This week’s new releases on BFI Player+ (13th March)
James R | On 13, Mar 2016
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 Rashomon. Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, with its intelligent and gripping non-linear structure, tells the tale of a samurai’s murder – according to a priest, a woodcutter and another man taking refuge from a storm. But with all witnesses’ testaments contradicting each other, who’s telling the truth? And what really happened?
“Comprehensible, but crucially not solvable,” as Kermode put it, the brilliantly simple piece of storytelling went on to inspire filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino (whose Pulp Fiction is similarly timey-wimey) and is justifiably considered among one of the best films of all time.
What else is available to stream? Every week, we bring you a round-up of the latest titles on BFI Player+:
Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return) directs this measured drama about a nurse, who is married to an ailing rich businessman but worried about her unemployed son and his family, yielding to terrible temptation. A corrosive study of need corrupted by greed, accompanied by suspenseful music from Philip Glass.
The Battle of the River Plate
Powell and Pressburger had their biggest hit with this account of the British Navy’s pursuit of a German battleship at the start of World War II. Filmed in VistaVision, locations including Malta and Montevideo plus actual ships from the battle all add to the spectacle, while the directors bring sympathy to the portrayal of both heroes and enemies.
Lotte Reiniger’s Art
This 12-minute short documents the animated art of Lotte Reiniger, a 20th century artist who pioneered a style of black-and-white silhouette animation. Includes extracts from several of her films including Papageno (1935), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) and The Frog Prince
The Spy’s Wife
Gerry O’Hara’s 30-minute short is a fun tale of espionage and humour – but rather than follow a spy, we stay behind with the spy’s wife while he is away on a mission, to discover that she’s just as adept at the art of bed-hopping and persuasion.
The Fall of the House of Usher
Jan Svankmajer is an animator who needs no introduction. Here, BFI Player+ brings subscribers one of his many stunning works: a 15-minute short based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
Of Time and the City
Terence Davies combines archive footage and his own narration to reflect upon the transformation of his home city of Liverpool over the decades.
BFI Player+ makes a rare journey into the noughts with this 2006 comedy. Directed by Horrible Histories and Bill veteran Richard Bracewell, it follows a pair of male escorts and their interactions with their over-50s regulars – but when an injury puts Sacha out of action, his younger manager, Trevor, has to step in and take care of business.