Sometimes the idea of a heatwave sounds great: cocktails on terraces, taking selfies of ourselves in glamourous locations with our equally glamourous friends all with glowing skin, and magically doing away with real life responsibility like we don’t have jobs, or families, or mountainous piles of washing.
In reality though, a heatwave can mean frizzy hair, sweating the very essence of your soul into your work clothes, and spending all your money on emergency oscillating fans and lolly ices trying to stave off dehydration headaches and conserve what little energy you have left.
So while you’re sitting at home in your pants with the curtains closed, I’ve rounded up my top five films of all time that are perfect to watch in a heatwave:
Do The Right Thing (1989)
This classic Spike Lee joint captures rising racial tension between different communities as the temperature rises in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Amongst a host of recognisable 80s and 90s faces, Rosie Perez’s character Tina and the rest of Bed-Stuy are sweating their tits off in a heatwave. It’s air conditioning units and ice cubes all round, while at Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, the Italian-Americans are making it clear how they feel about the demographic make up of their customer base.
Also featuring Samuel L Jackson in my dream job: a community street-front radio DJ with possibly the world’s worst DJ name: Mr Senor Love Daddy.
Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
John Mills and fellow military ambulance crew are navigating their way across the deserts of WWII North Africa, encountering Rommel’s Afrika Korps and numerous mechanical problems on the way. They are trying to reach the port of Alexandria in Egypt, having evacuated the famous military post in the town of Tobruk in Libya.
Expect sand, sweat, thirst, talk of finding an oasis, and the creeping feeling that not all is quite as it seems amongst the travellers.
This black and white classis makes it onto the list because my Grandad drove ambulances and ammunition trucks in North Africa and for Southport’s own Anthony Quayle’s curious Afrikaans accent. More than anything though, nothing will make you crave a refreshing, heatwave quenching, condensation-beaded pint of lager, quite like Ice Cold in Alex. No wonder Carlsberg used it in their commercials.
Summer of Sam (1999)
Another Spike Lee joint, this time set in a predominantly Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx, against a backdrop of real life events in the hot summer of 1977 and the threat of serial killer David Berkowitz aka the Son of Sam. As the mercury rises, so does suspicion and paranoia, with dramatic consequences for local friends Vinnie and Richie a one man disco inferno and a wannabe punk.
12 Angry Men (1957)
Henry Fonda stars in this sweltering New York City courtroom drama. Twelve jurors are locked away to deliberate the fate of a defendant accused of first degree murder. This magnificent social drama examines the very different personality types – and opinions – of the twelve men.
It’s like watching the forerunner of Twitter in black and white: preconceived ideas, prejudice, and pack mentality. Sixty years on, the all-white all-male jury seems both outdated and yet at the same time, you have to wonder what has changed after all. The stifling heat and close quarters adds to the tension and frustration.
Jean de Florette (1986)
Gerard Depardieu plays the titular character in this iconic 80s piece of French cinema. It’s a tale of greed, frustration and exhaustion in rural Provence, with property feuds and relentless toil as Jean attempts to make a living cultivating carnations in dry and rainless conditions.
Beautiful cinematography in the picturesque south of France, flawless acting, and a sublime score with the memorable harmonica piece that many will remember from the 90s Stella Artois advert. Be sure to watch its companion piece Manon de Source too.