It’s Unstreamable! Where Jas Keimig and Chase Burns recommend movies and TV shows you can’t watch on major streaming services in the United States. We post on Wednesdays unless we’re tired or busy 😊
JAS: In light of Netflix shutting down their DVD service (RIP to those red envelopes), we both chose films you can still rent from Netflix DVD before it officially shutters in September.
CHASE: Like three people have brought up Klaus Nomi to me recently, so I’m looking back at one of the rare docs on the German avant-weirdo…
JAS: And lately, I’ve been thinking about Neruda because it’s spring and things are blooming, and what better way to honor the poet than watching a fanfic film about him…
Got a recommendation? Give us the scoop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Italy | France | Belgium, 1994, 75 min, Dir. Michael Radford
Dissatisfied with his job as a fisherman, Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi) gets a job as a postman for his tiny Italian island. His sole responsibility is to deliver mail by bike to the town’s newest resident, the poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret). In this fanfic version of Neruda’s life, the poet lives in exile in Italy with his wife during the ’50s, expelled from his beloved Chile for his communist beliefs. He finds solace in the beauty of the sea, the people, and the wind—as poets are wont to do.
Mario is initially interested in Neruda for his celebrity and his poetry’s effect on women, believing that any kind of association with the famed poet would guarantee him The Ladies. He’s not wrong, but over the course of the movie, their friendship blossoms into its own thing of beauty.
I was captivated by Massimo Troisi’s performance as Mario. Troisi played the character with such thoughtfulness that Mario’s simple observations and desires were poetry. It made sense why a man like Neruda would become captivated by a man like him.
But in real life, Troisi suffered from a failing heart. He postponed life-saving surgery to act in this passion project. Director Michael Radford made him pre-record all his dialogue in the event of his sudden death. Tragically, Troisi died a day after principal photography finished. Il Postino is a beautiful tribute both to Neruda and the actor who brought the film to life. JAS KEIMIG
Find in the Foreign section, under ITALY.
Germany, 2004, 98 min, Dir. Andrew Horn
The Nomi Song features a lot—too many—talking heads, but it’s saved by the fact that it’s one of the too-few documentaries on German experimental vocalist Klaus Nomi. I loved a scene where Nomi, early on in his career, performs for a rowdy group of New Wave weirdos and totally silences them. They’re, like, awestruck. But not by his flamboyancy, which was par for the course for the New Wave scene, but by his operatic countertenor. The doc’s talking heads who were in the audience that night comment on how AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL it was to see and hear a performer so serious, so Classical, in their funky avant-garde space. Even in the most experimental spaces, the introduction of Classical forms can astonish. I’ve always found that so silly—the New Wave doesn’t need Classical music to be vindicated. That’s no slight to Klaus Nomi. Love that guy. CHASE BURNS
Find it in the Music section under Rock & Roll!
Looking for more? Browse our big list of 350+ hard-to-find movies over on The Stranger.
*The fine print: Unstreamable means we couldn’t find it on Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, Disney+, or any of the other hundreds of streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn’t find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. Yes, we know you can find many things online illegally, but we don’t consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.