The Greatest Films You’ve Never Seen
MoMA’s Department of Film created a comprehensive streaming list to indulge any cinephile’s needs.
Apr 24, 2020
By now it’s come to this: you’ve baked six different kinds of bread; you’ve grown tired of your colleagues’ stabs at humor and their zany Zoom backgrounds; you’ve finally mastered your kids’ remote learning schedules after getting through multiple 3,000+ word emails with 27 attached links; you’ve exhausted every fun project, from cleaning out the dryer vent to separating the new crayons from the broken ones; you’ve rediscovered your college fondness for Pop Tarts and tequila shots at any hour of the day. Now it’s time to get serious. Ditch the binge watching of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s sordid antics and discover a whole universe of classic and cutting-edge movies right at your fingertips. Here is a comprehensive list of some of our favorite streaming sites, many of them free or available for a tuppence, where you will find every kind of moving image imaginable. By the time the quarantine is lifted and we’re allowed to come out of our caves, Larisa Shepitko, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carroll Ballard, and Mati Diop will be household names...at least in your home.
Written and compiled by Josh Siegel, with contributions by Sophie Cavoulacos, Kitty Cleary, La Frances Hui, Anne Morra, Carson Parish, Olivia Priedite, Brittany Shaw, Katie Trainor, and Kathy Brew.
Art Houses and Film Distributors
Since 2015, this stylish coterie has been dedicated to making one short film available to stream, per week, for free. Here’s where you can find little gems by veterans like Jonas Mekas, Chantal Akerman, and Andy Warhol, and bright young things like Greta Gerwig, Clément Cogitore, Terence Nance, and Kevin Jerome Everson.
The Cinema Tropical Collection
For the past 20 years, Cinema Tropical has championed Latin American cinema’s finest talents, including then-unknown filmmakers like Alejandro González Iñárritu and Lucrecia Martel. Led by Carlos Gutiérrez, the New York–based nonprofit is offering digital world premieres of new releases, first for free (viewers can take part in a live Q&A with the directors), and then for rent, including the Bolivian documentary Still Burn, which won Mauricio Ovando the Best Director prize at the prestigious BAFICI Film Festival in Buenos Aires; Natalia Almada’s Everything Else, from Mexico; and the Argentine Gastón Solnicki’s Kékszakállú, which appeared on *Artforum*’s Best of the Year list, among others.
The mother, father, second father, crazy uncle, granddaughter, and long-lost cousin of movie streaming sites, Criterion Channel is the greatest film education you’ve never had. Not only can you watch gorgeous restorations of 13 films by Luis Buñuel, 21 by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and five by Mati Diop, you can also plunge into the netherworlds of German Expressionism and film noir; discover Lino Brocka and and Kim Ki-young through Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project; take a master class on Howard Hawks’s Red River with Peter Bogdanovich; explore Victor Sjöström’s use of flashbacks in The Phantom Carriage with the brilliant film historians David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith; let Barry Jenkins take you on an Adventure in Moviegoing; or enjoy a Saturday matinee of Jason and the Argonauts with the kids. This is the best $99.99/year you’ve ever spent, either for your own family or as a gift for your relatives cooped up in their own faraway homes. Additionally Criterion, together with Art House Convergence and a number of other organizations, has started a campaign to support the more than 150 independent movie theaters currently closed nationwide due to COVID-19. We hope you will please consider supporting this vital initiative through GoFundMe.
For $50 per year and a song, Fandor offers hard-to-find films in all genres, often imaginatively grouped by theme. Under Dysfunctional Families one finds Agnès Varda’s Kung-fu Master!, Josephine Decker’s Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, Vittorio De Sica’s Marriage Italian Style, and Matt Porterfield’s I Used to Be Darker.
Want to brush up on your Farsi cinema? This Toronto-based nonprofit offers free streaming of films from Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and their diasporas, offering a glimpse into some of the richest traditions of filmmaking in the world.
Film Forum Presents Virtual Cinema
Film Forum, the beloved nonprofit independent and repertory cinema founded in New York in 1970, has partnered with theatrical distributors to present recent releases—both new films and repertory titles—for rental at home. Current offerings include the 2020 Oscar nominee Corpus Christi by the Polish filmmaker Jan Komasa, Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You, Chinese filmmaker Diao Yinan’s neo-noir thriller The Wild Good Lake, Romanian Corneliu Porumboiu’s crime caper The Whistlers, the acclaimed Russian drama Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov, and a new digital restoration of Luchino Visconti’s last film, L’Innocente (1976), with more titles to be added soon. All rental fees support Film Forum.
Film Movement Plus offers more than 300 feature films and shorts, many of them prizewinners at major festivals like Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, available either à la carte or for a monthly subscription fee. Notable titles include Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s A Screaming Man and Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb.
Our friends at The Future of Film Is Female are presenting a sterling, free selection of films by alumnae of the initiative’s funding programs and screening series at MoMA. Here’s where you can discover Hannah Peterson, Jingjing Tian, Laci Dent, and other New Faces of American Indie Cinema.
A New York–based distributor of some of the world’s most original independent filmmakers, Grasshopper is streaming selections from its library, including virtual premieres of Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela and Brett Story’s The Hottest August, rare short films like Bong Joon-ho’s Influenza, epic genre-benders like Mariano Llinas’s La Flor (which will keep you entertained for more than 14 hours!), and exclusive screenings of films by the legendary Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, the subjects of a major MoMA retrospective in 2016.
Dip your toes into the deep waters of IFC Films Unlimited with their free trial subscription by sampling such films as Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, and award-winning titles by other international auteurs like Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas, and Hirokazu Kore-eda.
First see the movie, then read the book! Use your valid library card to “check out” hundreds of films for free. Perhaps you might start with the 1933, 1949, 1994, and 2019 versions of Little Women.
Now in its 20th year, this Brooklyn-based distribution company is honoring Earth Day with a virtual run of Nikolaus Geyerhalter’s Earth, a provocative and timely documentary about the “several billion tons of earth” that people around the world excavate, dynamite, and haul each year in an effort to harness the power of the planet.
Do you want to keep your favorite local art house thriving while also watching the latest theatrical releases? Support them through Kino Marquee. The veteran New York–based distribution company Kino Lorber has brought together some of the best art houses and independent distributors in America to stream new and repertory films, including Film at Lincoln Center, Austin Film Society, Nashville’s Belcourt Theater, The Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio, BAM in Brooklyn, and many other theaters nationwide. “We’ve all been thrust into a brave new cinema world,” Kino Lorber President and CEO Richard Lorber has observed. “Kino Marquee offers film lovers and the theaters a way to mutually support each other—audiences can keep going to newly released movies and theaters can keep selling tickets to great cinematic experiences online.” On view now is the Cannes sensation Bacarau, by the Brazilian filmmakers Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles (scroll to the bottom of the page to purchase a ticket from your local independent cinema). You can also rent or purchase titles from Kino Lorber’s own rich collection of first-run and repertory releases at Kino Now, including the libraries of Zeitgeist Films and France’s StudioCanal.
Are you spending more time adding to your queue than actually watching movies? Let the modestly priced subscription service Mubi solve your problem. Each day, you’ll receive a single hand-picked title—indies, cult films, art house cinema—and make wonderful discoveries like the great Indian filmmaker Mani Kaul’s Our Daily Bread (1970), three of Isabelle Huppert’s lesser known performances, and Salt of the Earth (1954), by the blacklisted American writer-director Herbert J. Biberman.
The National Film Board of Canada
Wait, you’ve never seen Sheldon Cohen’s hockey cartoon The Sweater (1980)? Watch it for free, along with thousands of other classic and new titles for kids and their parents, courtesy of the NFB, Canada’s national treasure, which since 1939 has been producing award-winning animation, documentaries, experimental films, and interactive media.
Oscilloscope’s Circle of Quarantine
The Brooklyn-based indie distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories is offering its Circle of Quarantine, a digital film subscription allowing digital downloads (not rentals!) of any ten Oscilloscope titles for $49.99, ten bucks of which is donated to the Cinema Workers Solidarity Fund to help those in our industry most affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Choose from a diverse group of brilliant films including Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy and Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders.
Eight specialist US film distributors—Bullfrog Films, dGenerate, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, Kimstim, and Women Make Movies—recently banded together to create OVID, providing exclusive opportunities to watch everything from social justice documentaries to indie cinema from mainland China. You can even host your own private Tilda Swinton film festival.
“Screens and Streams” from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
Some of the most visionary and urgent cinema being made today can be found in the Arab-speaking cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture is making available key recent examples of this, including Rania Stephan’s The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011) and Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s And on a Different Note (2015).
The inveterate and celebrated Strand Releasing has brought hundreds of indie American and foreign films to widespread attention since its founding in 1989, having championed artists like Céline Sciamma, Alain Guiraudie, and Athina Rachel Tsangari from the very start. In addition to streaming some of their new releases, Strand is currently partnering with Criterion Channel to present short new pieces by their filmmaker friends; watch Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Bruce LaBruce, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and others as they reflect on life and creativity under quarantine.
Stream Slate (aka Screen Slate)
Every day for the past nine years, New York cinephiles have looked to Screen Slate for guidance in navigating what’s on offer at theaters throughout the city. Now, in support of these art houses, repertory cinemas, microcinemas, museums, and nonprofits—currently closed because of COVID-19—the redubbed “Stream Slate” offers daily dispatches calling attention to particularly exciting virtual screenings and online releases. As essential as ever, never stay home without it.
Ongoing Film Festivals
A screening and panel series celebrating women filmmakers worldwide, FFFest has a weekly “Streaming in Isolation” newsletter that makes seven handpicked fiction, documentary, and animated films available for seven days (or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, a single day’s bingeing). A recent posting featured Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown, about the lesbian strip club scene of 2000s Los Angeles.
The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is the largest of its kind in the world, specializing in independent contemporary cinema as well as new currents of interactive nonfiction storytelling. IDFA is currently presenting free access to some 335 films dating back to the 1989 edition of the festival, including nonfiction work by Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Victor Kossakovsky, and Michel K. Zongo.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: STAY HOME Edition
Discover French short films from the past 10 years, many of them prizewinners, in this weekly newsletter from Unifrance, the promotional arm of the French film industry.
By purchasing a ticket to stream an online movie you’ll be supporting the yearly activities of Outfest, one of the preeminent LGBTQIA+ film organizations in the US. On view now are two audience favorites, the Georgian drama And Then We Danced, from Cannes, and the American family comedy Saint Frances, from SXSW.
San Francisco Silent Film Festival
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival puts on the kind of unforgettable event that is impossible at the moment: gathering large groups of film lovers to experience world-class film restorations with original musical accompaniment at a glorious movie palace. Until that time when we can once again thrill to Abel Gance’s Napoleon with a live orchestral performance of Carl Davis’s score, SFSFF is making its ever-expanding collection of shorts, features, and clips available for view.
Thanks to Mailchimp, you can avail yourself of more than 50 premieres of new shorts from this year’s SXSW Film Festival, which was canceled due to the pandemic, including the award-winning documentary No Crying at the Dinner Table and the Midnight section screener Regret.
One of the world’s most cutting-edge nonfiction film festivals, Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, is making much of this year’s edition available online for free, together with new master classes with Claire Denis, Petra Costa, and Peter Mettler.
Women Make Movies Virtual Film Festival
For nearly 50 years, Women Make Movies has been the world’s leading distributor of films by and about women, with a particular focus on documentaries. In celebration of Women’s History Month, and in response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and the cancellation of film festivals around the world, WMM is presenting a Virtual Film Festival of brand-new titles by international female filmmakers. Sign up for free before May 31—but please make a donation to this vital nonprofit!—and receive new movies each Monday.
Genre Benders and Exotica
Spend a most pleasurable lunch hour with an always surprising grab-bag of 16mm films, drawn from the collections of the A/V Geeks.
The Anarchist Film Archive is a repository of films by seemingly anyone who ever stuck it to The Man, from “Angry Women who confront Bob Hope at the 1970 Miss World Competition” to Jean Vigo’s Zero for Conduct (1933). Aux barricades!
Want to crawl into the dark soul of Nicholas Winding Refn, the Danish director of Drive, The Neon Demon, and the Pusher trilogy? byNWR mines the hidden veins of underground and exploitation cinema with this free curated series, organized into quarterly volumes of three monthly chapters—an artisanal selection of grand cru grindhouse fare chosen by editorial director Jimmy McDonough, film conservator and historian Peter Conheim, and guest editors. Here you can stumble upon a rediscovered Icelandic film with Björk or a gorgeous restoration of Curtis Harrington’s cult favorite Night Tide.
Before the arrival of Apple II computers with dial-up modem access to the World Wide Web, die-hard movie lovers in the 1980s and early ’90s would hungrily rifle through the stacks of specialized stores like Kim’s Video in New York and Casa Video in Tuscon, Arizona, for bootleg VHS copies of John Woo, Nick Zedd, and Chantal Akerman. One such kid was Mike Plante, a filmmaker and former programmer of the CineVegas Film Festival, and now the senior shorts programmer at Sundance. Plante has created an ever-growing free Vimeo channel based on his zine, Cinemad, and inspired by the experience of stumbling on hidden gold, inviting us to “walk around, check things out, and please rewind.”
Want to satisfy your anime fetish? The subscription service Crunchyroll offers favorite Japanese animated series like Dragon Ball Super and Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma along with original programming like Tower of God.
Tommy José Stathes presents live screenings of early and rare 16mm cartoons from his archival collection.
A couch surfer’s dream. The Internet Archive features more than five million moving-image clips, from public domain Westerns, silent slapstick comedies, and sci-fi disaster flicks to industrials (“The Sexually Mature Adult”), educational films (“Let’s Make a Sandwich”), television news programs from around the world, commercials, home movies, cartoons, historical footage from World War I to Occupy Wall Street, drive-in movie ads...even 9,000 titles in Esperanto! And that’s not counting the millions of free books, music, software, and beyond. Start with Richard Massingham’s hilarious and still topical 1945 public health campaign short “Coughs and Sneezes.” Then move on to Rick Prelinger’s astonishingly addictive archive of “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films.
Founded by Brooklyn-based filmmaker and actor Kentucker Audley, NoBudge celebrates new independent movies made on a shoestring budget, the kind of original work that only rarely, if ever, finds its way onto mainstream screens and streaming platforms. “Our wide-ranging program is equal parts comedy, drama, and experimental work, as well as animation, documentary, sketch, web series, and dance/music video,” Audley writes. “Our focus is on emerging visions, alternative voices, youth culture, student films, and anything else we consider distinctive, engaging, or truthful.”
Phile Magazine’s compilation of erotic video art
Ensuring that your quarantine doesn’t have to be completely celibate, Phile Magazine has compiled a list of erotic films and videos from various sources across the Web. Catering to every persuasion, stripe, and fancy, all of them promise a little more frisson than your average Netflix veg-out.
Let your pent-up fears get the better of you by succumbing to Shudder, a site devoted to thrillers, horror, and suspense, ranging from the Murderer’s Row of John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, and Wes Craven to exclusive new releases like the insane Nicolas Cage starrer Mandy.
Experimental Cinema and Artists’ Films
Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art
As the organizer of the Berlinale Film Festival’s legendary Forum and Forum Expanded sections, as well as some 1,000 other screenings each year, Arsenal is a leading European institute for experimental cinema. Dedicated to “the historical and the contemporary, the academic and the popular, and the highbrow and the subcultural”—and drawing upon its collection of 8,000 works and close relationships with artists worldwide—Arsenal is presenting a series of revelatory works by Harun Farocki, Heinz Emigholz, Sheila McLaughlin and Lynne Tillman, and others.
CABIN FEVER: Coping with COVID-19—A Playlist of Online Experimental Films & Videos
Filmmaker Kate Lain has created a staggering Google doc of experimental moving-image work, with significant contributions from the artists themselves. The list continues to grow daily as the trove of alternatives to major streaming giants continues to inspire.
Witty New York Internet presence the Cinephobe offers a smorgasbord of offerings in the form of a live, chat-friendly virtual cinema. Check Instagram for their daily slate and expect anything from Bill Gunn’s unsung Hollywood studio feature Stop! (1970) to a program of films by West Coast avant-gardist Pat O’Neill.
Inspired by Jonas Mekas and the New York Film-makers Cooperative, this independent French filmmaker collective was founded in 1971. Today, in response to the pandemic, they are making some 200 works available for free, a snapshot of contemporary experimental cinema by some of its most imaginative practitioners.
With a special focus on community activism and “at-risk” youth in Los Angeles, EPFC presents a monthly program Marvelous Movie Mondays, with eclectic programs by guest filmmakers.
A New York nonprofit founded in 1971, EAI has been around for nearly as long as commercially available video, and it is here that you can discover the history of media art. Currently EAI is presenting an online screening of Trevor Shimizu: 7 Video Paintings, 1996–2020.
A pioneer in the development of international new media art, the Los Angeles nonprofit Freewaves offers a rich sampling of work made over the past 25 years. Particularly enjoyable are the themed programs, with names like Los Angeles Noise and Street Art Cinema.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London is providing links to work by multidisciplinary artists as varied as Klara Liden, Shana Moulton and Nick Hallett, and 20 years of production videos of live performances by Richard Maxwell and New York City Players.
Bringing together the worlds of contemporary art and experimental cinema through regular screenings, publications, lectures, and curated exhibitions, Light Industry is a Greenpoint, Brooklyn–based nonprofit founded in 2008 by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter. They are currently offering films and conversations with artists and scholars through their virtual cinema, including Ben Rivers’s Now, at Last!, presented by Laida Lertxundi.
Founded in 2014 by Sebastian Pardo and Riel Roch-Decter, the Los Angeles–based Memory collaborates with artists to bring their debut films to fruition. Their track record is impressive, having produced award-winning projects like Celia Rowlson Hall’s MA (2016), Theo Anthony’s Rat Film (2017), and Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown (2018). Some of these are available on their website, along with their ongoing monthly series Deep, an eclectic compilation of “experimental shorts, web videos, and art pieces unearthed from the darker side of the internet” programmed by Chris Osborn.
MOVIMCAT: The Moving Image Catalog
A platform for moving-image work by artists from around the world, MOVIMCAT invites guest curators to create programs around themes like architecture, self portraiture, dance, and the forest.
For more than a half century, the SF Cinematheque has championed the work of experimental filmmakers and artists. Currently they are making two terrific online screening series available: I Hate the Internet: Techno-Dystopian Malaise and Visions of Rebellion, a collaboration with Video Data Bank featuring films by Jesse McLean, James Duesing, and others; and certainty is becoming our nemesis, a partnership with the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presenting work by Alice Anne Parker, Antoinette Zirchmayr, and others.
Established and staffed entirely by volunteer cinephiles, this Williamsburg-based theater is dedicated to “overlooked works, offbeat gems, contemporary art, radical polemics, live performance and more.” During the pandemic, they are offering a steady daily beat of curated film programs through Twitch, from Sergei Eisenstein to Johan Grimonprez.
On this superb website, founded by Jason Evans in 2008, artists, writers, filmmakers, and cultural figures reveal a more intimate side of their work through rarely seen sketchbooks, journal entries, cherished objects, essays, and home movies. During the quarantine, This Long Century is streaming wonderful short films by folks as diverse as Laida Lertuxndi, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, Carlos Reygadas, Sky Hopinka, Haris Epaminonda, and Salomé Lamas.
Homeschool yourself in the history of avant-garde cinema and performance through this marvelously rich compilation of classic and contemporary work by a diverse array of artists and filmmakers, from Antonin Artaud to Yoko Ono, Ken Jacobs to Carrie Mae Weems, Joseph Cornell to Joan Jonas, Andy Warhol to Isaac Julien, Guy Debord to Nam June Paik, James Joyce to…well, you get the idea.
Created in 2013 by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Jens Hoffmann, Andrea Lissoni, and Filipa Ramos, Vdrome offers an impeccably curated selection of artists’ moving-image work from around the world. The mash-ups are always surprising: celebrated Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari (Trigonometry, Chevalier, Attenberg) interviews the Iranian-born, Texas-raised Bani Koshnoudi and presents her 2018 film Benizit, a futurist drama set in Oaxaca that was commissioned by the Danish organization CPH-DOX.
With its collection of some 6,000 works by 600 artists, Video Data Bank is one of the world’s leading repositories of artist’s videos and media art across the decades. During the pandemic, they are offering curated programs from the collection. The current offering, organized by Solveig Nelson, features American videos from 1989 to 1995, by Tom Kalin, Gran Fury, Dara Birnbaum, Leah Gilliam, Tom Rubnitz (in collaboration with David Wojnarowicz), Suzie Silver (in collaboration with Hester Reeve), and Sadie Benning.
FIAF Archives - See the entire history of cinema
Want to find beautiful restorations of films from every country and decade since the birth of cinema? The International Federation of Film Archives has compiled a list of all the members and affiliates that have freely available film collections online. FIAF has also launched a new “programming game” inviting viewers to curate their own 90-minute program from the tens of thousands of films now at your fingertips.
National Film Preservation Foundation
The NFPF offers high-quality streams of classic American films from all genres and decades, from Orson Welles’s unfinished 1938 comedy Too Much Johnson (with incredible images of New York’s meatpacking district when it was still full of meat packers) to John Huston’s Let There Be Light (1946), a long-censored documentary portrait of postwar trauma among soldiers; and from midcentury home movies taken in Yosemite National Park to Owen Land’s 1966 experimental short Film In Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, etc. The 1918 Al Christie comedy Cupid in Quarantine may offer novel ideas for those of us feeling cooped up, amorous, and forlorn.
The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress
An initiative of the National Film Preservation Foundation, the National Film Registry was created in 1988 in an effort to save our national film heritage. The Registry comprises an annual list of “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” films that are earmarked for preservation by the Library of Congress. Included among these is footage from the 1897 Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight, D. W. Griffith’s A Corner in Wheat (1908), Oscar Micheaux’s pioneering African American feature Within Our Gates (1917), Dave Fleischer’s Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor (1937), and Ida Lupino’s noir thriller The Hitch-Hiker (1953).
Discover one of the most interesting regional cinemas in America through the Chicago Film Archives, which features rare footage of watershed historical events, key examples of vérité documentaries of the 1950s and ’60s, and wonderful home movies, amateur films, and television broadcasts that capture Midwestern life throughout the 20th century (a syndicated wrestling show from the 1950s, anyone?).
Classic Korean Films from the Korean Film Archive
Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite undoubtedly made you hungry to discover more Korean cinema. Start with seven of Bong’s favorite Korean films of the 1970s and ’80s, including Insect Woman and Gagman, and then move on to classics by Im Kwon-taek, Shin Sang-ok, and Kim Ki-young, all available for free thanks to the national repository of the Korean Film Archive.
If you need to find an outlet for your pent-up activism, look no further than the Media Burn Archive, which provides nearly a half-century of protest and social justice videos, as well as pioneering examples of performance art, rare footage of legendary musicians and artists, and much, much more. Join their newsletter and you’ll receive exclusive weekly offerings.
American Archive of Public Broadcasting and WGBH’s Open Vault
A project of the Library of Congress and WGBH, the American Archive takes a deep dive into the history of the United States through decades of public broadcasts, from a 1968 interview with the radicalized Muhammad Ali to Rep. Barbara Jordan during day seven of the 1974 televised Watergate hearings, and from uncut interviews with John Hope Franklin and Togo Tanaka about the Great Depression to entire episodes of American Experience (a recent favorite is The Feud, about the legendary family conflict between the Hatfields and the McCoys). You can also visit WGBH’s Open Vault for the landmark Vietnam: A Television History, the Murder of Emmett Till Interviews, Meredith Monk’s dance performance Turtle Dreams, a poetry reading by Galway Kinnell, and more.
Documentary Educational Resources
Now until June 1, DER is offering unlimited streaming access to some of their finest documentaries, including Robert Gardner’s Dead Birds (1964) and George C. Stoney’s How the Myth Was Made (1979). The Massachusetts-based distribution company was founded in 1968 by the ethnographic filmmakers John Marshall and Timothy Ash, whose own films are also available gratis.
“A visual journalism field unit," Field of Vision commissions and creates original nonfiction short films driven by an artistic approach, telling stories of our world from new perspectives. Notable recent films include the Oscar-nominated shorts In the Absence by Yi Seung-Jun and A Night at the Garden by Marshall Curry.
As a law-abiding American taxpayer, you’re entitled to free access to this Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary series. One celebrated recent production is Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’s 2019 Oscar-nominated feature For Sama.
For more than 40 years, Icarus Films has been a leading distributor of beautifully crafted nonfiction work, including the recent release Heimat Is a Space in Time by Thomas Heise (50% of your ticket purchase goes to Anthology Film Archives).
Tune into Indie Lens Pop Up for digital screenings and online community discussions of terrific new independent documentary films, including upcoming events around Matt Wolf’s Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project and Sergio M. Rapu and Elena Rapu’s Eating Up Easter.
An incubator and presenter of some of the best independent American documentaries being made today, ITVS (Independent Television Service) is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Its productions routinely make their way to the awards platforms of the Oscars, Sundance, and festivals abroad before going on to television broadcast. Their website outlines past and current projects that can be streamed via the sites of public television broadcasting programs like POV, Independent Lens, Global Voices, and Women of the World.
Begun during the violent social upheaval of 1960s Chicago, Kartemquin has dedicated itself to promoting democracy through documentary storytelling. Sample from more than 50 Emmy- and Peabody-winning productions, including Steve James’s Hoop Dreams.
Billing itself as television’s longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films, the award-winning PBS series POV (“Point of View”) has won every imaginable prize during its three-decade existence, from Emmys and Oscars to Peabodys and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards. Here you can watch acclaimed films you may have missed in cinemas, including Hasan Fazili’s Midnight Traveler and Megan Myland and Jon Shenk’s Lost Boys of Sudan.
Long before Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg (self-)promoted a revolution with their Dogme 95 movement of the 1990s, the Danish film industry produced some of the world’s most original movies. The Danish Film Archive has made more than 400 digitized silent films available through its streaming platform, providing a remarkable glimpse of a pioneering cinema in its infancy, organized by themes (The Great War, Funny Guys Get into Trouble) and legendary personalities, including the international movie star Asta Nielsen.
The Jean Desmet Collection of EYE Filmmuseum
One of the crown jewels of EYE, the national film archives and museum of the Netherlands, this collection represents the life’s work of a film industry entrepreneur of the 1910s. It contains silent-era comedies, dramas, travelogues, and gorgeous hand-tinted images of a tulip-festooned Amsterdam at the turn of the century.
“The Silent Comedy Watch Party” with Ben Model and Steve Massa
Fun for all ages! Every Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EDT, you can watch a trio of silent slapstick comedies with live piano accompaniment by Ben Model, one of MoMA’s regular performers, and informative and witty introductions by Model and film historian Steve Massa from their very own living rooms (at an appropriate social distance of 10,560 feet).
Virtual Views: Home Movies
Watch nine films from MoMA’s Private Lives Public Spaces exhibition, with commentary from the curators.
Brittany Shaw, Ron Magliozzi
Apr 9, 2020
How to See
How to See Film: An Anthology
In these selections from our video series, curators introduce favorite film subjects, from Westerns and silents to Kung Fu and Frankenstein.
Mar 25, 2020