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 A Night to Remember, Roy Ward Baker’s 1958 account of the sinking of the Titanic. Heralded as “an emblem not just of British cinema but of British culture itself” by Kermode, the dramatic representation of the Titanic disaster is packed with gripping procedural detail, taken from the book of the same name, which Kermode argues is far superior to James Cameron’s lavish interpretation of the same disaster.
Cameron’s blockbuster cost $200 million to make and won 11 Academy Awards. A Night to Remember? Less than $2 million and no Academy Awards.
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+. As April gets underway, the BFI has slowed down its daily release schedule, with only four titles arrive on the SVOD service this week – although one of them makes up for it with sheer topicality alone…
In the Fog
Sergei Loznitsa’s 2012 drama follows a suspected Nazi collaborator in war-torn Belarus, who is abducted by Partisans – only for a surprise altercation with German troops to force him and his two would-be executioners into hiding in the snowy woodland.
Documentary director Sergei Dvortsevoy made the leap to fiction with this 2008 character study of a young Kazakh sailor returning home to true and find a wife and make a living from a herd of sheep.
The Fruit Machine
Emile Charles, Tony Forsyth and Robbie Coltrane star in this 1988 film about two gay youngsters on the run after witnessing a gangland murder in the titular Fruit Machine Club.
Laurence Olivier’s star-studded adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic history play is an epic, soaring piece of fimmaking, with Olivier not only carrying the role of the young king but helming the whole thing to boot. From the bravura opening, which seamlessly takes us from a theatre stage to a fullscreen landscape, to the ambitious scale of the battle scenes, this is the perfect release for BFI Player+ subscribers to enjoy in the month that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Released at a time when the UK needed a boost of patriotism, his once-more-unto-the-breach speech is as rousing as cinema gets.
Ill Met by Moonlight
The BFI continues to grow its ranks of Powell and Pressburger classics with this 1957 flick, starring Dirk Bogarde and Marius Goring and chronicling a WWII raid to capture a German commander.