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, he picks Highway Patrolman, Alex Cox’s Spanish-language film, which follows a young graduate from Mexico’s highway patrol academy as he faces 24-hour shifts and low wages. His gradual downfall turns a film about the difficulty of doing good into the difficult of enforcing good, paving the way for the modern wave of Mexican films about corruption. Interestingly, Kermode notes, the film was shot on leftover off-cuts of 35mm reels to save money, while the lack of support from the national highway patrol meant they had to create their own uniforms and cars.
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+:
Iain Glen and Robert Carlyle team up for this brutal insight into the mind of a killer, as David Hayman’s 1963 movie brings the true story of Larry Winters (Scotland’s most violent inmate) to the screen. Silent Scream explores Winters journey to express himself and escape his cell through his addiction to prescription drugs.
One of BFI Player+’s best features is that not all of its films are feature-length: this 60-minute flick marks the typically low-budget directorial debut of Shane Meadows, who also stars as the leader of a gang of crooks in Sneinton, Nottingham.
Straight to Hell
Another Alex Cox film, 1987’s Straight to Hell sees the director pay homage to the spaghetti western, with an impressive cast that includes Dennis Hopper, Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Jim Jarmusch, Kathy Burke, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello and Shane MacGowan.
The directorial debut of indie documentarian Sabiha Sumar charts the political evolution of Pakistan.
Memories of John
Doug Headline’s documentary is a portrait of the inimitable director and actor John Cassavetes. Key collaborators, from Peter Falk to Al Ruban, reflect on the life and work of the indie filmmaker.
If any subscription VOD service is going to give you your Carl Theodor Dreyer fix, it’s BFI Player+. This 1955 classic, based on a 1932 play, explores the clash of orthodox religion and faith, as a family is torn apart by their beliefs.
BFI Player+ continues to build its Akira Kurosawa collection with his directorial debut: a 1943 film about a feckless judo champ. Other movies by the director included in the monthly subscription range from The Hidden Fortress, Drunken Angel, Rashomon and Seven Samurai to I Live in Fear, Ikiru, Yojimbo and Throne of Blood.
A BFI Player+ subscription costs £4.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial. For more information, visit http://player.bfi.org.uk