The Criterion Channel is a streaming service home to countless classics and art films from around the world, across film history. If you’re looking for something beyond Hollywood blockbusters, it’s tough to beat the expansive Criterion library. Here are some of the best movies currently available for streaming!
Jacques Demy’s musical film Donkey Skin is based on the literary fairy tale of the same name by author Charles Perrault. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Delphine Seyrig, and Jacques Perrin. When the recently widowed king (Marais) confesses his intention to marry his own daughter (Deneuve), the princess seeks help from her fairy godmother (Seyrig) to evade her father’s advances. Wearing the pelt of a donkey, the princess flees her kingdom. Under the guise of the lowly “Donkey Skin,” she gets a job as pig keeper in another kingdom – and soon finds herself vying for the love of the prince (Perrin). Featuring beautiful costumes, playful sets, and fun musical numbers, Donkey Skin is a bright highlight in a series of imaginative musicals. It’s colorful, it’s transgressive, it’s absurd, it’s Demy.
Set in pre-handover Hong Kong, Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together explores the tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship between Ho Po Wing (Leslie Cheung) and Lai Yiu Fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai). Backed by Christopher Doyle’s stunning high-contrast cinematography, the film manages to express much through its use of color – both its removal and its increasing saturation. Described as one of the finest LGBT films of New Queer Cinema, Kar-wai’s Happy Together examines the moments of hesitancy, uncertainty, and loneliness that make up two men’s need for human connection.
Based on the novel Oms en série, Fantastic Planet is a sci-fi animated feature that explores themes surrounding animal rights, human rights, and racism. Directed by René Laloux, the movie tells an allegorical story about humans (Oms) and their struggle against a giant alien race (Draags) who keep Oms as pets on the planet Ygam. After Terr, an Om, escapes the clutches of his Draag captor, he finds a tribe of wild Oms who take him in. Bringing with him the knowledge of the Draags, Terr and the free Oms leverage Draag information to plot an escape from the strange planet. The film features an exceptional score by jazz pianist Alain Goraguer. Hypnotic, psychedelic, and oh-so ’70s, the music has been sampled by a number of hip-hop artists.
That’s a Wrap
The Criterion Channel truly is a movie lover’s dream. We hope our list helps get you started curating your personal watchlist! Be sure to visit our blog for more fun topics and updates on local happenings.