Even as someone whose job it is to cover the streaming scene, I admit I’m often stumbling through it as blindly as everyone else. Away from the well-publicised brands like Netflix or Amazon, there are many outlets I find more by accident than design. Such is the case with the rather unprepossessingly named Pantaflix, a site that had been in my peripheral internet vision for some time through hazy, lazy searches for viewing alternatives, without ever quite inviting me to click on it. A German-based pay-per-view film site founded by the actor Matthias Schweighöfer, it’s been available in the UK for nearly three years now, yet neither its content nor its brand ever quite drew me in.
That changed a couple of weeks ago: for an unrelated project I was seeking out the early documentary shorts of late Polish master Krzysztof Kieślowski, and finding them rather hard to track down online – only to find them streaming, seemingly exclusively, at Pantaflix, where they’re splashily billed as a top attraction on the homepage.
Kieślowski - Films - Exercise - Talking - Heads
Made across the 1970s, the 16 Kieślowski films range from his searching vox-pop exercise Talking Heads to the blunt procedural verite of Hospital to the candid unemployment confessional I Don’t Know. Bearing the poised humanity and grace of Kieślowski’s later fiction work, despite their monochrome roughness, they proved worth the search – though at £2.99 a pop there ought to be a cheaper way to watch them. (Some have been stuck, rather randomly, as extras on Blu-ray rereleases of the director’s more famous works.) A box set is surely called for.
As Pantaflix bait, however, they did the job: I was curious to see what other treasures were buried on the kind of website that spotlights 40-year-old Kieślowski docs as prominently as Netflix does the new series of Queer Eye. As...
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