The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).

From its opening declarations, John Akomfrah’s documentary on Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project (2013) explicitly acknowledges that it is going to be condensing fifty years of complex history and ideology into its relatively short running time.  Akomfrah achieves this in an unusual but extraordinary way by linking the ideas and history of the public intellectual with his passion for the music of Miles Davis.  … Continue reading The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).

Classic Ghost Stories by M.R James with Robert Powell (BFI).

M.R James’ ghost stories seem almost tailor-made for television and radio.  They’ve taken on so many forms and guises over the years that, like their original forms read by the fireside at Christmas in Cambridge University, they have become a regular, traditional event.  Though their presence has been somewhat thin on the ground of late (though soon to change with the fourth modern adaptation coming … Continue reading Classic Ghost Stories by M.R James with Robert Powell (BFI).

Sleepwalker (1984) – Saxon Logan, BFI Flipside.

The latest release in the BFI Flipside series revels in the social satire of its era with glee. Though of course the main draw of the release will be Saxon Logan’s main feature, Sleepwalker (1984), the release itself is built up to make a whole package of potential double and even triple bills of viewing; some Logan themed, some nocturnal themed.   The main feature simply … Continue reading Sleepwalker (1984) – Saxon Logan, BFI Flipside.

Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) – Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen (BFI).

Classical traditions and feminist ideologies collide and intertwine in Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s Riddles of the Sphinx (1977).  It’s instantly clear from its opening “contents” page that the film isn’t simply going to be a piece of narrative cinema, nor is it going to be purely avant-garde.  With the increasing use of the term Essay Film within the analysis of cinema, Mulvey’s film is … Continue reading Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) – Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen (BFI).

The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 3 (A Diary for Timothy) – BFI

It’s an oft repeated dictum that British director, Humphrey Jennings, had a gradual decline of quality within his work towards the end of the Second World War.  It’s repeated several times in the booklet of this excellent BFI release but, like many of the others who start with this statement, there is a “but”.  That “but” is that Jennings’ weaker work is in fact not … Continue reading The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 3 (A Diary for Timothy) – BFI

BFI Fairy Tales – Early Colour Stencil Films From Pathé (1901 – 1908)

There’s something startling about just how inventive cinema was in the early days of its creation.  Whereas other artistic mediums have taken hundreds of years to bear fruit, film seemed to have caught on to what it was about mere years after its very conception.  Ranging from 1901 to 1908, the films in the BFI Fairy Tales release show a frank endorsement of both storytelling … Continue reading BFI Fairy Tales – Early Colour Stencil Films From Pathé (1901 – 1908)