Fandor is a streaming service like Netflix, but it's definitely not for the average, everyday movie fan. If you see one movie a year, and it involves superheroes or has "Hunger" or "Games" in the title, then you shouldn't bother. But if you have ever witnessed the unspooling of a scratchy print at a repertory theater; driven across town to find an obscure VHS tape at a local video store; or hunted online for rare, bootleg DVDs of some 1960s exploitation movie or an unreleased Taiwanese movie from the 1990s; then you should know about Fandor.
Fandor, essentially, is a treasure chest for hardcore movie buffs; folks who, instead of blood, have celluloid in their veins. Combing through the site's inventory, which claims more than 5000 titles currently online, is like going to a massive used bookstore. You may not find anything specific, but a glance in just about any direction will reveal some amazing gem, punctuated with excited sounds of "oh, wow!" Having a hard time finding Claire Denis' 2001 vampire film Trouble Every Day on DVD? It's on Fandor. Thinking about revisiting Ringo Lam's 1992 Hong Kong action flick Full Contact? It's on Fandor.
Launched in 2011, Fandor was never intended as a direct competitor of Netflix's, but rather a supplement, or an "indie" version of Netflix. Though the official number probably goes up and down depending on the month, Fandor has claimed that some 80 percent of its movies are not available on Netflix. The price is comparable, too; movie fans can choose to pay a flat fee of $10 a month, each month, or they can plunk down $90 for a year's membership, which equals a discounted $7.50 per month.
Last year, the site negotiated a deal with Hulu to stream a handful of Criterion Collection titles each month. The films are shown for a very limited time — a matter of days — so it pays to check the site every day and schedule your viewings. Recently, clicking on the "classic" tab brought up Sergei Eisenstein's two-part Ivan the Terrible as the most popular title in that category. But it won't be there long. Other recent picks included Robert Bressons's Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) and Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu (1953).
Additionally, Fandor has recently offered day-and-date releases for new films like Ramon Zürcher's The Strange Little Cat and Rob Nilsson's A Bridge to the Border.
Spending about an hour on the site brings up a long list of strikingly disparate and wide-ranging films. The site has a large selection of Werner Herzog films, including the great Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), plus Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist (1970), Eric Rohmer'sThe Marquise of O (1976), Federico Fellini's The Clowns (1970), Luis Bunuel's L'Age d'Or (1930), and Wong Kar-wai's Days of Being Wild (1991).
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