While we’re all looking forward to the re-opening of the Detroit Film Theatre, where we can again experience the pleasure of discovering cutting edge films and cinema classics in the energizing company of other film lovers, we can at least take this time to dive into the availability of films on streaming services. For DFT fans, a perfect place to begin is with one of America’s great repositories of world cinema – the Criterion Collection.
Featuring a continually available library of thousands of films that reflect the history of motion pictures, Criterion’s streaming service, The Criterion Channel, offers a chance to use our current “alone time” to bring historical perspective and provide a reconnection with the deep humanity that has driven so many of the great innovators of the motion picture medium.
In addition to individual films, The Criterion Channel boasts curated collections of favorite movies – along with commentary – from directors and devotees including Rian Johnson, Julie Taymor, Sofia Coppola, Barry Jenkins, Bill Hader, Mira Nair, Megan Abbott, Guillermo del Toro, Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese and many more.
In a recent issue of The New Yorker, critic Richard Brody cites a collection of restored gems by France’s Eric Rohmer (1920 – 2010) whose elegant, humane and witty tales of love and longing provide a refreshing respite from our current state of siege. Rohmer classics available now on the Criterion Channel include My Night at Maud’s (1969), Claire’s Knee (1970), and The Green Ray (1986), plus rare and completely charming early short films such as The Bakery Girl of Monceau (1963) and one of my favorites, Charlotte Gets Her Steak (1951).
The Criterion Channel is available on your computer or tablet, as well as TV streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire. A 14-day free trial is available, after which unlimited access on all your devices costs $10.99 per month, or, once you become addicted, $99.99 per year. Sign up at criterionchannel.com. Use the free two-week trial period to browse. I think you’ll be delighted.
I’ll be back with tips and suggestions on getting online access to recent and scheduled DFT films that you may want to catch up with; filmmakers and distributors are working hard to keep the flow of important new films available to as many as possible during this crisis, and we’ll be here regularly to keep you updated and help you find your way through the maze of options currently available.
Elliot Wilhelm | Curator, DFT Film Programs.