You can't see her hands here, but Lynch is thinking about them.
You can't see her hands here, but Lynch is definitely thinking about them. The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Unstreamable is a weekly column that recommends films and TV shows you can't find on major streaming services in the United States. This week: Mr. T stops and makes trouble in Trouble Man; Laura Dern's hands get horned-up in Wild at Heart; fraught relationships are formed in colonial Cameroon in Chocolat; and a musical just won't quit singing in A Room in Town (Une chambre en ville). Read our other recommendations here.

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TROUBLE MAN
USA, 1972, 99 min, Dir. Ivan Dixon
God, the mirror scene at the end is great.
God, the mirror scene at the end is great. Jasmyne Keimig
Trouble Man is a whole lot of fucking fun. No, it's not the best blaxploitation film of all time, but the soundtrack is composed by none other than Marvin Gaye himself, fresh off the success of What's Going On. It's funky as hell and one of the only albums where Gaye was given full creative control, composing the title song (which is oh so sweet) and the score. Go into it for Marvin Gaye.

In terms of plot: Robert Hooks plays Mr. T, a no-nonsense private detective who has a $10,000 car, a $600 suit, a gun in his waistband, a tricked out apartment, and ladies all over town. He's beloved by the streets of Crenshaw, too, being the go-to guy when you're having trouble with a shitty white landlord or need someone to spot you bail. Mr. T is a hero, but that doesn't stop two assholes named Chalky and Pete from trying to frame him for a murder he didn't commit so they can take down a rival crime kingpin, Big (Julius Harris). Mr. T vows revenge once he gets wind of Chalky and Pete's plot, and those guys aren't ready for the—wait for it—trouble they're about to get themselves into. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Available for rental on DVD at Scarecrow Video, Seattle Public Library, and Netflix DVD.

***

WILD AT HEART
USA, 1990, 125 min, Dir. David Lynch
Fight for those dreams, Mr. Cage.
Fight for those dreams, Mr. Cage. The Samuel Goldwyn Company

We spend a lot of time talking about Quentin Tarantino's foot fetish and not enough time talking about David Lynch's hand fetish. The dude clearly has a thing for elegant hands with brilliant manicures. It really stood out to me while rewatching Wild at Heart. The film features a horned-up, wild Lula (Laura Dern) constantly having melodramatic sex with the horned-up, wild Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage). During their humping, the camera almost always ends up pivoting from their energetic faps to Dern's hand; perfectly posed, fluttering with blood, often lying on a pretty sheet. Maybe if we put enough of these male directors together we can finally get a director who's obsessed with a whole woman. (Or, hire more female directors.)

I have a hard time focusing during Lynch's films, but so many of Wild at Heart's extreme scenes stick with me: The opening, which revs up from a polite Southern gathering to a brutal head-bashing in seconds; the scene where Ripley hijacks a microphone to sing while girls excitedly scream in the background, but they're pitched up to sound like eagles; the scene where Lulu pulls over her car because she can't handle the negativity of news radio, so she makes Ripley put on some hardcore music and then they rage in a pasture. The whole film is, as they say, hotter than Georgia asphalt. Especially those hands. CHASE BURNS

Available for rental on DVD at Scarecrow Video, Seattle Public Library, and Netflix DVD.

***

CHOCOLAT
France | West Germany | Cameroon, 1989, 105 min, Dir. Claire Denis
Claire Denis signed this copy!
Claire Denis signed this copy! JK
This Chocolat is not to be confused with the Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and some erotic sweets (Is that the premise? I've never seen it). Rather, the title refers to the word in old French slang which meant "to be had or cheated," and extends the word, in this context, to mean "to be black and cheated."

Director Claire Denis's first feature film, Chocolat is a somewhat autobiographical account of Denis's childhood in colonial Cameroon. It starts in the present when France (Mireille Perrier) is picked up on the side of road while en route to Douala, Cameroon by a man and his son. As she looks out at the landscape from the car, she flashes back to her life as a young girl in the country. The film specifically focuses on the relationship between herself, her parents (Giulia Boschi and François Cluzet, a favorite) and their "houseboy" Proteé (played mesmerizingly by Isaach De Bankolé), a native Cameroonian who has to suffer through serving this white family.

While I think films centered around white colonist experiences in African countries tend to be deeply uncomfortable to watch, Denis adds nuance and a gentle touch, revealing the power dynamics between the colonizer and the colonized. Isaach De Bankolé's performance as Proteé is what makes this Chocolat a worthwhile watch, his face portraying an intense mixture of rage and complacency. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Available for rental on DVD at Scarecrow Video, Seattle Public Library, and Netflix DVD.

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***

A ROOM IN TOWN
France, 1982, 90 min, Dir. Jacques Demy
This wallpaper is the star
This wallpaper is the star. Chase Burns
Sung-through musicals get a bad rap. This crystallized for me when I was watching Cats and my boyfriend leaned over and was like, "Where's the dialogue?" And when I told him there was basically no dialogue—"It's a sung-through musical, like an operetta"—he pouted and was turned off for the rest of the movie. It wasn't the creepy little cat people bodies that turned him off, it was the incessant singing.

The same thing happened when we started watching A Room in Town, one of Jacques Demy's later films that copies the format of his most successful film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (regarded as "one of the most romantic films ever made"). I rented it because it seemed so French—it's a musical about a man caught in the middle of a massive labor protest, who's also trying to decide which of his lovers he loves the most. But immediately my boyfriend threw up his hands and asked to turn it off. The singing dialogue, I'll admit, is not for everyone. But I still believe A Room in Town is worth your time, if only for the set designs and exciting color stories. Very few directors color-block like Jacques Demy. CHASE BURNS

Available for rental on DVD at Scarecrow Video and Seattle Public Library.