Back to School with The Trent Film Society

Stills from '10 things I hate about you', 'The 400 Blows', 'Hoop Dreams', and 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' clockwise from top left.

‘Back but different’ seems to be a trend for this school year and the Trent Film Society is no different. Regular fall semesters can be busy and overwhelming, so we hope that when you sit down in between zoom lectures, microwave popcorn in hand, our suggestions can help you parse the myriad of online media. We’re offering biweekly film and media suggestions that are known or hidden must-sees. Although we won’t have our spirited after film conversations, we now have a members’ Slack to discuss monthly movies and other suggestions from fellow film enthusiasts. We also plan to have Instagram livestreams with fun facts and details about select films. Our Instagram also has information on how to use Trent resources to get some of our movie selections for free and as soon as we can have events again, they will be advertised there. Follow us @trentfilmsociety and DM us any suggestions you have. As a rule of thumb, we will try to keep most selections free, on popular streaming services, or available for the price of a coffee. At the bottom of these selections there is closed captioning availability of the films and content warnings. These should help you know if a film is watchable for you. Art can be uncomfortable, but no piece of media is worth being traumatized over.

Suggestion 1: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off [Available on Netflix] This is a movie everyone should get the opportunity to watch or rewatch. Beyond the references your Gen X parents make, it is a smart, comical portrayal of teen angst and rebellion. Sit in your tiny dorm room, apartment or room at your parents’ house, and live vicariously through the shenanigans of the characters. If you like the escapism of Ferris Bueller, try the heat of Carnaval and fated love in Black Orpheus available free on Kanopy through Trent.

Suggestion 2: Hoop Dreams [Available free on Kanopy through Trent] A documentary about the frenzy of American college basketball and how the lives of talented, black, Chicago boys depend on their athletic prowess. It’s tense and precarious. While you root for Arthur Agee and William Gates you also watch them try to navigate the American high school system, adolescence, fatherhood, and systemic poverty. It is both an ode to and criticism of the American Dream and the life of the “urban black boy”. If you’re looking for a surreal interpretation of American blackness and poverty try George Washington available on Kanopy.

Suggestion 3: 10 Things I Hate About You [Available on Disney+] is pretty iconic as far as 90s reinterpretations of Shakespeare go. It’s a nostalgic, junk food watch for weirdos and popular kids alike. Taming of the Shrew, for those whose English teacher made you read Romeo and Juliet three years in a row, focuses on the romantic trials of two miserable characters. The 90s adaptation centres on the flirtations of surly Kat and delinquent Patrick. If you’re looking for a modern unlikeable protagonist, don’t mind Jimmy Buffet music, and like Snoop Dogg—try Beach Bum available on amazon prime or for rent on Cineplex (you get points).

Suggestion 4: The 400 Blows [Available for free on Kanopy] The 1959 renowned French film by director François Truffaut based on his own experience with the gap between the youth and adult world. The main character Antoine is both disillusioned and naive about schooling and the lives of adults. If you’ve always been a troublemaker or like the idea of a 1950’s Bart Simpson, it’s worth a watch. Looking for something more focused on contemporary, Canadian girls’ experience with coming of age? Try Porcupine Lake available for free on Kanopy through Trent.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—English with CC, English with Audio Description, multiple other languages with sub
Black Orpheus—Original in Portuguese with English subtitles
Hoop Dreams—English with no CC
George Washington—English with no CC
10 things I hate about you—English with CC, multiple other languages with sub
Beach Bum—English with CC
The 400 Blows—French with English subtitles

—Content Warnings—

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—suggestions of sex, profane language, derogatory terms for women
Black Orpheus—death, suggestions of delusion or psychosis, packed spaces
Hoop Dreams—racial slurs, talk of violence, black athletes referred to as meat/treated like racing animals, displays of poverty and racism
George Washington—physical assault/death, racial slurs and coarse language, displays of racism and poverty, discussions of bestiality and animal abuse
10 things I hate about you—the r slur, derogatory language about women, suggestions of sex
Beach Bum—nudity, explicit sex, suggested sex, coarse language, use of drugs and alcohol, intoxication, coarse language, the appearance and music of Jimmy buffet
The 400 Blows—child verbal and physical abuse
Porcupine Lake—animal death, alcohol and drug use, intoxication, domestic violence, suggestions of sexual assault, talks about sexual organs and sex