Cinephiles Rejoice! Hulu Plus Offers Criterion Collection

Cinephiles Rejoice! Hulu Plus Offers Criterion Collection

Gregory Han
Feb 15, 2011

A lot of our friends love and rave about Hulu (though one of our team didn't agree), the online video service which serves up many of the most popular TV shows. But personally I've never found all too much that I cared for in regards to the programming offered, so the hype and appeal of Hulu was wasted on me. Well...until today, when Hulu announced a partnership with a company whose library is much more to my liking!

As announced over at the Criterion Collection blog:

Starting today, there are more than 150 of our most important films online on the Hulu Plus subscription service. Over the coming months, that number will swell to more than 800 films. For the true cinephile, this should be a dream come true. On Hulu Plus, you'll find everything in our library, from Academy Award winners to many of the most famous films by art-house superstars like Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, and Federico Fellini to films so rare that they have never been seen in the U.S. in any medium. Some of these lost gems have been so hard to see that even most of the Criterion staff will see them for the first time only when they go live on Hulu Plus! Each month, we'll be highlighting a mix of programs, centered on themes, directors, actors, and other creative artists, as well as celebrity picks, and mixing them with deep cuts from the catalog that will be unknown to all but the most prominent cinephiles in the world.

You'll need Hulu Plus subscription to get onboard with the cinephile action via Hulu. Unfortunately our new Apple TV doesn't permit Hulu Plus even as an option (Netflix streaming offers some of the same titles, so no big loss), but our iPad and laptop gives us access to the Criterion library when we want to enjoy some Jacque Tati on the go. Just note, since this is streaming content, some of the appeal of Criterion's attention to detail with video and sound is lost in the process. Not so much an issue with certain films, while very evident with others.

What's also very interesting to note is the Criterion Collection fans' responses to the announcement. The opinion ranges from a few enthused "hurrahs" to a somewhat disenchanted view about "progress" moving film away from material ownership. Personally speaking, owning a copy of a film isn't so much important as experiencing it, so my own concerns mostly focus upon the loss of high standard production Criterion puts into their DVD and Blu-ray releases, not the loss of physically owning yet another item to take up space in the home. But all being said, if more people are exposed to smaller and sometimes forgotten art house fare, it seems a fair tradeoff.

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