It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve written a post about Criterion films on Netflix. Today as I was browsing the list of upcoming films that will be expiring on Watch Instantly, I found myself confronted with some classic titles that will be expiring on December 21st, just two days from now.
A few months back, there were a lot of films set to expire, but ended up getting renewed for whatever reason. I don’t have any insider information as to why the titles listed below are expiring, or if they’ll be extended at the last minute. I’d like to think that if we manage to get enough people watching these films right before they expire, the people at Netflix monitoring usage will take note and push the date back.
As I said in that post, there are presumably lots of sensible reasons why the Criterion titles are set to expire:
- People might not be watching them, and I’m sure Netflix keeps track of those numbers.
- There are contracts and timetables drawn up whenever Netflix signs agreements with the distributors, as to which titles will be on Watch Instantly, and for how long.
Criterion hasn’t been adding many titles to their Netflix selection or their Hulu Channel recently. I’m not sure if this is a sign that they’re abandoning those outlets, but it’s worth noting. Mubi has been picking up steam recently with their joining the Playstation network, but it’s hard to tell at this point how many folks are renting the Criterion options.
Netflix has grown tremendously over the past year, with their addition of the Epix library, and I find myself looking to them more and more. The fact that they’ve recently implemented a Streaming Only option in their price plan, is a sign that Watch Instantly is a big part of their business plan moving forward. On our most recent episode, discussing A Christmas Tale, I remarked on my ability to quickly switch from my skipping / scratched DVD to the Watch Instantly stream fairly painlessly.
I’d also like to acknowledge the fact that we haven’t maintained our Netflix page on the site, and that’s all on me. I keep putting off the duties of adding the newer titles, and removing those films that have been taken off of Watch Instantly. Now that I have a couple of weeks over the holidays to catch up on a lot of posts and website maintenance, I promise to keep it high on my to do list.
Below you’ll find the six films that are expiring on the 21st of December. I’m linking the covers to their corresponding pages on Netflix, and the titles of the films to their Criterion.com pages.
Now get to watching.
Carlos Saura’s exquisite CrÃa cuervos . . . heralded a turning point in Spain: shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the Spanish proverb: ‘Raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes’). Ana Torrent (the dark-eyed beauty from The Spirit of the Beehive) portrays the disturbed eight-year-old Ana, living in Madrid with her two sisters and mourning the death of her mother, whom she conjures as a ghost (an ethereal Geraldine Chaplin). Seamlessly shifting between fantasy and reality, the film subtly evokes both the complex feelings of childhood and the struggles of a nation emerging from the shadows.
In July 1969, the space race ended when Apollo 11 fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge of ‘landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.’ No one who witnessed the lunar landing will ever forget it. Al Reinert’s documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon, told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences. Forty years after the first moon landing, it remains the most radical, visually dazzling work of cinema yet made about this earthshaking event.
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning, The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet), was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.
A young man begins an obsessive search for his girlfriend after she mysteriously disappears during their sunny vacation getaway. His three-year investigation draws the attention of her abductor, a seemingly mild-mannered professor who, in truth, harbors a diabolically clinical and calculating mind. When the kidnapper contacts the man and promises to reveal his lover’s fate, The Vanishing unfolds with intense precision, culminating in a genuinely chilling finale that has unnerved audiences around the world.
Wings of Desire is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts’”fears, hopes, dreams’”of all the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality and come back to earth to be with her. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, is movie poetry. And it forever made the name Wim Wenders synonymous with film art.
A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner’”loosely based on the 1963 assassination of Greek left-wing activist Gregoris Lambrakis’”stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials; Jean-Louis Trintignant is the tenacious magistrate who’s determined not to let them get away with it. Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece.