Netflix may get most of the attention, but it’s hardly a one-stop shop for cinephiles looking to stream essential classic and contemporary films. Each of the below streaming platforms caters to its own niche of film obsessives.
From the boundless wonders of the Criterion Channel to the new frontiers of streaming offered by the likes of Disney+ and Peacock, IndieWire’s monthly guide highlights the best of what’s coming to every major streamer, with an eye toward exclusive titles that may help readers decide which of these services is right for them.
Plus, with the Oscars just a few days away, it’s prime time to revisit or discover movies that have refreshingly nothing to do with this year’s awards season.
Here is your guide for March 2023.
“The Piano Teacher” (dir. Michael Haneke, 2001)
In Austrian director Michael Haneke’s icy, unhappy adaptation of Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, the great Isabelle Huppert plays Erika, a piano teacher governed by dark desires and sick needs who takes up a sadomasochistic long game with her pupil (Benoît Magimel). Walter awakens in Erika a strange kind of love that brings her carefully managed, paraphilic existence crashing to the ground.
The role won Huppert Best Actress at Cannes, and it’s one you can’t imagine any other actress playing or even attempting to take on. In it, she has a borderline-incestuous fixation on her mother, self-mutilates for sexual release, and terrorizes her students (putting shards of broken glass in the coat pockets of one she deems a rival).
But Huppert is unafraid, and as she noted in a recent IndieWire interview, she doesn’t “particularly like when people smile too much or are too happy onscreen.” That’s for sure.
Available to stream March 1.
-“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (3/1)
-“The Executioners” (3/1)
-“Shanghai Express” (3/1)
“Giraffe” (dir. Anna Sofie Hartmann, 2000)
A story about displacement, life changes and memory, the drama, “Giraffe” — which premiered at Locarno, captured the FIPRESCI Prize at the Viennale and makes its North American premiere on Film Movement Plus — is woven around a community where people are asked to abandon their homes to make way for the construction of a tunnel that will connect Denmark and Germany. —Courtesy Film Movement
Available to stream March 31.
-“A White White Day” (3/3)
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (dir. Laura Poitras, 2022)
Two towering artists collide to make documentary magic in this Oscar-nominated work from Laura Poitras about the life and activism of revolutionary American photographer Nan Goldin. A leading figure of New York’s downtown avant-garde art scene, Goldin’s work has always been political, from early photographs of sex workers, drug users, and queers to her best-known piece, a harrowing self-portrait of domestic abuse. Taking its title from the writing of her late sister, whose early suicide radicalized Goldin at a young age, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” contextualizes the artist’s origin story with her present-day activism.
Rather than a straightforward biography looking back, the film follows Goldin’s present-day work with PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), the advocacy group she founded to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. Incensed by the hypocrisy of the art world, the group staged many actions calling on art institutions to stop taking donations from the Sackler family, owners of Oxycontin producer Purdue Pharma. Though Goldin and her relatively small group were first ignored and written off, the Sackler name has now been removed from The Met, The Guggenheim, The Louvre and many others.
Though it’s easy to find the guiding principles in an oeuvre as uncompromising as Goldin’s, Poitras layers each pillar brilliantly, crystallizing the artist’s far-reaching legacy in all of its hard-won glory. —Jude Dry
Available to stream March 19.
-“I Am Love” (3/1)
-“A Dangerous Method” (3/1)
The 95th Annual Academy Awards
OK, so this isn’t actually a movie movie, but what better tribute to the movies this month on Hulu than the 95th annual Academy Awards? While the ceremony will stream on ABC (and on Hulu live) on Sunday, March 12, beginning at 5 p.m. PT, Hulu subscribers with a standard package can stream the starry ceremony in its entirety on Monday, March 13.
This year’s festivities will likely see a bevy of honors go to The Daniels’ exuberantly weird “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — an indie we are happy to see take the top prizes even if its fate feels tiresomely preordained after months of covering the awards season. The 2023 Oscars will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, with presenters including Jonathan Majors, Ariana DeBose, Jessica Chastain, Troy Kotsur, Riz Ahmed, Questlove, Andrew Garfield, Florence Pugh, Nicole Kidman, and many more.
Available to stream March 13.
-“In the Cut” (3/1)
-“Official Competition” (3/16)
“Melancholia” (dir. Lars von Trier, 2011)
As Justine in Lars von Trier’s masterful end-of-days drama “Melancholia,” Kirsten Dunst professes, in the face of utter, inexplicable doom, that she “knows things.” Which is why when her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) suggests that, in Earth’s final hours, they decamp to the terrace to drink champagne and sing songs, Dunst’s vacant and pained-eyed Justine suggests, “Why don’t we meet on the fucking toilet?” There is something quietly heroic about Justine’s decision to ditch her perfect husband on their wedding night, quit her soul-sucking advertising job, and screw the best man on the golf course because, why the hell not? Our lives are over, anyway.
Dunst and von Trier are an alchemical pairing, with the actress carrying the Dane’s gigantic metaphor for depression on her shoulders. Dunst perfectly portrays a woman in crisis, a stand-in for a crumbling planet but also a very real person. At the end of the world, what really matters anymore? “Life is only on Earth, and not for long,” she says. A toast to oblivion.
Available to stream March 21.
-“Cocaine Cowboys” (3/21)
-“Queen of Versailles” (3/21)
-“The Eyes of My Mother” (3/23)
“Carol” (dir. Todd Haynes, 2015)
If Cate Blanchett doesn’t bring home an Academy Award this weekend, her fans can console themselves later in the month by revisiting one of her best performances.
By now, virtually everything that could have been said about Todd Hayne’s “Carol” has been — but that doesn’t change the fact that it remains one of the best love stories of the 21st century.
The stunning portrayal of forbidden love against the backdrop of a repressive 1950s America is Blanchett at her absolute best — which means it’s better than virtually anyone else’s best. —Christian Zilko
Available to stream March 20.
-“Sleepless in Seattle” (3/1)
-“Magic Mike XXL” (3/1)
Three Films by Jane Campion
This month, OVID.tv features three early and rare short films by the great “Power of the Dog” Best Director Oscar winner Jane Campion (whose underrated but rising-in-appreciation “In the Cut” also hits Hulu this month).
“Peel” (1982), “Passionless Moments” (1983), and “A Girl’s Own Story” (1984) all premiere on the streaming platform this month. Campion brought these underseen short films to Cannes in the years before her 1989 surreal coming-of-ager “Sweetie” became her feature debut.
“Peel” follows a summertime father-son road trip, while “Passionless Moments” chronicles impressionistic vignettes from a Sydney neighborhood, and “A Girl’s Own Story” explores three young girls on the brink of womanhood in 1960s Australia.
Available to stream March 9.
-“How to Be a Good Wife” (3/10)
-“The Midnight Swim” (3/17)
“Nope” (dir. Jordan Peele, 2022)
How do we live with some of the shit that we’ve been forced to watch on a daily basis? Why are we so eager to immortalize the worst images that our world is capable of producing, and what kind of awful power do we lend such tragedies by sanctifying them into spectacles that can play out over and over again?
While Jordan Peele has fast become one of the most relevant and profitable of modern American filmmakers, “Nope” is the first time he’s been afforded a budget fit for a true blockbuster spectacle, and that’s exactly what he created. But if this smart, muscular, and massively entertaining flying saucer freak-out is such an old-school delight that it starts with a shout-out to early cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge (before paying homage to more direct influences like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), it’s also a thoroughly modern popcorn movie for and about viewers who’ve been inundated with — and addicted to — 21st-century visions of real-life terror.
The only sci-fi movie that might scare and delight Guy Debord and Ed Wood to the same degree, “Nope” offers a giddy throwback to the days of little green men and hubcap UFOs that hopes to revitalize those classic tropes for audiences who’ve seen too much bloodshed on their own screens to believe in Hollywood’s “bad miracles.” It’s a tractor beam of a movie pointed at people who’ve watched 9/11 happen so many times on network TV that it’s lost any literal meaning; who’ve scrolled past body cam snuff films in between Dril tweets; who’ve become accustomed to rubbernecking at American life from inside the wreckage. —David Ehrlich
Available to stream March 21.
-“Creed” and “Creed II” (3/1)
-“The Silent Twins” (3/1)
-“Top Gun: Maverick” (3/24)
“The Blair Witch Project” (dirs. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)
From IndieWire’s Best Performances of the 1990s:
The most powerful soliloquy in the history of found-footage horror movies is also the sub-genre’s most parodied moment, but that doesn’t diminish the power of Rei Hance’s (née Heather Donahue) tear-faced, snot-dripping, on-camera confessional, which launches “The Blair Witch Project” into its horrifying final act. The first horror movie selfie ever? Maybe not, but it’s certainly the most representative of its time.
For viewers haunted by “The Blair Witch Project” and it’s all-too-convincing premise as a feature-length edit of documentary footage discovered in the middle of the Maryland woods, the actress Heather Donahue and the character that shared her first name were inextricable. Her solution to people assuming she was actually a college filmmaker who went missing after she drove two friends into the forest to locate a fabled witch? Decamp to Hollywood and change her name to Rei Hance. Hance is now a writer and entrepreneur, and who could blame her for self-reinventing after becoming the face of a viral horror movie that she might never be able to shake? The border between actor and character has seldom been this blurry.
Available to stream March 31.
-“Greta & Hansel” (3/1)
-“The Company of Wolves” (3/9)
-“The Wicker Man” (3/31)
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