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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Movies

Water Cooler: Summertime cinema on Kanopy

UPDATED: Mon., July 5, 2021

Take a break from the heat with movies perfect for the summer.  (Pixabay)
Take a break from the heat with movies perfect for the summer. (Pixabay)

Need a break from ultraviolet rays but don’t want to miss out on any second of summer fun? Pull up Kanopy for a curated list of summer movies that mixes sun-soaked classics with a handful of intriguing summertime indie films. Here are a few highlights from the collection, but visit for the full list. Spokane Public Library members have access to this streaming service for free.

“Summertime” – An American spinster travels to Venice with dreams of romance, but the romance she finds isn’t as perfect and innocent as she imagined. She finds a handsome Italian man, but discovers she is swooning over a married man. Directed by David Lean. Starring Katharine Hepburn. 1955. 100 minutes.

“Jazz on a Summer’s Day” – Shot at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, this early documentary is a jazz and music lover’s dream. The lineup of music legends seems too good to be true, including giants of jazz such as Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, and Anita O’Day, as well as rock ’n’ roll master Chuck Berry and one of the most popular recording artist of the 1950s, Dinah Washington. The immaculate technicolor photography captures a sacred and enchanting time in jazz history in full detail. Directed and photographed by Bert Stern. 1959. 83 minutes.

“Summer With Monika” – A boy and girl escape together from their working class families to spend a summer in seclusion and romance. Eventually the unfortunate reality catches up with them and they are forced to give up their summer dreams and return to Stockholm. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Dagmar Ebbesen, Harriet Andersson and Lars Ekborg. 1953. 98 minutes.

“Stranger by the Lake” – At a popular cruising spot for men along the shores of a lake tucked away in rural France, Frank meets a mysterious and enticing man named Michel. He falls in love without question, but suspicious soon arises after Michel becomes the primary subject of a murder investigation at the lake. Frank ignores the allegations and instead abandons himself to his dangerous passions. Directed by Alain Guiraudie. Starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Christope Paou and Patrick d’Assumçao. 2013. 101 minutes.

“Florida Project” – Just outside the gates of the manufactured utopia inside Florida’s Disney World is a stretch of highway home to a slew of grotesque and colorful budget motels. Here we find the hidden realities and true lives of Florida residents living on the fringes of the tourism industry, shown beautifully and hauntingly through the eyes of a rebellious and lovable 6-year-old girl. Directed by Sean Baker. Starring Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince and Willem Dafoe. 2017. 112 minutes.

“The Endless Summer” – This quintessential surfing and summer documentary follows two California surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, around the world in search of that almost mythical, perfect wave. The documentary that resulted is something of a hypnotic summer daydream that leaves you wishing summer would never end. Directed by Bruce Brown. 1966. 92 minutes.

“Prince Avalanche” – Two men leave the city to spend the summer working together to repaint the traffic lines of a highway that runs through the middle of a fire scorched forest. They make an odd pair, one man serious and quiet, and the other young and dopey, which at times causes moments of tension in their work. Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd. 2013. 94 minutes.

“Freedom Summer” – Over 10 tense, historic and inspiring weeks, 700 student volunteers join forces with local Black community leaders to shatter the hold of white supremacy on the deeply segregated society of Mississippi. This monumental activism in the summer of 1964 would go on to be called Freedom Summer. Directed by Stanley Nelson. 2014. 114 minutes.

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