By Craig Hubert | Get ready to stay in this weekend. As a Valentine’s Day gift, the Criterion Collection has opened up its archives on Hulu (only available to subscribers) to allow free, unlimited access throughout the entire holiday weekend. There are a lot to choose from — over 800 titles, way more than you can ever watch in a year, let alone a weekend. We’ve gone through the catalog and selected five must-see films, all available to stream but unavailable on DVD in the United States. Take the time to watch these now because you never know when you’ll be able to see them again.
“Princess from the Moon,” Kon Ichikawa (1987)
If you’re looking for an escape, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check out Japanese master Kon Ichikawa’s “Princess from the Moon,” a quizzical and ambitious sci-fi story about the mysterious origins of a couple’s adopted daughter, based on a 9th-century Japanese legend. Criterion has released a few of Ichikawa’s more well known features (“The Burmese Harp,” “The Makioka Sisters”), but no word on when this bizarre oddity will be released.
“Swann in Love,” Volker Schlöndorff (1984)
For a writer who is supposedly unadaptable, Marcel Proust’s work has been translated to film numerous times. One of the best, “Swann in Love,” from director Volker Schlöndorff, stars Jeremy Irons as the title character and Italian actress Ornella Muti as Odette. For serious, literary-minded viewers only.
“Valerie and Her Week of Wonders,” Jaromil Jireš (1970)
It will take an entire weekend to decode the mysteries of “Valerie,” an odd and fascinating puzzle of a film that looks at the awakening of a young girl as the onset of menstruation triggers horrible fantasies and lush nightmares. This one will stick in your brain for a long time.
“Beware of a Holy Whore,” Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1971)
There is a bevy of unreleased Fassbinder films streaming (not to mention everything released by Criterion so far), but “Beware of a Holy Whore” is one of our favorites: a behind-the-scenes drama featuring most of Fassbinder’s repertory of actors, including an amazing performance by Lou Castel. “Beware” is supposedly autobiographical, with scenes based on events that occurred on Fassbinder’s sets, which adds another layer of tension.
“Mikey and Nicky,” Elaine May (1976)
One of the best kept secrets whispered among cinephiles is that the greatest John Cassavetes film is one he didn’t even direct. “Mikey and Nicky,” from comedy legend Elaine May, is a strange sort of gangster movie in which our two main characters, played by Cassavetes and Peter Falk, argue, fight, laugh, and debate their friendship. May reportdly used three cameras and kept them running for long periods of time, resulting in a film that is loose and captures spontaneous interactions between the actors.
Image: Criterion Collection