The Auteurs (www.theauteurs.com) is a site for art film lovers. Their mission is to offer a huge selection of international art films by the world’s best directors for simple online viewing. Last night I watched an Italian film from 1960 called L’Avventura, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The image quality was excellent and the sound was also very clear. It was one of the best experiences with watching a film online that I’ve ever had. The image in this post is a reduced screenshot taken while I watched. The film itself is one of the great examples of Italian cinema and is one you will never forget. Apparently, The Auteurs has partnered with The Criterion Collection to bring many of the best films online. Each month The Criterion Collection selects three or four films to run on the site for free viewing in a sort of revolving festival of great cinema. This is an important connection for The Auteurs because Criterion is probably the very best thing that ever happened to DVDs. Their efforts at finding the very best sources for their films set them far apart from any other DVD producer. If you are serious about international cinema on DVD, you always look for what Criterion has to offer.
The site, which is still in beta, has about 120 films available at this point. Most of these cost $5 for a 7-day viewing period. There are also articles, film reviews, and member forums for discussing films and writing your own reviews. The monthly curated festivals look like a really good idea and seem to be offering a few free films each month.
But the key to success with a film site like this is volume. They must secure the rights to show many more films very quickly. Nothing makes people lose interest in a film site faster than a limited selection. For now, there are many films listed on the site which are not actually available which is somewhat disappointing. The site is trying to give visitors an idea of the kind of films they will offer, but it is a distraction that is unnecessary. Hopefully, the site will use its relationship with Criterion to drastically increase its library which shows great promise. The idea for a site that culls the best of international cinema is an excellent and overdue one. Now it remains to be seen if TheAuteurs.com can keep the attention of film lovers.