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 Peeping Tom. Much criticised at the time of its release, Michael Powell’s psychological study of a shy camera technician who films for his home movies the death throes of the women he kills is now widely regarded as a dark classic. Less a straightforward serial-killer thriller than a Freudian meditation on how and why we watch movies, it is rich in thematic resonance – and laden with in-jokes about the film world.
What else is new? Here are the latest titles on BFI Player+ this week:
Love and Death on Long Island
John Hurt stars in Richard Kwietnioski’s comedy of fame and obsession about an older man, who becomes infatuated with a young Hollywood actor (Jason Priestley), and proceeds to track him down.
Iona director Scott Graham’s brilliant debut stars the excellent Chloe Pirrie as a teen raised by her dad to run a garage in the middle of nowhere. The result is a calm and absorbing coming-of-age drama, shot through with a heartbreaking sense of tangible isolation. Read our full review.
“It’s how the world is made. Men prefer sorrow over joy. Suffering over peace.” A study of mankind’s ability to wage war with itself, Kurosawa’s epic adaptation of King Lear takes Shakespeare’s family drama and blows it up to an almost impossibly big scale. At its heart, the simple foolishness of one dad’s inability to see the impending chaos around him. Three arrows bundled together cannot be broken, he teaches them – but, as one son proves, they can. All it takes is a bit of brute force. This is ambitious, audacious and breathtaking cinema. Read our full review.
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.
In one of his essential shorts for Mutual, Chaplin plays a drunkard who checks into a health spa – with a case full of booze.
One of the most popular shorts Charlie Chaplin made for Mutual, The Pawnshop features a famous sequence in which he dissects an alarm clock, prefiguring the mechanics-inspired humour of Modern Times.
Antonia Bird’s stylish and political crime thriller from 1997 stars Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone as members of a gang of thieves that falls apart when a heist goes wrong.
A BFI Player+ subscription costs £4.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. For more information, visit http://player.bfi.org.uk.