Bad news, cineastes. FilmStruck, the streaming service with a curated library of foreign and art films, is going dark at the end of the month.
As a devoted subscriber, I'm trying to get in as much viewing as possible before December, and I've scoured its vast library — from Godzilla to Godard — for some personal favorites that anyone who has the service should watch before it shuts down.
Children of Paradise (1945, France)
Director: Marcel Carné
Filmed in Nazi-occupied France, this epic melodrama explores the mores of 1830s Paris via the romantic entanglements of a street performer and the glamorous actress he loves from afar. Arguably the greatest French film ever made.
The Devils (1971, U.K.)
Director: Ken Russell
Labeled blasphemous and heretical upon release, Russell's spectacle of religious persecution and paranoia in 17th century France hasn't lost its dangerous, hysterical edge. In fact, it's never been released on DVD in the U.S.
Secrets & Lies (1996, U.K.)
Director: Mike Leigh
A white factory worker unexpectedly reconnects with the black daughter she gave up for adoption years ago — a reunion she keeps hidden from her family. A slow-burn study of race and class that's out of print on DVD.
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Spain)
Director: Victor Erice
A little girl in a provincial town sees 1931's Frankenstein and becomes convinced the film's monster is after her. A dreamy, haunting coming-of-age tale that also considers the reverberations of the Spanish Civil War.
Vagabond (1985, France)
Director: Agnès Varda
From one of the paragons of the French New Wave, a verite-style narrative following a wayward teenager in the days leading to her inevitable death. Its premise suggests fatalism, but this is really a tender, bruising human portrait.
Woman in the Dunes (1964, Japan)
Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
A Sisyphean parable about an entomologist who becomes trapped at the bottom of a sand dune with a lonely woman being kept there under mysterious circumstances. Strange, ghostly, intense and beautiful. ♦