Unstreamable is a weekly column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States.
France, 1990, 90 minutes, Dir. Claire Denis
For her second feature film No Fear, No Die, French director Claire Denis said she was directly inspired by philosopher Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. Specifically, she claimed interest in a type of neurosis Fanon described as affecting colonized people, a state of being "psychologically defeated even though they are physically free to determine their future."
It's that kind of anxiety that runs through No Fear, No Die. The film follows two Black immigrants Jocelyn and Dah, played by frequent Denis collaborators Alex Descas and Isaach De Bankolé, who work in an underground cockfighting ring beneath a nightclub on the outskirts of Paris. The two friends have spartan accommodations, sleeping practically on top of the roosters they coach. It's a windowless basement, owned by the nefarious white businessman Ardennes (Jean-Claude Brialy) who runs the whole operation. It becomes a sort of prison for both men as they struggle to make a brutal living.
Though I love watching De Bankolé (and his face) in any role, the real star is Descas as Jocelyn. He hardly speaks the entire film, but his eyes and body betray a discomfort and entrapment that made me claustrophobic. As he fastidiously trains his cocks with Ardennes, encouraging him to make the fights more deadly, you come to understand that he identifies with these creatures, themselves the subjects of immense cruelty. It leads to self-destruction and violence. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Mexico, 1975, 101 minutes, Dir. Juan López Moctezuma
It's no secret that I'm a stoner. I smoke or eat weed every day. I probably inherited the habit from my grandma, who's known to offer a mean homecooked edible. Regardless, I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. I get more shit done than the average person. I would honestly work 24/7 without the relaxing helping hand of cannabis. This is my long way of saying that I, uh, was very fucking high while I watched this movie, and I can't say I remember much of it. I will say that this movie pairs well with weed, and I think I enjoyed it very much.
This 1975 horror comes from Mexican director Juan López Moctezuma. It follows an American artist who discovers she's a bisexual vampire, and she starts eating people who live in a Mexican village. Groovy. There are many spectacular murder sequences from what I can remember, and there are sharks, and, wow, does this director love a good, ripe scream. I'm not sure screaming is a fetish, but if it is a fetish, then this film is fodder for that fetish. Few movies scream like a Moctezuma movie. I wrote down a note that the graveyard sequence here is incredible, but, again, I don't remember it. Still, I had a great time. I think. CHASE BURNS
UK | USA, 1999, 93 minutes, Dir. Gregg Araki
What does it say about me that I love Gregg Araki's lighter stuff? Sure, Splendor lacks the hot existential anguish that hangs over films like Totally F**ked Up and Doom Generation. But, um, a bright, Y2K romcom about a threesome involving a beautiful woman and two hot himbos? It's my bisexual dream! And it's about as screwball as an Araki comedy can get.
Struggling actress Veronica (Kathleen Robinson) is going through a dry spell when she happens to meet sensitive writer Abel (Johnathon Schaech) and sexy dumb drummer Zed (Matt Keeslar) on the same night. While she tries to date both men separately, all three end up in a relationship, sharing an apartment and a bed. Sadly, for all the polyamorous bi-vibes, there's very little sex—save a game of truth-or-dare. But the chemistry between the three is cute.
Though Splendor goes off the rails in its last act (in a boring way), I like its refreshingly chaotic vision of family and relationships. In an interview, Araki said the film was very much about "achieving conventional happiness in an unconventional way." The heart of the movie reflects that. Splendor also holds an exciting place in Araki lore: he made it in response to the controversy surrounding him dating Robinson, despite only publicly identifying as gay at the time. There's no one way to be with people you love. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Japan, 1969, 128 minutes, Dir. Eiichi Yamamoto
People love Belladonna of Sadness, that streamable, trippy, rape-filled anime masterpiece that made headlines when it toured the world a few years ago. That film is the third film in the X-rated Animerama Trilogy, and it tends to blot out the two that preceded it. That's understandable—Belladonna of Sadness is singular—but the first two are also great. I imagine many people encounter the trilogy backward, like I did, starting with Belladonna, then reaching the second, Cleopatra: Queen of Sex, and then ending at the beginning, A Thousand and One Nights. The films build on each other, especially stylistically, so if I could do it all over, I'd start here and end with Belladonna.
A Thousand and One Nights is set in Baghdad, focusing on a poor water seller as he becomes a rich man and then a king and then a poor man again, all while getting laid. Often. Like its successors, this film is gorgeous, if not a little less so. It's acidic, strange, experimental, and, I guess, X-rated—although not quite X-rated enough. But I have to mention the pink panther pussy. I'm not sure what was going on with these guys who made this, but man, I was not ready for that horny panther. Or its boobs, thighs, crotch... CHASE BURNS
Unstreamable means we couldn't find it on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other 300+ 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. We don't consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.