Apologies in advance to Criterion Collection-obsessives, hardcore cinephiles, Hulu users and anyone else pre-disposed to getting angry with anything on the internet that’s not 100% fresh and new (and or those who assume this is going to be a paid endorsement of Hulu). As you may have heard, Hulu is streaming their entire Criterion Collection for free this long President’s Day weekend (today’s your last day to take advantage). That’s all well and good, but the real draw for us — and this is what’s old news to what we assume are eagle-eyed cinephiles/Criterion-ites — is the fact that there are some 100+ titles with the Criterion Collection logo on them in Hulu’s database that aren’t actually in the Criterion Collection on DVD or Blu-Ray yet.
To many, this is a sign that these titles will eventually make it onto Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray proper eventually, and considering there’s rough artwork and all, it seems like a good bet. At our count there’s 257 films in all that have the Criterion logo on Hulu, but aren’t actually in the collection.
Highlights include two Jacques Rivette films (there are none in the collection so far), six Robert Rossellini films, two more classic Robert Bresson pictures, seven Rainer Werner Fassbinder movies, four Ingmar Bergman films, seven Nagisa Oshima movies, four Francois Truffaut films not in the collection (including his final film, 1984’s “Confidentially Yours” starring “Amour” lead Jean-Louis Trintignant and many, many, many more (Chaplin, Welles, Hitchcock, Ford, Weir, Carol Reed, Ken Russell, Costa Gavras, Chabrol, Satyajit Ray). If you’re late to the party (like we are), it’s like discovering another cinematic treasure trove of often-hard-to-find films that one can stream for relatively cheap (and without sounding too huckstery about it, this writer’s now signed up for a Hulu account). There’s over 50 Japanese titles alone, and fans of Keisuke Kinoshita, Kenji Mizoguchi, Oshima, Yasujiro Ozu, Masahiro Shinoda and Mikio Naruse will be like pigs in shit.
Quickly, we’ll highlight five titles.
1. Robert Bresson‘s “L’argent” — His final 1983 film loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella “The Forged Coupon.” Dark, depressing, masterful (you can read more about it here).
2. François Truffaut‘s “Two English Girls” — A 1971 French romantic drama starring his go-to actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, it’s notable because it’s gone out of print and vanished from the Netflix collection a few years ago. Our VHS copy is taking up space, so it’s nice to know it’s here in Hulu.
3. Carlos Saura‘s “Peppermint Frappe” – Perhaps you’ve seen Carlos Saura‘s utterly brilliant 1976 coming of age ghost tale, “Cria Cuervos” (it won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes that year), but you’re frustrated that no Criterion or DVD titles from this year are easy to find (and the Eclipse set is only centered around his documentary-like dance films). Well, there’s two titles on Hulu, 1967’s surrealist, Luis Bunuel-homage “Peppermint Frappe” and 1981’s “Deprisa, Deprisa.” Neither are available on any decent Region 1 DVD versions, so that alone might be a reason to take a peek.
4. Wim Wenders‘ “Alice In The Cities” — Wenders has three films in the Criterion Collection, and his early “Road Movie” trilogy, “Alice In The Cities,” “Wrong Move” and “Kings Of The Road,” are said to be joining the pack soon, but here’s your chance to see it early. It’s in black and white and features the gorgeous cinematography of Robby Müller known for shooting Jim Jarmusch‘s “Down By Law,” “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,” Peter Bogdanovich‘s “They All Laughed,” “Barfly,” William Friedkin‘s “To Live and Die in L.A.” and many, many more.
5. Jacques Rivette‘s “Paris Belongs to Us” – If you were to ask any Criterion staff member what’s the most egregious auteur omission in the collection, high up on their list would likely be Cahiers Du Cinema/French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Rivette. There’s practically a campaign by many to bring his three-hour opus “Celine & Julie Go Boating” to the collection, but in the meantime there’s two titles on Hulu, his 1961 directorial debut, “Paris Belongs To Us,” and his 1956 twenty-eight-minute short, “Le Coup du Berger (Fool’s Mate).” It’s interesting if only because it’s a) relatively hard to find, b) features fellow French New Waver’s Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut as party guests in one scene.
Again, that’s just scratching the surface as the highlights are many and bountiful. Major hattip to the Criterion Forum that assiduously document what films have been added and deleted from the Criterion/Hulu collection over the last two years. And yes, we realize that some of these films can be found on YouTube in full as well, so happy hunting if you want to watch them there for free (but quality is sometimes a dealbreaker for us). What did you watch, if anything? And or, if you’re just coming to the party now, what’s on your wishlist?