Library of Congress Historic Film Archive

While responsibly staying at home and keeping abreast of developments, we can choose to focus some of our attention on other pictures and other times. It might actually be healthy to do so! One of the constants in the last century or so of American history has been our fascination with moving pictures. And now, we have unprecedented access to one of our nation’s most revered archives of film documentation–the Library of Congress

According to a recent article in The New York Times featuring this exceptional streaming option, “the astonishment of riches includes up-close looks at our history in hundreds of films. And they’re all free.” That’s right! You can dip into snippets of life at the turn of the last century at no cost. Escape today’s pressures with some lighthearted film shorts here–you’ll find everything from a glimpse of the America’s Cup defender in 1899, to a fanciful “life drawing” session, to a spirited clip of women on horseback in full-on Victorian riding gear. Explore the LOC’s 7000+ film offerings (ranging from the 19th century to more recent times) and exist in a different world for a while! If you like, you can also sample the collection at the LOC YouTube channel.

Or perhaps you’d just like to hark back to the relative “normalcy” of last spring. If so, you’re in luck! Some of the top most-circulated films at the APL in March and April 2019 are currently available to watch or re-watch on hoopla. Take a privileged peek at the life of a storied hotel with Always at the Carlyle. Watch Emma Thompson do her best for justice in the complex, suspenseful film The Children Act. Visit the streets of Tokyo with a look at the Academy Award- nominated Shoplifters.Or try one of our library’s own 2020 “Oscar nominees” set in another of history’s dramatic moments: 1945.

So if you like your escapism tempered with a dash of past reality, you might just grab some popcorn and give these options a whirl!