Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.

Center Stage (Stanley Kwan)

Following her breakout with Jackie Chan in Police Story and before her iconic roles in the films of Wong Kar-wai and Olivier Assayas, Maggie Cheung delivered one of the best performances of her career in Stanley Kwan’s lush, definitive, and boldly conceived biopic Center Stage, also known as Actress. Now gorgeously restored in 4K from the original negative, and approved by Kwan himself, the film follows Cheung as iconic silent film star Ruan Lingyu, who committed suicide at the age of 24 in 1935 after a tumultuous private life that was frequent fodder for the vicious Shanghai tabloids—and began to mirror the melodramas that brought her fame. With Cheung receiving the Best Actress award at Berlinale, the film also mixes in interviews dissecting acting and fame, while also interspersing actual footage from Ruan Lingyu’s films.

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Dark Glasses (Dario Argento)

As you watch Dark Glasses, Dario Argento’s first film in a decade, it’s nice to think back on his recent performance as the aging film critic in Gaspar Noé’s Vortex—a man who wistfully quoted Edgar Allen Poe’s theories on dreams as he wandered through an apartment covered with canonical posters and movie detritus—only to look back up and see the blind protagonist of his latest film, and the young Chinese boy who has become her valet, attacked by a pack of unruly river snakes. Yes, Dario Argento’s first film in ten years is pretty fun, for a while—and no, not near his best. – Rory O. (full review)

Where to Stream: Shudder

The Jess Franco Collection

Jess Franco was a true iconoclast, channeling his deepest libidinal desires and darkest fears into films with no apparent concern for narrative convention or boundaries of mainstream taste. Filmatique’s six-movie collection includes fan favorites Female Vampire and The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, as well as the long-lost Nightmares Come at Night.

Where to Stream: Filmatique

The Last City and The Lobby (Heinz Emigholz)

Canadian novelist and playwright Robertson Davies once compared the continuity of a reader’s relationship to literature to that of architecture transforming in appearance with the rise and fall of the sun: “A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.” Davies’ refrain resounds throughout watching The Last City and The Lobby, the latest films from veteran experimental filmmaker Heinz Emigholz. Although each can be viewed as standalone, their thematic and formal ambitions are best realized as two parts of a larger whole––a concept expressed therein by the films themselves. – Kyle P. (full review)

Where to Stream: Film Movement+

Mediterranée (Jean-Daniel Pollet)

A key inspiration for Godard’s Contempt, this featurette from the unsung Jean-Daniel Pollet glides across time as it pieces together footage from an epic road trip along the Mediterranean coast. Pollet’s poetic assemblage of ancient relics, crashing waves, and a Spanish corrida—among other moving motifs—made a lasting impression on French cinephiles upon initial release.

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

The Northman (Robert Eggers)

Whether the dread-inducing rituals of witches or a turpentine-fueled descent into hysteria, Robert Eggers’ cinema is of unflinching immersion. Trapped in the center of symmetrical frames and surrounded by immaculate production design, the only escape for his characters’ fury seems to be bounding off the screen onto the audience themselves. The effect oscillates between entrancing and grating, wearing one down until there’s no choice but to succumb to the mania and plunge into the madness. A considerable step up in scope, his third feature The Northman gratefully bears scant touches of a compromised vision, delivering a bloody, visceral Viking epic that utilizes a simple revenge template as the canvas to examine the contradictions of a hero’s journey. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon Prime

Piggy (Carlota Pereda)

There’s a reason Carlota Pereda films Sara (Laura Galán) urinating through her clothes as an old friend (Irene Ferreiro’s Claudia), who’s drifted away towards the clique that bullies her, puts a bloody hand on the back window of a serial killer’s van while screaming for help. We need to understand her fear. Just because Sara is a teenager who’s been brutally victimized by an entire town of peers doesn’t mean she’s measuring the situation and deciding to let Claudia, Maca (Claudia Salas), and Roci (Camille Aguilar) die. She’s afraid for her own life. What if she tries to save them and the killer (Richard Holmes) watching from the driver’s seat simply throws her in the back? So she freezes. And, to her surprise, he helps her instead. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Private Desert (Aly Muritiba)

Writer-director Aly Muritiba said something very interesting about his new film Private Desert in the lead-up to its Venice debut. He spoke about a desire for its success to not simply be of the “preaching to the choir” variety. Rather than hope an artist, who already understands the breadth of love, could find something at the core of his love story, Muritiba wanted to open the hearts of those trapped under the oppressive force of conservatism and traditionalism. This tale of a conflicted policeman discovering his online lover isn’t who he thinks she is possesses the opportunity to connect with those who see themselves in the former, not the latter. And he embraces that possibility. Some audience members have not. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Kino Now

Rose Plays Julie (Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor)

Get ready for a tense ride because writers/directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s Rose Plays Julie never relinquishes its sense of brooding until the very last frame’s welcome exhale of relief. Why should they considering the subject matter? This is a dark story dealing with a reality too many women have experienced without the means for guaranteed justice. So while it might be a spoiler to say, I’m not sure it’s possible to speak about the film without mentioning how everything we witness is the result of a rape that occurred two decades previously. That event led to Rose’s (Ann Skelly) birth. It forced Ellen (Orla Brady) to explicitly state that she did not want her daughter to ever reach out. And its shared pain drives them today. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Film Movement+

Stars at Noon (Claire Denis)

Stars at Noon––based on a minor novel by the underrated American author Denis Johnson––is Denis’ second film to premiere this year, after Both Sides of the Blade at the Berlinale, and a slightly rocky reaction to that film diminished some of the anticipation for this one. Her latest work is not one that feels fully achieved and realized, suggesting an absolutely confident mastery of her primary source material, but it’s still deeply watchable, laden with sex and intimacy in a way that doesn’t apologize for itself, and provides an alternate gloss on her key themes of power, bodies, and postcolonial afterlives. – David K. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

Also New to Streaming

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Tucker & Dale vs Evil
A White, White Day
The Vampire Doll
Rosa Rosae. A Spanish Civil War Elegy
When a Stranger Calls


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