Archive Treasures online, streaming, free

July 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

Few 3-word expressions have a sweeter ring for me than the combination of “online,” “streaming” and “free.” And when you add to those three sweet, sweet words some expression relating to film, such as “silent films”, or, even more thrilling, “archive” — you’ve got, to say the least, my attention.

Hence this from the latest issue of Silent Treatment:

Internet surfers can rejoice at the news that the first Europe-wide vide-on-demand service streaming public domain motion pictures is now operational. Europa Film Treasures ( is a collaborative effort of 37 film archives and cinematheques across the continent offering content previously unavailable outside their institutions to a world wide audience. (…) EFT plans to have 100 titles available for free on its intiall launch, gradually expanding on up to 500 titles once fuully loaded. No title is available to download, but extending the service to associated DVD sales will be under consideration in the future.

That fantastic (Serge Blomberg intiated) service IS now operational…so successful in fact that you’re now greeted with this message:

We have unfortunately become victims of our own success. There has been so much traffic that many of you are experiencing viewing difficulties. We are currently looking for a solution to remedy the problem as quickly as possible.

Well don’t let that daunt you. I haven’t had a problem in the 3 days I’ve used the service. The search engine allows for great browsing, the films I’ve looked at are in great conditions, the site automatically detects your bandwidth and chooses the best format for you. You can’t download, true, but there are no restrictions as to the streaming: you can pause to let it download in full, watch it later, etc. It’s a fantastic, fantastic resource and a dream come true. I wish all archives in the world (US archives??) would get onboard ! But right now, I’m just too happy with this initiative to whine. Good job EFT !


P.S.: I haven’t talked about other online resources such as the magnificent initiative from BFI to put some of its collection online on YouTube — but I haven’t because reliable, invaluable Bioscope has done so extensively and I can only point you to its posts on the subject (for instance here).

P.S. 2: uh oh…I see the Bioscope, as could be expected, has been here before: here’s its review of the Europa web site, back in June.


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