From April 24, twelve cult films directed by French New Wave filmmaker François Truffaut will be available for streaming on Netflix. This is due to Netflix’s new partnership with MK2 Films, the Paris-based sales and distribution company.
A selection of French and international masterpieces from the MK2 catalog will be available on Netflix in 2020. It will cover a catalog of 50 films directed by François Truffaut, Charlie Chaplin, Alain Resnais, David Lynch, Emir Kusturica, Jacques Demy, Michael Haneke , Xavier Dolan, Steve McQueen and Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Netflix is strengthening its selection of films to meet a wide variety of cinematic tastes. After having acquired the fantastic films of Ghibli, it will now make available a good part of the cinematographic masterpieces of the world cinematographic heritage, allowing a wider audience to discover or rediscover them. That’s good news for moviegoers outside of the US who don’t have access to Criterion Channel. Some of these titles are already available for rental on Amazon.
MK2 Chairman of the Board, Nathanael Karmitz, said: “We are very pleased that Netflix is strengthening its position in heritage cinema and major international authors with this agreement. The role of MK2, through its catalog of more than 800 titles representing a part of the world history of cinema, is to contribute to the transmission of this universal cinematographic heritage and to make these films accessible to as many people as possible, including younger.
This is probably the time to immerse ourselves in our cinematographic heritage because we are confined to our homes and the cinemas are closed. If you don’t know where to start with Truffaut, it might be best to start at the beginning: The 400 blows is Truffaut’s first feature film. This is the film he’s best known for, alongside Jules and Jim.
Truffaut was a film critic at the Cinema notebooks journal before starting to make his own films as a director. He was part of the French New Wave movement of the late 1950s, a new generation of filmmakers (Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Agnès Varda, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer) who broke with cinematographic rules established at the time, and which promoted the idea of a author cinema– the idea that cinema, like novels, had its own author. cinephile par excellence, Truffaut lived and breathed cinema. His love for cinema is felt through his films.
Truffaut’s first film The 400 blows was critically acclaimed when it was released in 1959 and is still celebrated today as a classical masterpiece. Semi-autobiographical, the film follows a young adolescent Antoine Doisnel, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, who grows up in Paris, who struggles at home with his mother and stepfather, and with his teachers at school. It is a representation of childhood that still feels relevant today. The film stands on its own, but you might want to know how Antoine Doisnel fares later in life. Stolen kisses, Full board room, and Love on the run are all suites in a sense to The 400 blows, and are all available on Netflix (except Antoine and Colette which was the first that Truffaut made which continued the story of Doisnel; it is however part of the anthology of 1962 Love at twenty).
My favorite out of the 12 movies now available on Netflix is Shoot the pianist, released a year after the success of The 400 blows in 1960. The film features the great Franco-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour who plays Charlie Kohler, the shy pianist in a bar trying to forget his prestigious past as a virtuoso concert pianist known then as Edouard Saroyan. His past, however, catches up with him once his brother, fleeing two gangsters, comes to ask for his help. Adapted from a novel by David Goodis– The low published in 1956– Shoot the pianist is a playful homage to 1950s American gangster films. Images are from legendary French New Wave cinematographer Raoul Coutard.
Released in 1980, The last metro with Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu. It is a historical drama that takes place in Paris during World War II. Marion, played by Deneuve, hides her Jewish husband, Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bivez), in the basement of a Parisian theater during the Nazi Occupation of France. Marion, herself an actress in the theater company, tries to bring the theater to life. She falls for the main actor of the troupe, Bernard, played by Depardieu. As in all of Truffaut’s films, he’s part of romance, drama, and comedy, with two great leading performances.
As reported earlier in the week, Netflix saw 15.8 million new subscribers in the first three months of this year, making it now one of the largest streaming services in the world. Some of the masterpieces of cinema are now available to nearly 183 million subscribers worldwide.