Netflix has a hidden movie/series library in some regions; Here’s why

netflix hidden library international

Netflix logos – Image: Adobe Stock

There are countless articles on the web (including on this page) about the so-called “hidden categories” of the Netflix catalog, and while they uncover titles buried in the Netflix library, some regions of Netflix have hidden libraries that aren’t uncovered can be using codes or searches. The Hidden Library has caused controversy over the past few weeks, so let’s explore what the Hidden Library is and why there is one.

Recently the Palestinian film farha made headlines because its global availability on Netflix sparked controversy in Israel and in some parts of the world for showing a Palestinian view of the 1948 exodus of Palestinians after the establishment of the State of Israel.

In France, however, the film sparked another controversy over its unavailability on Netflix in France.

And it’s true. If you are a French Netflix user, farha is not playable and you can only add it to your list if it is available.

fahra availability on netflix france

Farha is not available on Netflix France

There have been some conspiracy theories such as B. pressure from Israel, but the reason why it is not available is much more mundane and touches on the way Netflix operates its service in France.

Fahra is available worldwide on Netflix, but only with Arabic and English subtitles. And if your preferred language for Netflix is ​​French, the movie won’t appear in the catalogue. This problem extends to over languages ​​as well.

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On my French Netflix account, when I change my interface language to English, “Farha” appears and is viewable.

Back in July, Netflix announced that they had released a new collection of 21 films directed by women filmmakers from the Arab world.

arabic movies netflix

Arabic Movie Announcement on Netflix Blog

In France you can only access one of these 21 films if your service is in French and if you switch to English you now have access to 8 films.

Arabic films available on Netflix in France vs other regions

Because she made a collection on Netflix France vs USA

The others may be blocked due to territorial rights in France, but still quite a large part of the collection is unavailable due to a small setting in your account. Another example of this is the Netflix Original Columbian series The unbroken voice which last week managed to take first place in the most-watched international series in the world. But this series is also not available on Netflix France unless you enable English as your interface language.

After the outcry over FahraNetflix France issued a statement Allokin (translated into English) with the following wording:

“We present personalized recommendations to our subscribers based on various factors such as taste clusters, device used, viewing history… One of the important criteria is the subscriber’s preferred language. If a film or series does not have an audio track or subtitles in the subscriber’s preferred language, the title will be considered irrelevant and therefore unavailable. That is the case with Fahra and all you have to do is switch your account to English and the title will become available. This is not an isolated case. In fact, several unavailable programs without French soundtrack or subtitles are in the same situation”.

So one wonders how deep this hidden catalog is, and to be honest it’s pretty much impossible to know as no website has attempted to list the hidden content, but some movies tend to be more unavailable than others. Films from India and the Middle East, for example, are usually not available without a language switch, as are films from Poland and some from Latin America, but also some series from Scandinavian countries, Australia, the USA and Canada such as Kim’s Convenience.

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Global streaming services have different approaches. Amazon Prime Video, for example, shows every available film, regardless of whether it has French audio or subtitles. This creates situations where you start an Indian movie when the only subtitles available are Hindi and you just can’t understand what you’re watching unless you’re fluent in that language. So it makes sense in a way for Netflix to hide titles it doesn’t think you can understand.

However, there is a simple solution to this problem. You can make two different language choices in your account settings:

Netflix language settings

Netflix language settings

The first is the display language. That’s the one that unlocks Netflix’s hidden catalog if your language isn’t set to English. The second is “Languages ​​for Shows and Movies” where you can select languages ​​that you are more comfortable with and would prefer when watching a program. The simple solution would be to unlock the hidden catalog based on your settings in this second menu. If you select “English” as one of the languages ​​in which you want to watch shows, the system should offer you movies and series that are only available in that language, regardless of the language you have selected as the default language for the service.

There is still a mystery to be solved. The way Netflix France explains why “Fahra” isn’t available seems to be an exception. If I switch my French Netflix account to Spanish, the film will be available without a Spanish audio track or Spanish subtitles.

But that’s another mystery for another day.

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