Criterion, that great emblem of arthouse gatekeeping, is getting seriously into animation. Next month, it will release 31 indie animated titles on The Criterion Channel, its streaming service.
The films are a sample of prestige, adult-leaning indie animation from around the world. Titles range from the relatively famous (Oscar-nominated war documentary Waltz with Bashir, psychedelic French sci-fi classic Fantastic Planet) to the lesser known (Singaporean drama Tatsumi, Czech historical drama Alois Nebel). Some of our favorite features of recent years, like The Girl Without Hands and The Wolf House, are also on there, as well as established classics like Masaaki Yuasa’s Mind Game and Marcell Jankovics’ Son of the White Mare.
Animation has long been under-represented among Criterion’s dvd/Blu-ray releases: of the 1,476 titles in the company’s online catalogue, only six are categorized under the animation “genre.” The Criterion Channel has started to redress the imbalance somewhat by streaming a growing number of animated films. This bumper slate is a welcome leap forward.