Okay, film fans, we have some exciting news to bring you — the Criterion Channel is coming back in Spring 2019, bigger and better than before.
As you may already know, with the demise of FilmStruck (RIP), the Criterion Channel was without a home. Now, the Criterion Channel is coming back as an independent service that sounds like it might very well be the spiritual successor to FilmStruck that fans have been waiting to hear about.
In a statement, Criterion says the channel will be “a movie lover’s dream streaming service, with smart thematic programming, where the history of cinema can live and breathe, where a new generation of filmmakers and film lovers can explore the classics or revel in rarities, where adventurous cinephiles can champion films that have never gotten their due, and newcomers can easily find guidance from major filmmakers, top scholars, curators, and other experts from all walks of life.”
Now, you may be wondering, this sounds all well and good, but how is this any different than the previous Criterion Channel? According to the release, not only with Criterion be pulling from its extensive library of classic films to showcase, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries, but the streaming service will also feature films from WarnerMedia’s massive library, specially curated for this experience.
If you read that last bit and thought, “Uh oh, WarnerMedia is involved?” then you’ll probably want to brace yourself for this. Yes, the Criterion Channel is a brand-new streaming service, built on the foundation of the previous iteration of the Channel, but it appears that this new launch is WarnerMedia’s answer for those fans angry over FilmStruck’s death. Not only will Criterion Channel be offered as an independent service (that pretty much everyone reading this should sign up for), but it will also be added to the streaming package deal that WarnerMedia is launching in the fourth quarter of 2019.
So, this may not be the FilmStruck revival that you were hoping for, but it sure does seem to be the best possible compromise that WarnerMedia was willing to make, considering the huge outcry from film fans over the last week.
Now, moving on to better news, Criterion also announced the new additions to its coveted Collection. Coming in February, there is yet another group of discs coming our way that is sure to cause cinephiles to empty their wallets.
Headlining the February additions to the Criterion Collection is Charles Burnett’s classic “To Sleep With Anger,” starring Danny Glover. The 1990 award-winning film is coming to Blu-ray for the first time, with a brand-new 4K restoration. That’s not all, Brigitte Bardot stars in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “La Verité.” The classic courtroom thriller is making its way to home video for the first time ever. Ingmar Bergman’s “Shame” is also getting the Criterion treatment, with a stand-alone release.
Rounding out the February releases are Luchino Visconti’s “Death in Venice,” starring Dirk Bogarde, making it’s Blu-ray debut and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s fifteen-hour epic mini-series “Berlin Alexanderplatz” is coming to the Criterion Collection.
So, while this has been a rough week or so for classic film fans, it appears that 2019 is actually shaping up to be pretty great, with this new batch of Criterion releases, and the launch of the Criterion Channel streaming service in spring 2019. You can read more about signing up for the new streaming service over at Criterion.