There are a lot of steaming services out there. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, HBO Now, and the newly launched Disney +. So which of these is best for the cinema lover, especially as so many of the streaming services prioritize shows and series to get the binge watchers. The answer is the Criterion Channel.
The Criterion Channel is of course connected to the Criterion Collection, and those of you who know of the Criterion Collection are probably leaving this article right now to go subscribe, but for everyone else the Criterion Collection is the distributor for independent, foreign, or simply influential films. In their own words Criterion’s goal is “publishing important classic and contemporary films from around the world in editions that offer the highest technical quality.” Essentially these are the best works in the cinema world, the first piece ever distributed by Criterion was Citizen Kane. Other major names include Kurosawa, Lynch, Eisenstien, Tarkovsky, Godard, Fellini, Hitchcock, and Truffaut. While The Criterion Channel has only around 1,500 movies, in comparison to Netflix’s close to 4,000, every single one of these movies is among the top ten percent or is highly influential across film making as a whole.
The Criterion Channel is clearly not for everyone. There are no superhero movies here, these are art films, exploring the human condition and pushing the medium of film making to its limits. But even if there is only a passing interest in the history of the medium and Criterion Channel would be the place to start.