After nearly 40 years, “Saturday Nights At The Movies” is no more.

Public broadcaster TVO has decided to cancel the airing of classic and foreign films on Saturday nights in order to divert the associated $2 million expenditures to their digital technology operations.

I will miss this program. There are still quite a few films out there that are unavailable as rentals online, some of which are not available on DVD or Blu-Ray in North America.

The airing of films on the public broadcasters are getting rarer and rarer as their funding gets reduced. And private broadcasters appear to be disinterested in foreign films.

Yes, Chinese and Indian “Bollywood” films are getting plenty of air in Canada but the European films rarely penetrate Canadian television because its film distribution is controlled by American interests and trends.

Had TVO not aired them, I wouldn’t have seen excellent films like I’m Not Scared, Let the Right One in and In a Better World. And it it weren’t for TFO, Tele-Quebec and Radio Canada I wouldn’t have seen Les Choristes, La Soupe aux Choux, Le gendarme et les extra-terrestres, The Mad Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob, Hibernatus, Les Fugitifs, Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources and Les Visiteurs.

Along with these films there are also countless television series that I would not have seen had it not been for public broadcasters, like The Prisoner, Black Adder, Father Ted and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Many of the aforementioned titles are not available online yet so I can only guess how many excellent films I will no longer be able to see now that Saturday Night At The Movies is gone. And foreign films are getting rarer and rarer on TFO, Tele-Quebec and Radio Canada as their budgets are cut.

I certainly hope the other networks will air more European films. I’m keeping an eye on the online rental sites for more European titles as well.