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“The films that truly resonate with us do more than just entertain. They inspire us, enrich us, and challenge our perspectives. Kanopy ensures that these films reach viewers around the world.”

This is a quote directly from the About page on Kanopy. It’s short, simplistic and to the point of what makes it a valuable digital resource. The content Kanopy provides is limitless in terms of diversity, inclusion, artistry and globalization. There’s a myriad of options on Kanopy, ranging from cutting edge documentaries, childrens materials, Hollywood, and Indie cinema. However, what separates Kanopy from other digital streaming applications is the vast array of Indie cinema through the Criterion Collection.

 No other film distributor has been as passionate or dedicated towards remastering, and releasing Indie films more than the Criterion Collection. Since 1984 the Criterion Collection has been remastering and restoring many films from all over the world. Their collection spans well over 1,000 films and counting. These are films that are produced with free expression, very little influence from major producers. Oftentimes independent directors have total control of the films they produce, providing unaltered  glances into unique perspectives. The Charles County Public Library has been working hard to build a collection of these films, however, with Kanopy so many of these films are available with one click.

In terms of diversity, Kanopy offers a broad spectrum of worldwide cinema. There is a film for everyone to enjoy. For American cinema, everything from classic Westerns such as Stagecoach, featuring Hollywood stalwarts of their time, John Wayne, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell and Claire Trevor. There is also expression through art, with films like Night of the Living Dead. This would seem like a film that would be a simplistic zombie horror, however, George A. Romero used this unusual medium as a canvas to express the civil rights movement in its climax. Katherine Hepburn stars in Summertime, a timeless romantic film with a beautiful setting in Venice. The comedic genius, Charlie Chaplin also stars in many films of the silent era. Perhaps his most classic, The Great Dictator is polarizing, as he plays a caricature of Adolf Hitler at the height of World War II.

For global cinema, there is almost an endless bounty of classic films that are worldly renowned for their impact on society and pop culture. Some selections that come to mind are Akira Kurosawa’s classic, Seven Samurai, a film where unique individuals from different backgrounds come together to help an oppressed village in Feudal Japan. Miss Julie by Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjoberg is a critique on the unequal societal class between man and woman. Released in 1951, it served as a turning point in Scandinavian cinema and influenced many films in the West. Black Orpheus ties in Greek Mythology with Afro-Brazilian culture. It’s stunning visuals, groundbreaking cast, music composition and the entire production create cinematic magic. The Battle of the Algiers is considered one of the most important films in political history, depicting the Algerian struggle against the French in the 1950s. These are just a small portion of the examples of what Kanopy provides.

Charles County Public Library is proud to provide Kanopy as a resource to engage, discover and learn. Kanopy’s mission is very similar, providing an opportunity to discover different possibilities, unique outlooks and observe other cultures. With their vast supply of Criterion Collection films, all of these opportunities are attainable with just a few simple clicks and a download.