The characters are often barely managing to stay afloat in the selections in this week’s festival of free films on Hulu. Whether set on a boat, on an island, or in a portside town, these movies take viewers out to sea. Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante poetically surveys a marriage on a barge; René Clément’s Purple Noon and Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water ratchet up the tension among trios on sailboats, and the yachting trip in Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura doesn’t go much better; and a young couple escapes to an island for a little liberating R&R in Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika.
The rarest title is Kaneto Shindo’s lyrical The Naked Island, which is a documentary-like 1960 drama about a poor farming family toiling alone on a small island. Shot in southwestern Japan’s Setonaikai archipelago, this is a singular vision of a time and place that makes the viewer feel the family’s struggle and isolation. We haven’t put The Naked Island out on DVD or Blu-ray, but you can stream the whole film below or over at Hulu. And don’t forget: if you sign up for Hulu Plus for just $7.99 a month, you can see the hundreds of other streaming Criterion films there.