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With your D.C. library card, stream these classic Criterion films for free

Get your popcorn ready because these films are worth your time

If you have a D.C. Public Library card, you can enjoy more than books, but also a variety of films.
Photo via D.C. Public Library, Paul Rivera

Having a library card means having access to many things, such as hundreds of movies from the Criterion Collection. Since 1984, the collection has built a repository of cinematic classics worth preserving and celebrating, and now 400 of them are available for every D.C. resident with a library card.

Along with the Criterion Collection, users can also stream TV shows, documentaries, stand-up specials, and children's shows from sources like PBS, BBC, the History Channel, and National Geographic, as reported by DCist.

Want to stream some classics already? Simply input your D.C. Public Library log-in information through the Alexander Street publishing platform.

If you’re unsure of what to see first, Curbed DC has you covered. Below, see three Criterion film recommendations (and one more-than-worthy PBS documentary) that allow architecture and design to be a supporting role.


Photo via Jose Luis Hidalgo R.

Antonio Gaudi

1984 • Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara

Described on the Criterion Collection website as “less a documentary than a visual poem,” this film takes an in-depth look at the breathtaking architecture and designs completed by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi.

Stream it on the Alexander Street publishing platform here.


Playtime

1967 • Directed by Jacques Tati

Nothing is quite as it seems in this classic film. Here, this comedy is structured in six sequences, each with its own setting. The settings offer a look at the new modernity of Paris, from the Trade Exhibition to the Royal Garden. Expect mostly modernist glass and steel high-rise buildings in this film, which is considered to be the director’s most daring work.

Stream it on the Alexander Street publishing platform here.


La Notte

1961 • Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

This drama follows an unhappily married bourgeois couple in post-war Milan whose happiness is threatened by an aloof seductress. Who is to blame for the bleak existence of the characters of this film? The isolating and stark architecture of the city, or simply modernity?

Stream it on the Alexander Street publishing platform here.


Frank Lloyd Wright: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick - Parts 1 and 2

2010 • Directed by Lynn Novick

This PBS documentary is not included in the Criterion Collection, but it still worth a watch. As one of the nation's most famous architects, Frank Lloyd Wright has designed over 1,000 structures, such as Fallingwater. Learn more about his legacy here.

Stream it on the Alexander Street publishing platform here.


Have any other recommendations (that are available on the Alexander Street publishing platform)? Let Curbed DC know in the comments.

Have A D.C. Library Card? You Can Stream The Criterion Collection And Thousands Of Other Movies [DCist]

5 Films Where Architecture Plays a Supporting Role [Curbed.com]

Evil buildings: Film’s most malicious architecture [Curbed.com]

3 Films Where Architecture Informs the Plot—and Characters' Psyches [Curbed.com]

13 movies to stream for architecture and design lovers [Curbed.com]