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In March, we had a festival of free films on Hulu called Cinema Rarities, which highlighted some Criterion titles that haven’t come out on DVD or Blu-ray. Now, Cinema Rarities is back and bigger than ever. The titles in the original list (Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped, Kaneto Shindo’s The Naked Island, Bryan Forbes’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Kon Ichikawa’s Princess from the Moon, and Jaromil Jireš’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders) are again available to watch for free, but now you can also check out Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky, Frank Borzage’s History Is Made at Night, and Giuseppe de Santis’s Bitter Rice.
Included in the selection as well is Kenji Mizoguchi’s long unavailable masterwork The Life of Oharu. In this searing 1951 drama, made in the amazing final decade of the director’s career, which also included Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff, Kinuyo Tanaka is devastating as a poor woman sold off by her father to be the mistress of a wealthy lord, before she falls into prostitution and is cast out of society. One of the director’s most haunting studies of female subjugation, Oharu is relentlessly gripping, and you can watch it for free in its entirety, below or at Hulu. And remember, if you sign up for Hulu Plus for just $7.99, you can see hundreds of other Criterion films, including a lot more unavailable on any home video format.