Netflix has announced a new partnership with MK2 Films that will bring heavyweight auteurs such as Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and more to the streaming platform. The deal is set to bring 50 movies from the MK2 Films catalogue to Netflix throughout 2020, beginning April 24 with the launch of 12 Truffaut classics: “Bed and Board,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Confidentially Yours,” “Jules and Jim,” “Love on the Run,” “Shoot the Piano Player,” “Stolen Kisses,” “The 400 Blows,” “The Last Metro,” “The Soft Skin,” “The Woman Next Door,” and “Two English Girls.” The deal begins with select Netflix international platforms such as in French-speaking territories.
Cinephile early adopters may remember that around 2007 and 2008, when Netflix first introduced streaming for some movies — via a blue “Instant Viewing” button that would appear next to certain titles in addition to the option to add the DVD to your queue — the service actually did include a sizable number of classic titles, including “Fahrenheit 451.” But as streaming became Netflix’s dominant revenue stream, the company neglected to renew the licenses for most of its classic titles, preferring to prioritize more recent offerings instead, in addition to its burgeoning original content production line.
“We are very pleased that Netflix is growing on the heritage of cinema and major international auteurs with this agreement,” MK2 CEO Nathanael Karmitz said in a statement. “The role of MK2, through its catalog of over 800 titles representing part of the world history of cinema, is to contribute to the transmission of this universal heritage of film and discover constantly these films to the largest number, the most youth. This distribution agreement is good news for all lovers of French cinema and its history.”
Added Netflix acquisition director Sara May, “We are pleased to offer our members a selection of masterpieces after the catalog MK2. These films’ heritage are universal and will always remain an inspiration both for our members and for the writers and directors we work with today.”
Other MK2 movies that will debut internationally on Netflix this year include Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” plus films directed by Steve McQueen, Xavier Dolan, Michael Haneke, Emir Kusturica, and David Lynch. MK2 Films added, “Through this collaboration, the masterpieces of cinema will be rediscovered by both seasoned moviegoers and the general public, especially the young generation eager to visit these essential movies of world cinema heritage. The contribution of MK2 is unique because, more than a catalog, it is a collection that is based on true artistic choice.”
Bringing directors such as Chaplin and Truffaut to its streaming catalog is a huge boost for Netflix, which for years has failed to compete in this space against the likes of The Criterion Channel, Mubi, and other auteur-driven streaming platforms.