BFI New releases for April and May

The home entertainment releases for April and May from the BFI have just been announced. They include the usual diverse and interesting selection with something to please most fans of cinema.

The Scheduled release dates are as follows

15th of April

Two Films By Yasujiro Ozu: I Was Born But (Japan, 1932) / There Was a Father (Japan, 1942)
From his early silent films to his final features in the 1960s, Yasujirō Ozu perfected a style that stripped away unnecessary plot mechanics and camera movement. In doing so, he produced a cinema whose surface simplicity belies character studies of depth, warmth and on occasion, humour. This release features two newly restored films, presented on Blu-ray including a longer and previously unreleased version of There Was a Father. I Was Born, But… from 1932 concerns the brothers Ryoichi and Keiji as they struggle to outwit the local bully and scale the pecking order in their new neighbourhood they find out that injustice does not end with school. Ozu’s silent masterpiece prefigures themes from his later, colour classic Good Morning, but with a darker edge. There Was a Father from 1942 seesShuhei Horikawa sacrifice his teaching career after an unfortunate accident but refused to sacrifice the education of his only son.

The Childrens Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 5
Stars in this latest selection include Carol White, Peter Butterworth, Robin Askwith and Keith Chegwin, and directors include Muriel Box, Gerald Thomas and Don Chaffey. The set offers up another gorgeous opportunity for a warm wallow in nostalgia, showcasing nine more of the best feature-length Saturday Morning Pictures ever made, from the UK’s best-loved, longest running purveyor of quality cinematic entertainment for kids. You’ll find escapist fun and vintage thrills galore for all the family in this latest selection of terrific time-capsules and corking old-school classics, unleashed at last from the vaults of the BFI National Archive – from the far-away 1940s, right up to the electric 1980s, alongside a sumptuous array of exciting retro extras and a brand new documentary.

29th April

In the directorial debut from Claire Denis, a young woman named France (Mireille Perrier) returns to Cameroon to visit the former colonial outpost she grew up in during the last days of French rule. Upon arrival, she recalls her childhood in Mindif. The only child of a sole white family, the Dalens, France form a strong connection with their ‘houseboy’ Protée (Isaach de Bankolé). A quiet and observant child but still too innocent to fully understand the simmering sexual and racial tensions in the adults around her, France finds her idyl shattered when a plane full of strangers makes an emergency landing nearby. Claire Denis’ quasi-autobiographical exploration of the colonial power struggle in Cameroon is the first in a series of her films exploring French colonialism and racism in West Africa. A Palme D’Or nominee, Chocolat is a remarkably assured directorial debut featuring all the tension, subtlety and sophistication that characterise Claire Denis’ films.

13th of May

Floating Clouds
In Mikio Naruse’s classic of Japanese cinema, a heartbroken woman attempts to rebuild her life in post-war Tokyo. During the war in French Indochina, a married Japanese man falls in love with a young typist, Yukiko, and promises to marry her after the war. Upon their return to Tokyo, their idyllic relationship crumbles, but they cannot keep away from one another. Despite finding nothing but conflict and instability, they helplessly return to each other repeatedly as they attempt to rebuild their lives from the ruins of World War II.
A classic of Japanese cinema described as a ‘masterpiece’ by Yasujiro Ozu, Floating Clouds is a melancholy meditation on the hopeless side of love. Through the lens of Yukiko and Tomioka’s tempestuous relationship, Mikio Naruse’s most acclaimed film quietly captures the devastation of a country in economic post-war ruin.

Hidden City
A mystery wrapped in conspiracy and secrets, Stephen Poliakoff’s directorial debut tells the story of James Richards (Charles Dance), a writer sucked into a search for a lost piece of film by Sharon Newton (Cassie Stewart), a video librarian. What they stumble upon are cover-ups, tense searches, and possible danger. With the help of Witold Stoks’ excellent cinematography, Poliakoff has crafted a rich look into London’s dark history, with disused tram tunnels and long-forgotten subterranean chambers serving as the backdrop to explore the depths of the British pre-occupation with secrecy. Featuring a sensational cast of stellar British talent including Charles Dance, Richard E. Grant and Bill Paterson.

20 May 2024

Big Banana Feet
Billy Connolly is at the peak of his powers in this hilarious ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary filmed on his 1975 tour of Ireland, newly restored by the BFI. Inspired by the fly-on-the-wall style of DA Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan documentary Dont Look Back, director Murray Grigor and cinematographer David Peat present Connolly at his beguiling best, using humour and charm to successfully navigate the political tensions of 1970s Dublin and Belfast. Featuring iconic stand-up material alongside fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses, this previously elusive milestone of British comedy is now newly restored in 2K (from original 16mm materials), reaffirming the genius that has endeared Connolly to generations of fans.

John McArthur
Latest posts by (see all)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.