infamous disposition for the macabre and focusses on Morticia and Gomez’s daughter, Wednesday. Wednesday has been sent to a school for supernaturally gifted children, named ‘outcasts’, after being expelled from her previous high school. The plot follows Wednesday and an eclectic group of students who are trying to solve a local murder mystery whilst navigating the dynamics of new friendships. Tim Burton’s familiar gothic colour palettes, paired with the ghostly storylines, make Wednesday the perfect autumn show in case you missed it last year, or just want to rewatch it!

Film: The Dreamers

The Dreamers, Searchlight Pictures, TF1 Group

The Dreamers follows the story of Matthew, an American student in Paris, who meets the passionate siblings Isabelle and Théo, and bonds with them over their deep love for cinema. Various references to the French New Wave cinema of Jean- Luc Godard and François Truffaut, amongst other filmmakers, intertwines with the film’s exploration of sexual liberty and the value of art in our everyday lives. The film is also set in the backdrop of the 1968 Paris students riots which adds a poignant and topical layer to this narrative. Philosophical and passionate conversations dominate the trio’s time spent together, which pairs nicely with autumn as the season of ‘dark academia’. Finally, as seen in the still, Bernardo Bertolucci employs autumnal colour schemes and moods through cinematography, making it a great watch for this enchanting season.

Film: October Sky

October Sky, Universal Pictures

Lewis Colick was inspired to write this screenplay about the story of Homer H. Hickam Jr, a schoolboy who decided to take up rocketry in a coal mining town after seeing the launching of Sputnik in 1957. Friendship and adolescence are central to the film’s narrative; Hickam Jr and his friends all respond differently to their ambitious endeavours, and we see how it changes the dynamics of their relationships. The rural setting of Coalwood, West Virginia, and the film’s themes of discovery, adventure, and possibility match perfectly with autumn’s charm. October Sky is a very wholesome and uplifting one- so enjoy!

Film: Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings, Sony Pictures

Austin Bunn’s screenplay details the dramatic events, including murder, blackmail, seduction, and rebellion, that brought together Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs: the faces of the Beat Generation. The Beats were a group of writers that existed within the wider counterculture movement in America between the 1950s-70s. They explored themes of spirituality, sexual liberation, drug use, anti-capitalism, the evolution and influence of jazz music, and respect for indigenous communities. This film recounts the origins of their ideas and development of their early relationships at Columbia University. The colours, period costumes, and scholastic setting make this film the perfect autumn watch, especially if you’d prefer a film with a bit more of a dramatic plotline too!

TV: Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls, Netflix

This wouldn’t be a reasonable list of autumn recommendations without Gilmore Girls, of course. Gilmore Girls follows the everyday lives of Lorelai Gilmore and her teenage daughter, Rory, as they try to achieve their respective ambitions in life. The complications arising from their love lives, and Rory’s wealthy grandparents, set the backdrop for an equally engaging and nostalgic watch. Running for seven seasons, plus spin offs, Gilmore Girls is rightfully known for its comforting aura and relatable characters. Seven seasons may seem daunting, but the show is so well-written and there is no need to feel pressured into watching it all at once- although I have to say it is an easy binge.

Film: Maurice

Maurice, Enterprise Pictures Limited

Based on the book by E.M. Forster, Maurice depicts the development and consequences of two men’s love for each other in the setting of Edwardian England (yes that is young Hugh Grant). I first watched this film in autumn and found that the duality of painful romance really fit with the season’s air of coexisting abundance and decay. James Ivory sensitively depicts the fusion of a love so strong that it can cross societal pressure, and the loneliness of self-discovery. The film is set across a few decades, beginning in 1898 when Maurice is 11 years old, and I personally think a period film or TV show is such a perfect fit for autumn. If you have watched the film, Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino, I would highly recommend Maurice as it’s autumnal counterpart.

Film: Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows, Warner Bros Pictures

I was torn between recommending this film and Twilight, but I’ve opted for Dark Shadows as I think it’s ever-so-slightly less famous. The narrative jumps between past and present to tell the story of Barnabas Collins who is a vampire waking up in modern day society, 200 years after a witch, Angelique, vengefully curses him. Reconnecting with his distant relatives leads Barnabas to find out vital secrets of the past and wonder whether his fate in the present will be any better. Dark humour, the macabre, and mystery make this film a great autumn watch. Also, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more exciting and thrilling, this is always a good choice.

Film: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, Paramount Pictures

Yes, we have another Tim Burton film on the list – my apologies. Sleepy Hollow is a supernatural horror film adapted by Andrew K. Walker from Washington Irving’s gothic short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written in 1820. The film is a murder mystery, focussing on constable Ichabod Crane who has travelled from New York City to solve a series of murders by the nightmarish Headless Horseman. The ghostly plot and creepy settings of this film definitely align with the spooky autumn atmosphere. I should warn, there are quite a few jump-scares in this film, albeit nothing in comparison to horror cult classics, so I’d recommend this film if you’re craving that Halloween feeling.

Film: Suspiria

Suspiria, Amazon MGM Studios

My last autumn film recommendation is Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino. Dakota Johnson stars as Susie Bannion, an American dancer who enrols in the Markos Dance Academy in West Berlin, only the institution is run by a coven of witches. Primarily, we follow Susie and her classmate Sara (played by Mia Goth), as they discover troubling secrets about their dance academy and their futures there. This is another supernatural horror film, and it certainly meets the expectations of the genre (there are some quite gruesome scenes so be warned)!

Make sure you check out The Broad’s other seasonal picks on the creative section of our website!

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