British gems, classic television and a world cinema landmark arrive on BFI Blu-ray this spring.
A young Jenny Agutter stars in cult British classic I Start Counting, released on Blu-ray in April 2021. A haunting coming-of-age tale like no other, this gripping 1970 thriller is presented in a new 2K restoration and is the latest addition to the long-running BFI Flipside strand. The film has never had a home entertainment release in the UK and is highly sought after by British film fans. Special features exclusive to the UK release will include a newly filmed interview with Jonny Trunk about Basil Kirchin’s fantastic cult soundtrack, and a selection of rare archive films about the postwar ‘new town’ dream.
April also sees Henry Blake’s critically acclaimed County Lines (2019) released on dual format edition Blu-ray and DVD. A blistering, BIFA-nominated contemporary drama, inspired by true events and described by Mark Kermode as “an alarming yet compassionate portrait of a headline-grabbing scandal”, the release will also feature short films by Blake and a newly recorded audio commentary.
Our celebration of the BBC’s seminal anthology series Play for Today continues in May 2021 with a second collection of quintessential episodes. Over 3 discs, Play for Today: Volume 2 features a further 6 plays, including Peter McDougall’s The Elephant’s Graveyard (starring Billy Connolly), Just a Boy’s Game (starring Frankie Miller) and the much sought-after The Spongers, all available on Blu-ray for the very first time.
Also in May, Radio On (1979), Chris Petit’s haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie, receives its UK Blu-ray premiere. A bona fide cult classic, featuring music from the likes of David Bowie and Kraftwerk, and an early screen appearance by Sting, the film remains one of British cinema’s most striking feature debuts and is presented in a brand new 4K restoration.
An interracial romance causes social turmoil in Spike Lee’s engaging and provocative Jungle Fever (1991). Featuring an all-star cast including Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Anthony Quinn and Samuel L. Jackson, the film arrives on BFI Blu-ray in May 2021, 30 years after its original theatrical release.
Pat Murphy and John Davies’ experimental Maeve (1981) receives its debut home entertainment release in May. Bringing a feminist alternative to the conventional narrative of the Troubles, this much-overlooked gem of 1980s independent filmmaking is rich in debate and disruption, and ripe for rediscovery.
In June, Mira Nair’s devastating portrayal of child poverty arrives on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK. A BAFTA and Oscar nominee, Salaam Bombay! (1988) is an authentic and unflinching depiction of the hardships faced by thousands of dispossessed children on the streets of Mumbai. It remains a powerful and affecting piece over 30 years since its original release.
Also in June, E.A. Dupont’s sumptuous showbiz melodrama Piccadilly (1929) arrives on BFI Blu-ray. The electric Anna May Wong stars in this late landmark of British silent cinema (also featuring an early screen performance from Charles Laughton), which is accompanied by Neil Brand’s celebrated 2004 score.
And finally, as previously announced, Tilda Swinton stars in Friendship’s Death, Peter Wollen’s compelling science fiction newly restored by the BFI National Archive and available on BFI Blu-ray/DVD from June 2021.