The Homemade series presents audiences with a world that is confronting, comforting, unfamiliar, and at all times recognizable. Netflix’s anthology series Homemade is a Chilean-Italian production. The series showcases seventeen short films by different filmmakers from around the world, within the confines of their own homes or isolation limitations. The directors consist of various award-winners and nominees and share no strong similarities to one another outside of their craft. The result is a selection of very different viewpoints on the world of a pandemic.
The short films were created during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are all influenced by the restrictions that it imposed. The films are all experimental in their own right and display creativity and imagination at their finest. From stories told through a video-call, to a love affair between two figurines, these directors truly adapted to their environments and continued story-telling along the way.
11 Antonio Campos: 5.7
American film director Antonio Campos’ most recent feature is The Devil All The Time starring Tom Holland, and Robert Pattinson, as well as many other famous faces. The film takes place after the Second World War and follows Tom Holland’s character as he navigates his way through life while trying to protect his loved ones. Campos’ short film for the Homemade series is quite different.
The eerie and unsettling short film follows a married couple as they head down to the beach one morning with their two young children. Once on the beach, they discover an unconscious man laying on the sand. Christopher Abbott stars as the mysterious character who is invited into the home of the couple, as they try to help him.
10 Ladj Ly: 5.8
French director and screenwriter Ladj Ly was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for his 2019 feature Lés Miserables. Partially based on the Victor Hugo novel, and set in Montfermeil where Ly himself grew up, Lés Miserables was his first non-documentary film.
Ly’s Homemade short film for the Netflix series centers on a teenage boy living in Clichy-Montfermeil in Seine-Saint-Denis, during the lockdown in France. The boy – Buzz – from within his home, uses a drone to explore the neighborhood around him. The boy observes the newly changed world outside while going through the necessary motion of each day.
9 Sebastian Schipper: 6.1
Sebastian Schipper is a German actor and filmmaker, probably best known for directing the 2015 thriller Victoria. Victoria was shot in a single continuous take, and follows Laia Costa as Victoria, as she joins three strangers for a night of partying which takes an unexpected turn.
From his home in Berlin, Schipper’s film “Casino” shows the repetitions and boredom of being isolated in his home. Schipper is shown wandering throughout his apartment as he reluctantly carries out mundane tasks. Schipper’s isolation veers down a new path as he is joined by others, and begins to see his daily actions new light, mirrored by his companions.
8 Sebastián Lelio: 6.2
The work of Chilean director Sebastián Lelio often centers on female characters from a variety of different backgrounds. His multi-award-winning film A Fantastic Woman follows Marina as she mourns the death of her partner. Disobedience, filmed in the same year presents two women from a Jewish orthodox community who struggle with their feelings for one another.
Lelio’s short film “Algorhythm” also centers on a female character played by Amalia Kassai, and is told in musical form. The film follows Kassai through her apartment as she vocalizes musings on humanity and human existence through the form of dance and song. With this film, Lelio considers humanity’s need to adapt and evolve, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
7 Johnny Ma: 6.3
Chinese-Canadian film director and screenwriter Johnny Ma made his feature film debut with Old Stone in 2016. Set in China, Old Stone tells the story of a taxi driver who becomes involved in a car accident and as a result gets caught up in a complicated legal bureaucracy. This is quite different from the premise of his quarantine film for Homemade.
Ma’s homemade short film takes place on day fifty of his quarantine in Mexico, which also happens to be Mother’s Day. The film acts as a letter, to Ma’s own mother, that he knows she will never see. While making dumplings with his new family, Ma reflects on his childhood and his relationship with his mother. He teaches the children to make dumplings while reminiscing on being in the kitchen with his own mother and remembering the last time they spoke.
6 Gurinder Chadha: 6.5
Gurinder Chadha is a British film director whose work reflects the lived experiences of people of Indian origin living in England – specifically women. Chadha has brought to audiences a host of film favorites such as Bend It Like Beckham and Angus, Thongs, And Perfect Snogging.
Chadha’s short film “The Unexpected Gift” is presented in the form of a selection of home-videos, shot during lockdown at Chadha’s home with her family in London. The film shows Chadha, her husband, and two children, as they adapt to lockdown and home-schooling, and try to make the most of the extra time that they now have together.
5 Maggie Gyllenhaal: 6.6
Maggie Gyllenhaal is best known for her long list of acting roles that range from Charlotte Dalrymple in Hysteria to Rachel in The Dark Knight. Most notably, however, in 2001 Gyllenhaal played Elizabeth Darko, the on-screen sister to her real-life brother Jake Gyllenhaal, in the cult classic Donnie Darko.
In a venture into writing and directing, Gyllenhaal created “Penelope” for the Homemade series, which was shot entirely from her home in Vermont. “Penelope” stars Gyllenhaal’s husband Peter Sarsgaard living in a world that is under attack by a virus that is causing various molecular and gravitational shifts. The film features frequent background radio updates and holds many nods to the current pandemic.
4 Rachel Morrison: 6.7
American cinematographer and director Rachel Morrison is most know for her work in the Dee Rees directed film Mudbound. Morrison was behind the cinematography for the feature and became the first-ever female to be nominated in the Academy Award category for Best Cinematography.
Morrison’s short film “The Lucky Ones” is presented in the form of a video-letter from Morrison herself to her five-year-old son. With this letter, Morrison acknowledges the difficulties for a child in living through a time of turmoil. Throughout isolation and being deprived of school and friends, Morrison expresses her desire for her son to remember this time fondly, and to leave all the worrying to her.
3 Ana Lily Amirpour: 6.8
Ana Lily Amirpour is a British-born, Iranian-American film director. Amirpour’s debut feature film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night premiered at Sundance in 2014 to critical acclaim. Much of her work consists of horror-drama centered on a strong female protagonist, and in some ways, this also holds true for her Homemade short film.
“Ride It Out” contains a description of 2020 that may feel uncanny to most viewers; it describes the disruption to daily life and how each individual must adapt to living with strict and specific restrictions. The film follows a young woman – played by Amirpour – as she cycles throughout Los Angeles and invites the audience to reflect on the current environment.
2 Paolo Sorrentino: 7.2
Italian writer and director Paolo Sorrentino is the mind behind a number of well-loved titles such as Youth, The Young Pope, and Academy-Award winning La Grande Bellezza. Sorrentino’s work is always innovative, and often surprising, and his Homemade short is no different.
“Journey To The End Of The Night” follows the Queen of England, as she visits the Pope in the Vatican. The Queen finds herself in the Vatican as the lockdown restrictions are announced, and has no choice but to stay where she is. What ensues is an entertaining and observant look at two extraordinary characters as they adapt to a universal situation.
1 Pablo Larraín: 7.8
Pablo Larraín is a multi-award-winning Chilean film director, writer, and producer. Among his many titles are the 2016 biopic Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, and the 2019 drama Ema. Larraín’s Homemade short film entitled “Last Call” centers on an elderly man in a nursing home, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accompanied by a mask-wearing nurse, the protagonist speaks with an ex-girlfriend through video-call. Throughout this call, the man becomes increasingly passionate as he professes his life-long love for this woman. The viewer, along with the nurse, serves as a witness to what would ordinarily be a private conversation.
NEXT: 10 Must Watch Short Films Available On YouTube (Or Other Online Platforms)
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