For anyone looking for an alternative to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites, the Kirkwood Public Library has just acquired Kanopy, a rapidly emerging service with a high-quality selection. Kanopy is only offered to Kirkwood Patrons, but the St. Louis County Library system also has it for anyone living outside our boundaries (and the city’s). The front page first shows a “Popular Movies Category” containing many new releases. You may recognize such recent titles as Her Smell and The Hole in the Ground, among other well-received films from last year like Lady Bird and Eighth Grade.

kanopy example

Kanopy “Popular Films”

Fans of classic cinema can find their favorite titles from decades past—films like Chinatown (1974), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and His Girl Friday (1940). If you’re wanting to go back farther, Kanopy has plenty from old greats like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd.

Documentaries are not in short supply, either. Frederick Wiseman’s highly praised Monrovia, Indiana, from last year and Agnes Varda’s penultimate film before her death, Faces Places, appear in the “Popular Documentaries” category, and a quick search will bring you to an impressive collection of Les Blank’s short docs. 

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Popular Documentaries

With those filmmakers, you’ll find yourself veering into international and art house cinema, of which Kanopy has much to offer. In addition to the top 100 of the Criterion Collection, I was amazed to such avant garde selection as Pere Portabella’s art house vampire documentary Cuadecuc Vampir and no less than five works from the video artist and experimental filmmaker Guy Maddin. While there’s more than enough of the popular and mainstream to choose from, Kanopy especially excels in providing independent and global titles, as well as educational and documentary TV series.

Parents may want to use the service for their children when they’re on the go. The Kanopy Kids section collects all of the family and youth-apprpriate content in one place and offers unlimited plays. Genre categories give a further sense of organization to the section, but you will also find sub-groupings for TV shows, educational videos, and animated story-times based on picture books.  

kanopy kids

Kanopy Kids

If you’re a movie lover like me, Kanopy will be an invaluable service. With 30,000 available titles, the screen is your oyster! 

Nic Champion is a Customer Service Associate and Reference Librarian at the Kirkwood Public Library, and he moonlights as a film critic for online publications. Among his favorite filmmakers are Bong Joon-ho, Buster Keaton, and Todd Solondz. In addition to film, Nic's other interests include reading authors such as Jon Ronson and Haruki Murakami, discovering new music, and researching any topic that catches his curiosity.