To think that it's been over a year since the YouTube shakedown of 2009, when I temporarily lost my account during a particularly zealous effort to manage the content on YouTube containing copyrighted material, such as my video essays. Well here we are a year later, and if anything there is even more copyrighted stuff to be found on the site - and we're not just talking videos like mine that re-appropriate media, but entire feature films.
I'm no longer sure what mechanisms are in place to regulate copyrighted content, but judging from what I'm finding on the site, whatever guidelines are in place are being enforced rather hazily. Whatever the case, there's a cornucopia of great films to be watched in their entirety on the site, especially rare and hard-to-find films that have mostly been distributed within the domain of file sharing networks.
I've already benefited from YouTube being the source for at least three films I've watched for Shooting Down Pictures: Subarnarekha, Toute une nuit, and My Friend Ivan Lapshin (in the case of the latter, the video I linked to watch the film was taken down, but since then another upload has become available). And a recent conversation with Fernando Croce yielded links to several other films, including Victor Erice's El Sur, a film that I watched for my project just a couple months ago on an unsubbed import DVD while following a printout of the subtitles. Now you can watch it on YouTube with the English subtitles perfectly synched.
I'm not sure whether I should bring attention to these films for fear of them being taken down. But I figure that these videos were put up to be watched, and if they are going to be taken down, then might as well encourage people to see them while they can. Nothing on YouTube stays secret for long anyway.
And so, here's the first (and only?) edition of the Shooting Down Pictures YouTube Film Festival, a handpicked selection of films that are part of the TSPDT 1000 that can be watched in their entirety on YouTube. Of course there are many more to be found, but I'm hedging my bets by singling out just these five. I consider all of them to be masterpieces.
And since this is a do-it-yourself film festival, I encourage you to share links to films that you've found on YouTube or elsewhere, be they part of the TSPDT 1000 or just cool films you want to share. I've included some of Fernando's recommendations at the bottom of this post.
TSPDT #909: Seventh Heaven (1927, Frank Borzage)
TSPDT #918: Jour de Fete (1949, Jacques Tati)
TSPDT #981: Mothlight (1963, Stan Brakhage)
TSPDT #972: Chloe in the Afternoon (1972, Eric Rohmer - RIP)
TSPDT#919: Sonatine (1992, Takeshi Kitano) - dubbed in Spanish!
More tips from Fernando, not from the TSPDT 1000 but highly recommended:
Fighting Friends (1933, Yasujiro Ozu): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6dShnpf464
Lotna (1959, Andrzej Wajda): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbXkKNjcGyw
Cantata (1963, Miklos Jancso): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpW5Fs33deg
Taipei Story (1985, Edward Yang): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gICENI5aGk
Daughter of the Nile (1987, Hou Hsiao-hsien): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uglzStEM8tM