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International and Time "Traveling" on the Silver Screen

As the pandemic marches on, one of my favorite ways to escape the feeling of cabin fever safely (and without spending any money!) is to "travel" to different countries and time periods through the magic of historical and international films. I use my library card to access the Hoopla streaming service, which is similar to the Kanopy service offered by some other library branches. Check with your local library about free film streaming services you can access, and then sign in on your laptop, smart TV, Roku, Fire stick, or outdoor projector if you live someplace warm! 

If you find that your appetite for international films surpasses what these free services can satiate, here is a list of the 10 best streaming services for international content

I live in Michigan, which is currently in a beautiful polar vortex, so I fit my movie watching time into the early morning hours before dawn (seriously, one of my favorite ways to wake up, with a hot cup of coffee) and after dusk. Adopting a Norwegian mindset has helped me to enjoy the lovely solitude of this winter as much as I can. During Michigan's still-kinda-short daylight hours, I intentionally spend time outdoors in the brilliant snow and bracing air, or at least near the brightest windows, to maximize my exposure to natural light. Keeping active and exposed to daylight during most of the day keeps me healthier and happier, and it makes relaxing in the dark with a transporting film all the more delicious.

Choosing films that take me out of my time period and/or my culture feels like a bigger escape and a more interesting adventure than zoning out in front of an American sitcom or superhero flick. I felt this way long before the pandemic, and I'm delighted that the sudden transition of the film industry to big streaming releases seems to have hastened the breakdown of national borders in filmmaking and distribution. When I was a young kid borrowing foreign DVDs from the cool cosmopolitan video rental place, I never imagined a future when I could turn on my flat screen TV and access new and classic cinema from all over the world--for free! 

The real world may be bleak right now, but the virtual world is richer and more exciting than ever, shining on the silver screen. What have you seen lately that made you forget when and where you are for an hour or two?

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