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The Criterion Collection’s of ‘Stromboli,’ ‘The Housemaid’ Will Be Streaming on Fandor

The Criterion Collection's of 'Stromboli,' 'The Housemaid' Will Be Streaming on Fandor

Fandor is offering another one of its specials this month, and with it a chance to catch up on some of the best of world cinema. In agreement with Hulu Plus, Fandor will offer a handful of new Criterion Collection titles each week for a limited time only (12 days), with each week’s new batch of titles representing a different theme. Here’s the full list:

“Expeditions,” out 11/11
1. “Burden of Dreams” (1982), Dir: Les Blank
2. “The Four Feathers” (1939), Dir: Zoltán Korda
3. “The Gold Rush” (1925), Dir: Charles Chaplin
4. “Letter Never Sent” (1959), Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov
5. “Sanders of the River” (1935), Dir: Zoltán Korda
6. “The Wages of Fear” (1953), Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

7. “Woman in the Dunes” (1964), Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara

“Island Life,” out 11/18

1. “L’avventura” (1960), Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni
2. “Bergman Island” (2006), Dir: Marie Nyreröd
3. “Lord of the Flies” (1963), Dir: Peter Brook
4. “Naked Island” (1960), Dir: Kaneto Shindô
5. “Profound Desire of the Gods” (1968), Dir: Shohei Imamura
6. “Stromboli” (1950), Dir: Roberto Rossellini
7. “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961), Dir: Ingmar Bergman
“Family Troubles,” out 11/25
1. “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (1974), Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
2. “A Nos Amours” (1983), Dir: Maurice Pialat
3. “The Ceremony” (1971), Dir: Nagisa Oshima
4. “The Demon” (1964), Dir: Kaneto Shindo
5. “Fists in the Pocket” (1965), Dir: Marco Bellocchio
6. “The Housemaid” (1960), Dir: Kim Ki-young
7. “Seduced and Abandoned” (1964), Dir: Pietro Germi
8. “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974), Dir: John Cassavetes

Each new week’s worth of titles would make for a great marathon, but I find the second group, “Island Life,” the most exciting of the bunch, with three titles in particular representing the start of major periods for their respective directors. “L’avventura” marks the beginning of Michelangelo Antonioni’s shift towards a more deliberately paced, elliptical style, as well as the start of a loose alienation trilogy. “Through a Glass Darkly” is part of a loose trilogy itself (Bergman’s “Trilogy of Faith”), and it’s the first film Bergman shot on the island of Faro, which would serve as the setting and creative inspiration for a number of later films (documented in “Bergman Island”). And “Stromboli” is the first film Roberto Rossellini made with star, muse and wife Ingrid Bergman, marking a shift away from neorealism and towards glorious melodrama.

Still, this week’s titles are nothing to sneeze at, a collection of journeys and missions ranging from humorous (“The Gold Rush”) to breathlessly intense (“The Wages of Fear”), from reality (Les Blank’s “Burden of Dreams,” which documents Werner Herzog’s mad ambition while making “Fitzcarraldo”) to experimental and allegorical (Hiroshi Teshigahara’s mesmerizing “Woman in the Dunes,” which made him the first Asian filmmaker nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards). 

The last group of titles, meanwhile, features one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s most accessible and potent melodramas, “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul,” which reimagines Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows” as a romance between a sixty-something German woman and a younger Moroccan immigrant. It’s powerful stuff, though not half as harrowing as the same year’s “A Woman Under the Influence,” arguably the most uncomfortable film in John Cassavetes’ filmography (saying something). Director Kim Ki-young borrows from Sirk as well in “The Housemaid,” but the Korean classic is more florid, as if a Sirk disciple had gone insane during the making of the film. In other words, there’s plenty of riches to be discovered.

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