Exclamation mark

SVA Responds to COVID-19

Read the latest on SVA’s response to the coronavirus and find the resources you need.

Kanopy Movie Picks From SVA’s Film Departments
May 12, 2020 by Emma Drew
From left: Movie posters for "In the Mood For Love," "Moonlight," and "Black Orpheus."

If you haven’t checked out Kanopy, the streaming platform available to all current students, faculty and staff via the SVA Library, now is a perfect time. Boasting a wide range of indie films, documentaries, titles from Janus Films and the Criterion Collection, Kanopy is a popular, remotely accessible resource for students, artists and film buffs, and a welcome respite from news coverage and social media during shelter-in-place. Currently, over 600 films are available via the College’s subscription; almost half of those are movies Kanopy opened up for free to subscribers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including how-to and training films, many from the online lecture series, “The Great Courses.”


From off-campus, users can log in using their SVA MyID credentials, via the direct link on the Library’s A-Z Database page or by going to sva.kanopy.com. Many public libraries around the country also offer access to cardholders and may have access to additional titles.

But what should you watch when you get there? We asked a handful of film faculty to share a few of their Kanopy picks; results are below. See you at the movies!


Rose Vincelli Gustine, Director of Operations, MFA Social Documentary Film

Living in Oblivion (1995)

“Independent film crew struggles to make the film happen, the budget is running out, and everyone is sleeping together—a documentary, basically. Featuring my favorite weirdo boyfriend, Steve Buscemi, a young Catherine Keener and a cameo from Peter Dinklage.” Bonus: shot by shot BFA Film faculty Frank Prinzi.

In The Mood For Love (2000)

“So lush and beautiful and complicated and pained and romantic. if you haven’t seen this yet, you’re missing out. I’m going to watch it again tonight.”

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)

“Long before I met my boss, Social Documentary department chair Maro Chermayeff (and the film’s producer), I watched this portrait of the seminal performance artist and cried about the power of art.”

Grey Gardens (1976)

“Currently giving me homebound style tips.”

Mary Lee Grisanti, Chair, BFA Film

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

“The strange, disturbing, transcendent language of Robert Bresson—beyond human.”

Wings of Desire (1987)

“Wim Wenders′ unclassifiable masterpiece of Berlin following two angels who can hear everyone’s thoughts. And Peter Falk.”

Embrace of the Serpent (2016)

“Amazing tale of the loss of indigenous culture and knowledge in the Amazon. Gripping, unusual and based on true story.”

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2016)

“Cool female noir horror.”

Bob Giraldi, Chair, MPS Directing

Lady Bird (2017)

“Of the tons of high school coming-of-age films, none are as delightful, endearing and agreeable as this. Totally ravishing, the ups and downs of a high school senior, with a mother that drives her bonkers, Saoirse Ronan is PERFECT...as is the heart and imagination of the brilliant female director, Greta Gerwig.”

Knife in the Water (1962)

“The troubled and domineering Roman Polanski directed this 1962 Polish drama as his first and all else will forever be compared to it. A brilliant adrenaline-rush thriller from someone who will mostly be remembered as deeply controversial and problematic figure.”

Ann Collins, faculty, MFA Social Documentary Film

Beaches of Agnes (2008)

“French documentarian Agnes Varda perfected the personal essay film. Here, she revisits some of the most important places in her life and reunites with people she holds most dear. A great film for anyone cooped up in a New York apartment.”

8 1/2 (1963)

Federico Fellini's heartfelt valentine to cinema will transport you to Italy in the '60s and make you itch to pick up a camera. Nino Rota's magnificent score is the icing on the cake. Maybe order a pizza or make a cauldron of pasta before screening.”

The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Richard Lester’s charming movie features a very young Fab Four. As innovative as they were in the recording studio, they are just as on point in front of the camera, eschewing plot to make room for laid-back humor and visual style. Ringo’s runaway scene stands alone as a perfect short, and you can’t beat the soundtrack.”

Chris Newman, faculty, BFA Film

Moonlight (2016) showed us about real people in real predicaments.”

Black Orpheus (1959) introduced us to samba, Brazil and romance.”

Yojimbo (1961) brought us real-life sound effects—an Eastern Western!”

Happy moviegoing, and stay safe!