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 Ordet, which has influenced a wave of films over the years, from Jesus of Montreal to Second Coming. More than two decades in the making, when Carl Theodor Dreyer finally adapted the 1932 play by a Lutheran play, it won both the Golden Lion at Venice and shared a Golden Globe. Exploring the clash of orthodox religion and faith, as a family is torn apart by their beliefs, Kermode notes: “Some amy bridle at its depiction of the apparently miraculous or be troubled by its portrayal of divinity and intolerance, but Roger Ebert perhaps put it best when he said ‘It’s a difficult film to enter, but once you’re inside it, it’s impossible to escape.'”
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+:
Gerry O’Hara’s swinging 60s flick stars Gene Barry as a spy sent to Morocco to infiltrate a jewel-smuggling ring. Leslie Philips and Denholm Elliot co-star.
Day of Wrath
Dreyer’s 1943 classic sees a 17th century Danish community gripped by a fear of witchcraft, prompting the village to kill one old woman and accuse another, after her husband dies. Powerful and intense, it shares similar ground with Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, both of which can be interpreted in myriad ways.
Above Us the Earth
Indie Welsh director Karl Francis used both professional and amateur actors to bring to life his docu-drama exploring the closure of the Ogilvie Colliery mine in 1975.
Sidney Hayers’ 1970 crime film follows a murderer on the loose near a girls’ school.
Kurosawa’s first critical success came in 1948 with this drama about the friendship between a disillusioned doctor and a young yakuza. The film also gave a first major screen role to Toshiro Mifune, who went on to become a regular in 16 of the director’s films.
John Krish’s 1959 war film shows British POWs enduring brainwashing and torture during the Korean War – a movie that showed what captured soldiers could expect and was therefore shown to the top brass at the Ministry of Defence. It was never commercially released, though, until the BFI brought it to the UK on DVD – and now, on its SVOD service.
Emil and the Detectives
This 1931 adaptation of the classic kids’ book was written by author Eric Kastner himself – in collaboration with Billy Wilder and an uncredited Emeric Pressburger. The result was one of Germany’s first sound films and a fun adventure to boot.