Well folks, it’s been a while, but Netflix has finally added several more Criterion Collection films to their Watch Instantly streaming options. Back in December we saw a rather large group of films added, with each following month adding fewer and fewer Criterion films. This past week has seen the addition of 8 films (one on April 1st, and 7 on the 3rd), all of which you should add to your Queue.
We recently reported that Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless would be re-released in theaters with a new transfer this month as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival, with a general release at the end of May in New York, and a national roll out afterwards. You can now see the film that made our writer James McCormick’s Top Ten Jean Paul Belmondo Film list, via Watch Instantly. It will be interesting to see if this print of the film is the new restored copy, as we saw with the recent addition of the Red Shoes, or if it will be the older version.
Also available on April 3rd, Orson Welles F For Fake (read about the new, animated Orson Welles project here), which we’ll be discussing on an upcoming episode.
The Chantal Ackerman film, Jeanne Dielman, is also now available for all of your foodie viewing pleasures.
Yasujiro Ozu’s film Late Spring, which we discussed way back in Episode 9, is also available. This film was loved all around by us on that episode, and I cannot wait to re-watch it in all of its heart-breaking glory.
When Criterion recently released Max Ophul’s Lola Montes, I was a little unsure as to what to expect from this release, not having seen any of his previous works. I can safely say that this film leapt directly into my heart, with its charming, and eventually heart breaking tale of this lovely, titular character. You can hear me discuss it in several of our past episodes, primarily this Disc 2.
Finally, you can now add Jules Dassin’s Night and the City, Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, and Alexander Korda’s That Hamilton Woman, to your Netflix Watch Instantly queue.
With the recent announcement that Netflix would be creating an iPad application, I’d imagine that we’ll see an upswing in subscriptions, just for the ability to stream these incredible films wherever you might find yourself with Wi-fi.
Which of these films are you most excited about adding to your queue? Did you find any of the transfers particularly beautiful or horrendous? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, on a related note, we have, in conjunction with Zac Schellhardt, created a page linking to every Criterion film on Netflix, with notes as to whether they are available with a streaming option.
For those interested in keeping an eye on what is coming to Netflix Watch Instantly, I’d recommend checking out FeedFliks.
Below you can click both the title and the cover art, and find yourself transported magically to Netflix to view these films.
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, crackling personalities of rising stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and anything-goes crime narrative, Jean-Luc Godard‘s debut fashioned a simultaneous homage to and critique of the American film genres that influenced and rocked him as a film writer for Cahiers du cinéma. Jazzy, free-form, and sexy, Breathless (Ã€ bout de souffle) helped launch the French New Wave and ensured cinema would never be the same.
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In Orson Welles‘s free-form documentary F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career’”the tenuous line between truth and illusion, art and lies. Beginning with portraits of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles embarks on a dizzying cinematic journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes’”not the least of whom is Welles himself. Charming and inventive, F for Fake is an inspired prank and a searching examination of the essential duplicity of cinema.
A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman‘s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow’”whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades.
One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu‘s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Eminent Ozu players Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever’”almost alone justifying Ozu’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors.
Lola MontÃ¨s is a visually ravishing, narratively daring dramatization of the life of the notorious courtesan and showgirl, played by Martine Carol. With his customary cinematographic flourish and, for the first time, vibrant color, Max Ophuls charts the course of MontÃ¨s’s scandalous past through the invocations of the bombastic ringmaster (Peter Ustinov) of the American circus where she has ended up performing. Ophuls’s final film, Lola MontÃ¨s is at once a magnificent romantic melodrama, a meditation on the lurid fascination with celebrity, and a one-of-a-kind movie spectacle.
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh’“’“and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. Luminously shot in the streets of London, Jules Dassin‘s Night and the City is film noir of the first order and one of the director’s crowning achievements.
Locked away in an asylum for a decade and teetering between life and death, the criminal mastermind Doctor Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) has scribbled his last will and testament: a manifesto establishing a future empire of crime. When the document’s nefarious writings start leading to terrifying parallels in reality, it’s up to Berlin’s star detective, Inspector Lohmann (Otto Wernicke, reprising his role from M) to connect the most fragmented, maddening clues in a case unlike any other. A sequel to his enormously successful silent film Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse reunites the director with the character that had effectively launched his career. Lang put slogans and ideas expounded by the Nazis into the mouth of a madman, warning his audience of an imminent menace, which was soon to become a reality. Nazi Minister of Information Joseph Goebbels saw the film as an instruction manual for terrorist action against the government and banned it for ‘endangering public order and security.’ A landmark of mystery and suspense for countless espionage and noir thrillers to come, this is the complete, uncut original director’s version in a stunning new transfer.
One of cinema’s most dashing duos, real-life spouses Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier live their greatest on-screen romance in this visually dazzling tragic love story from legendary producer-director Alexander Korda. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars of the late eighteenth century, That Hamilton Woman is a gripping account of the scandalous adulterous affair between the British Royal Navy officer Lord Horatio Nelson and the renowned beauty Emma, Lady Hamilton, the wife of a British ambassador. With its grandly designed sea battles and formidable star performances, That Hamilton Woman (Winston Churchill’s favorite movie, which he claimed to have seen over eighty times) brings history to vivid, glamorous life.