Even cinephiles who know little of the business of film distribution will have developed associations, however unconscious, between certain pre-feature corporate logos and the exhilarating cinematic experiences that tend to follow. What sort of picture comes to mind, for example, when you read the name Kino Lorber? Perhaps documentaries on such compelling subjects as New York Times street-fashion photographer Bill Cunningham or gone-viral Winnebago pitchman Jack Rebney; perhaps international genre spectacles of recent years like Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night or Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s Let the Corpses Tan.
Then again, your own taste in Kino Lorber-distributed movies may run to the likes of Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard’s 2014 meditation originally screened in 3D — or Derek Jarman’s autobiographical last testament Blue, which plays out entirely on a solid field of the eponymous color.
These are just a few of the more than 50 films now available free to watch on Kino Lorber’s Youtube channel. (Note that the actual number of viewable films may vary depending on your location.) Spanning various eras, genres, origins, and forms, together they offer a sense of the niche Kino Lorber has carved out for itself during its 45 years in business so far.
You may spot an old favorite on Kino Lorber’s Youtube channel, but the greater joy of exploring it lies in discovering films you missed the first time around. Gabe Klinger’s Porto, for instance, went practically unseen despite its evocative vision of the title city and posthumous showcase of acclaimed actor Anton Yelchin. Boasting a cast of Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Tim Roth, and Eric Stoltz, Michael Steinberg’s Bodies, Rest & Motion screened at Cannes as an Un Certain Regard selection back in 1993; surely the time has come for its reappraisal as a distillation of Generation-X ennui. Even Taika Waititi once made lesser-known movies in and about his native New Zealand. Thanks to Kino Lorber, his fans can can watch Boy, which launched him on the journey that has made him one of the most globally popular directors alive. See the complete playlist of films here.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.