Heard of BFI Player? Well, there’s also BFI Player+, a subscription service that offers an all-you-can-eat selection of hand-picked classics.
Every Friday, Mark Kermode highlights one of the collection’s titles with a video introduction. This week, it’s Land and Freedom, Ken Loach’s acclaimed 1995 film, which marks a rare departure from the director’s traditional British milieu, instead focusing on the Spanish Civil War. Kermode analyses how the director’s use of well-honed realist techniques results in a historical drama with a “rare vitality and naturalism”.
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+:
The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands
The BFI’s restoration of Walter Summers’ silent film, which was made in 1927, depicts two significant battles in the First World War. The first, Coronel, took place on 1st November 1914 and saw the Germans sink two British ships: HMS Monmouth and HMS Good Hope. More than 1,500 souls perished, prompting a retaliatory strike six weeks later by British tactician Admiral Fisher who sent two large battle cruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, to the South Atlantic to restore British supremacy.
Filmed on battleships supplied by the Admiralty with no models or trick photography, Summers’ film is shot through with realism, excitement and – most of all – respect for both sides of the battle. It’s a rousing war movie and a tribute to all those who fought in the conflict of WWI. Read our full review.
Saul Dibb’s sharp urban drama stars Ashley Walters as Ricky, who is released from prison and finds himself drawn back into his old ways, while trying protect his brother from the advances of a local gang.
Distant Voices Still Lives
Terence Davies’ 1988 debut goes back to his working-class autobiographical roots by chronicling a family’s life in Liverpool in the 1940s.
Anthony Asquith’s Underground tells the story of the lives and loves of four young working people in 1920s London. Parallels with life in the metropolis today are poignant, as we see the locations of the Underground, the pubs and shops in which the drama unfolds.
Road to Saint Tropez
Udo Kier stars in this “anti-travelogue” from director Mike Sarne, which follows a woman who has a brief affair while journeying along the South of France.
No Regrets for Our Youth
Kurosawa’s first post-war film stars Ozu regular Setsuko Hara as Yukie, the daughter of a professor, who takes a soul-searching trip through rural Japan, a voyage that leads her to joining the fight against the state of wartime Japan.
In Which We Serve
Noel Coward and David Lean team up for this patriotic war film, with Coward producing, writing, scoring and starring. The movie follows the British destroyer, the HMS Torrin, which sinks in the Battle of Crete. Coward plays Captain Kinross, who survives and encourages the families of the dead (and the wartime audience) to find inspiration in the sacrifice of his men. The film was a hit when released in 1942. Watch out for Richard Attenborough in his first screen role.
A BFI Player+ subscription costs £4.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. For more information, visit http://player.bfi.org.uk.