One of the greatest films of all time, Akira’s Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai has influenced the work of directors from George Lucas to Steven Spielberg, and spawned remakes, such as John Sturges’ acclaimed The Magnificent Seven. With their village raided every year by vicious bandits, a group of peasants hire seven warriors to protect them. Initially met with suspicion, the warriors eventually gain the trust of the peasants and they join forces to face the bandits.
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Since its foundation in 1933, the BFI has been releasing critically acclaimed and cult films to discerning UK audiences by some of the world’s greatest directors, including Mike Leigh, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu’s, Akira Kurosawa, Peter Greenaway, Werner Herzog, Ken Loach and many more.
Our stores are now stacked with a great selection of films from the BFI, see some of our choice cuts below, along with the full list of films.
Celine and Julie Go Boating
In Jacques Rivette’s surreal and fascinating masterpiece eccentric magician Celine (Juliet Berto) meets curious librarian Julie (Dominique Labourier). Their friendship soon sends them down a fantastical rabbit hole and into an apparently haunted house. With the aid of magical candy, they return time and again to the mansion to spy on and eventually play parts in a gothic murder mystery.
A playful investigation of the boundary between life and art, and illusion and reality. Celine and Julie Go Boating was co-written by Eduardo de Gregorio and the film’s actresses (including Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier). It was influenced by Lewis Carrol, Henry James and Proust, and in turn influenced the likes of David Lynch and Susan Seidelman. It remains Rivette’s most enduring, self-reflective and popular film.
An Actor's Revenge
Strange, sumptuous and visually stunning, this wildly melodramatic tale of a kabuki female impersonator who exacts a long-delayed revenge on the men who drove his parents to suicide is played out against a colourful backdrop of comic rivalries between thieves in the Tokyo underworld. Kazuo Hasegawa stars, in the dual role of the actor and a thief, in a film which celebrates his 300th screen appearance.
A heady cocktail of swooning romanticism and highly stylised action, with an outstanding soundtrack that ranges from traditional Japanese music to lush Hollywood strings and cocktail jazz, An Actor’s Revenge is a cinematic tour de force.
The Children's Hour
The Children’s Hour, an acclaimed drama from 1961, is a forceful examination of the power of malice and rumour in an intolerant society, with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine giving superb performances in the lead roles. Directed by William Wyler (Ben Hur, Roman Holiday) and also starring James Garner (The Rockford Files), it was nominated for five Oscars. This is the first time that The Children’s Hour has been available on Blu-ray in the UK.
Based on Lillian Hellman’s groundbreaking 1934 play (inspired by a true story of two Scottish teachers in 1809), The Children’s Hour stars Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine as best friends who run an exclusive girls’ school. When a disruptive pupil starts a rumour that the pair are in a lesbian relationship, there are serious repercussions for everyone.
A constant fixture in critics’ polls, Yasujiro Ozu’s most enduring masterpiece, Tokyo Story, is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret. From the simple tale of an elderly husband and wife’s visit to Tokyo to see their grown-up children, Ozu draws a compelling contrast between the measured dignity of age and the hurried insensitivity of a younger generation.
When The Wind Blows
Jim and Hilda Bloggs (John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft) are a middle-aged couple, who believe that the British government is in control as they prepare for Nuclear War. When the countdown begins, they roll up their shirtsleeves and follow government guidelines that were actually distributed to households around Britain in the 1970s. They paint their windows white, build a fortress of doors and pillows, take the washing in and put away two packets of ginger nuts, one tin of pineapple chunks and a good supply of tea.
This cautionary tale is both humorous and macabre in its consideration of one of the most horrific possibilities of modern life. When the Wind Blows is a story about love, tenderness, humanity and hope. Adapted by Raymond Briggs (The Snowman) from his best-selling book, When the Wind Blows features an original soundtrack by Roger Waters, and a title song by David Bowie.
The mythological past and bleak future converge on the sparse grey streets of London in this cult classic of the punk era. Director Derek Jarman doesn’t spare the shocks, while electrifying punk rock numbers are delivered by Jayne County and Adam Ant. Special features include new interviews with punk icon Jordan (who appeared in the film), Jarman’s friend and collaborator Lee Drysdale, and more.
In Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth I and her occult aide Dr John Dee (brilliantly played by Jenny Runacre and Richard O’Brien respectively) travel into the future, encountering the megalomania of big business as well as gangs of violent, marauding killers.
The Magic Flute
Ingmar Bergman puts his indelible stamp on Mozart’s exquisite opera in this sublime rendering of one of the composer’s best-loved works: a celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man.
The Magic Flute (Trollflöjten) stars Josef Köstlinger as Tamino, the young man determined to rescue a beautiful princess from the clutches of parental evil.
Farewell My Concubine
Farewell my Concubine, the only Chinese language film to ever win the Cannes Palme d’Or, is one of the central works of the Fifth Generation movement, a movement which finally brought Chinese film directors to world attention.
An adaptation of the novel by Lilian Lee, the film explores the effect of China’s political turmoil during the mid-20th century on the lives of individuals, families and groups. Spanning 53 years, the film is two films at once, a tale of the friendship of two men against the historical backdrop of a country in upheaval. The central characters, Dieyi and Xiaolou, are two apprentices in the Peking Opera, the film examines how their lives are affected by major political changes such as the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s and the victory of the communists in 1949 – alongside the story of a woman who comes between them.
My Beautiful Laundrette
In Stephen Frears’ controversial and hugely successful drama, Omar (Gordon Warnecke), the son of a Pakistani immigrant to the UK, embarks on a venture to renovate his uncle’s laundrette with the help of his childhood friend, ex-National Front member Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis).
Now available for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK, My Beautiful Laundrette remains ground-breaking in its bold exploration of issues of sexuality, race, class and generational difference.
Heralded as one of Britain’s most commercially and critically successful films of 1986, it earned Hanif Kureishi an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay as well as launching the career of Daniel Day-Lewis.
Life Is Sweet
Mike Leigh’s third feature, which opened in 1990, remains one of the celebrated director’s most admired and affecting films.
Life is Sweet depicts a summer in the life of a modern working-class family surviving in Thatcher’s Britain. This Dual Format Edition also contains the previously unreleased comedy short A Running Jump (2012) and a raft of special features unreleased in the UK, including a newly filmed interview with Jane Horrocks and an audio commentary by Mike Leigh.
Andy (Jim Broadbent) is a professional chef and DIY enthusiast who buys a decrepit burger van. His wife Wendy (Alison Steadman) helps out with the launch of a Parisian-themed restaurant, The Regret Rien. One daughter, Nicola (Jane Horrocks), suffers from bulimia and is obsessed with men and Marxism, while the other, Natalie (Claire Skinner), is an apprentice plumber who dreams of escaping to America.
This hilarious yet tragic domestic portrait features a dazzling ensemble performance and remains a potent, true-to-life story.
Eyes Without A Face
Pierre Brasseur (Le Quai des brumes, Les Enfants du Paradis) is Dr Génessier, a brilliant and obsessive plastic surgeon driven by the need to restore his daughter’s disfigured face and push the boundaries of his field. Aided by his loyal assistant Alida Valli (The Third Man, Suspiria), who lures young women to his secluded chateau in pursuit of his dark quest. Eugen Schüfftan’s (The Hustler) stunning cinematography lends the chateau an almost Cocteau-like life of its own, and Edith Scob (Judex, Holy Motors) is quite remarkable as the ravaged beauty.
Eyes Without a Face is at once cruel and tender – highlighting Georges Franju’s unique blend of pulp, horror and poetry, it has, in the decades since its release, been a major influence on filmmakers such as Jesús Franco, John Carpenter and, more recently, Pedro Almodóvar.
also in the offer
La Belle Et La Bete
Loneliness Of The Long Distance
Day The Earth Caught Fire
Wages Of Fear
London: The Modern Babylon
Orchard End Murder
Aguirre Wrath Of God
Schalcken The Painter
Throne Of Blood
Requiem For A Village
Saturday Night Sunday Morning
Before The Revolution
Les Enfants Terribles
Leopard (Il Gattopardo)
Belly Of An Architect
David Hockney: A Bigger Splash
Saturday Night Sunday Morning:
Godzilla: Original Movie
Odds Against Tomorrow
That Sinking Feeling
Month In The Country
London In The Raw
Rita Sue & Bob Too
Farewell My Concubine
Love Is The Devil