Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2009 by Russ Fischer
For years, the Criterion Collection has been around to provide one of the best film educations a casual viewer can receive. Just by checking out any chunk of the now-massive collection, you’ll be exposed to an incredible array of films that cover every spectrum of entertaining and artistic filmmaking. And now it just got a whole lot more accessible, as Criterion has added thirty-five more films to stream via the Netflix ‘Watch Instantly’ service. Now you have no excuse to miss some of the best films ever made.
Quite a few films from the Criterion Collection had hit the Netflix streaming service already, and in the last month the offerings have come fast and furious. With the 35 titles added today, you can multiply your cinematic knowledge a hundredfold, just by queuing up all these titles over the holiday break.
There’s a great deal of classic, unmissable work by Akira Kurosawa: Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ikiru, High and Low and The Hidden Fortress. There’s For All Mankind, the documentary about the Apollo space program built from footage shot during some of the first American flights into space. With a score by Brian Eno, it has long been one of my favorite marriages of sound and image. There’s Europa, the early Lars von Trier experiment that subverts the thriller form and uses a multitude of filmmaking tricks to create a queasy view of post-war Germany. And there are The Vanishing and General Idi Amin Dada, each of which in its own way (thriller and documentary) explores the sociopathic tendencies of human beings like few other films manage.
Incidentally, this is a nice complement to a subtle change Netflix made to the company’s primary webpage last week. The ‘Watch Instantly’ tab is now the first one on the page (as shown on the company’s official blog) which would seem to suggest an even greater future emphasis on streaming movies. I’m all for it.
(I also have to mention that Netflix has also added Slavoj Zizek‘s The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema to the streaming catalog, which complements the Criterion ‘film school in a box’ ethos by having Zizek insert himself into recreations of classic movie scenes, the better to discuss their underlying meaning and intent. It’s a great project.)
Here are the new Criterion titles added today:
High and Low
Jules and Jim
My Life as a Dog
For All Mankind
Cleo from 5 to 7
Closely Watched Trains
M. Hulot’s Holiday
General Idi Amin Dada
Man Bites Dog
The Lower Depths
La Bete Humaine
Elevator to the Gallows
Wings of Desire
The Seventh Seal