News: BFI Cultural Programme highlights available online during January 2021

The BFI today announces more brilliant films and one-off events for audiences all over the UK to enjoy online from the safety and comfort of their own homes. The online programme includes new releases, classic films and film festivals to rent or subscribe to on BFI Player as well as a free virtual events programme on BFI YouTube. January highlights will include two exclusive subscription releases on BFI Player – THE STREET (Zed Nelson, 2019) and LOVE CHILD (Eva Mulvad, Lea Glob, 2019) as part of a selection of new rental and subscription titles to explore, plus from 15 January on BFI Player, the online Festival My French Film Festival, will feature 11 of the best in contemporary French filmmaking for UK audiences to enjoy. Also from 15 January, We Are Parable have curated a new collection of films – BLACK VANGUARDS – to accompany the release of Sam Pollard’s documentary MLK/FBI (also on BFI Player from Friday). The BFI AT HOME events programme on BFI YouTube continues with panel discussions for Russell T Davies highly anticipated Channel 4 series IT’S A SIN, Ashley Walters, directorial debut, BOYS ahead of its transmission on Sky Arts as well as a Woman With A Movie Camera Q&A event with LOVE CHILD director Eva Mulvad ahead of its BFI Player release. 

BFI Player continues to add new and classic films to its vast array of curated collections, with new rental and subscription titles being added in January including: 
· GONE TOO FAR! (Destiny Ekaragha, 2013) – subscription from 11 January 
· MLK/FBI (Sam Pollard, 2020) – rental from 15 January
· ARE WE LOST FOREVER? (David Färdmar, 2020) – rental from 18 January
· THE STREET (Zed Nelson, 2019) –  subscription exclusive from 19 January
· 76 DAYS  (Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, 2020) – rental from 22 January
· LOVE CHILD (Eva Mulvad, Lea Glob, 2019) –  subscription exclusive from 25 January
· 23 WALKS (Paul Morrison, 2020) – rental from 25 January 
· SYNCHRONIC (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead , 2019) – rental from 29 January
· ASSASSINS (Ryan White, 2020) – rental from 29 January
· BABY DONE (Curtis Vowell, 2020)– rental from 29  January 

Based on newly declassified files and released online on 15 January, Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, MLK/FBI, is Oscar-nominee Sam Pollard’s revelatory and resonant film, exploring the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr and its wider history of targeting Black activists. 
· To accompany the release of MLK/FBI (on BFI Player from 15 January), We Are Parable Co-Founder and Creative Director Anthony Andrews has selected a number of rental titles on BFI Player that explore other Black voices around the Civil Rights era (namely Malcolm X and James Baldwin), as well as Ava DuVernay’s biopic of Martin Luther King. The collection, BLACK VANGUARDS, will be available to view on BFI Player from 15 January. 

Now in its 11th year, MyFrenchFilmFestival shines a spotlight on new generation French-language filmmakers and gives audiences around the world the chance to share their love of French cinema. The 2021 Festival will take place from 15 January – 15 February with screenings online and in cinemas around the world. Audiences in the UK will be able to watch 11 features from this year’s Festival on BFI Player, free to subscribers (£4.99 per month, 2 week trial available). The programme on BFI Player includes: 
· ADOLESCENTES (Sébastien Lifshitz, 2019) – ADOLESCENTES follows best friends Emma and Anaïs from the age of 13 to 18; through their personal stories, offering a rare portrait of France and its recent history.
· CAMILLE (Boris Lojkine, 2019) – Camille, a young idealistic photojournalist, goes to the Central African Republic to cover the civil war that is brewing. What she sees there will change her destiny forever.
· ÉNORME (Sophie Letourneur, 2019) – Claire is a world-renowned pianist. She travels the world, assisted and pampered by her husband Frédéric, neither of them interested in having children. However, after witnessing a surprise birth during a flight, an unexpected desire for parenthood arises in Frédéric, who turns to tampering with Claire’s pills… 
· FELICITÀ (Bruno Merle, 2020) – Tommy, 11 years old, is on the road again with her eccentric parents. This time, her freshly out-of-jail father has promised her: she won’t miss the first school day of the term! That was before her dad stole a sports car, her mother disappeared and an astronaut popped by.
· FILLES DE JOIE (Frédéric Fonteyne, Anne Paulicevich, 2020) – FILLES DE JOIE (WORKING GIRLS) tells the story of three women, Axelle, Conso and Dominique, who have nothing in common except for the fact that they are colleagues and cross the border together every day to go to work. 
· JOSEP (Aurel, 2020) – When Spanish republicans flee Franco’s dictatorship to France, the government built concentration camps, confining the refugees; in one of these camps, separated by barbed wire, two men become friends. One is a guard, the other is Josep Bartoli, an illustrator who fights against Franco’s regime.
· JUST KIDS (Christophe Blanc, 2019) – After losing both their parents, Jack, 19, Lisa, 17, and Mathis, 10, have to fend for themselves. Being of age, Jack can petition for the custody of his siblings, and so soon finds himself in charge – of his own future, but also his brother’s and sister’s. 
· KUESSIPAN (Myriam Verreault, 2019) – Mikuan and Shaniss, two girls growing up in a Quebec Innu community, have been inseparable since childhood; their plans to stick together no matter what are put to the test as they approach adulthood. 
· LES HÉROS NE MEURENT JAMAIS (Aude Léa Rapin, 2019) – After being violently called out by a stranger, Joachim believes he is the reincarnation of a Serbian soldier who died on the very day he was born. He embarks with his friend Alice and a small film crew on a journey to Bosnia to track back details of his former life.
· MADAME (Stéphane Riethauser, 2019) – A grandmother and her grandson engage in an intimate conversation, exploring gender, sexuality and identity.
· TU MÉRITES UN AMOUR (Hafsia Herzi, 2019) – Following Remi’s infidelity, Lila – deeply in love – is struggling to deal with their break-up. From Bolivia, where he has gone on a soul-searching quest, Remi lets her know that their relationship is not over… 

The BFI AT HOME series, which launched when the pandemic first took hold, has (virtually) welcomed guests from around the globe over the past 6 months; audiences can delve into hours’ worth of discussions and Q&As for free on BFI YouTube with guests such as Naomie Harris, Asif Kapadia, Werner Herzog, Rosamund Pike, Riz Ahmed, Rose Glass, Andy Serkis, Noel Clarke and many more. 

Forthcoming BFI AT HOME panel discussions in January will include:
· IT’S A SIN (18 January, (19:00, BFI YouTube) – BAFTA-winning writer Russell T Davies’ hotly anticipated 5 part series for Channel 4. Set during the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s, IT’S A SIN charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed. The event will see creator Russell T Davies and host Matt Lucas joined by executive producer Nicola Shindler, director Peter Hoar, Channel 4 Head of Drama Caroline Hollick, and cast members Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis, and Keeley Hawes. 
· BOYS (event details tba) – TOPBOY star Ashley Waters’ directorial debut, BOYS is written by newcomer Jerome Holder and produced by Walters’ SLNda in association with Sky Studios. BOYS follows two best friends, Noah (Hector Abbott) and Lewis (Jude Chenchin), on a journey into manhood, set against the grey but beautiful backdrop of East London’s estates.. Ahead of BOYS premiere on Sky Arts and NOW TV the panel event will see producer/director Ashley Walters joined by key cast and crew. Full details to be announced next week.
· LOVE CHILD (event details tba) – Special Q&A Woman With A Movie Camera event with documentarian Eva Mulvad ahead of an exclusive BFI Player subscription release. Intimately filmed over a five-year period LOVE CHILD is a heart-breaking portrait of Leila and Sahand, an Iranian couple who are forced to flee for their lives from Tehran where their secret affair and illegitimate child are both considered crimes, punishable by death. Together with their four-year old son Mani they take refuge in Turkey with dreams of a new life. 

Seasons and events planned for BFI Southbank in January can still be enjoyed from home in their online iterations: 

NEAR THE JUGULAR is a small collection of films (rental and free) curated by writer/director of MOGUL MOWGLI (2019) Bassam Tariq and co-writer, producer, and star Riz Ahmed. This collection looks at their cinematic influences, including films that have inspired MOGUL MOWGLI, which is available to rent on BFI Player.

Films in the BFI Player collection are:
– Scorsese’s classic portrait of the Italian-American underworld GOODFELLAS (1990) centres on misplaced loyalties, violent crime, vengeance and betrayal, with an all-star cast including Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco.
– Set in a wintry Mississippi delta, Lance Hammer’s bold debut feature BALLAST (2007) charts the effects of a man’s suicide on his nearest – a twin brother – and his not-so-dearest: namely, his estranged wife and 12-year-old son. 
– In Bong Joon-Ho’s MOTHER (2009) the notion of maternal love is explored to eye-opening and thought-provoking effect, as an elderly woman, whose beloved son has been charged with the brutal murder of a young girl, investigates the crime for herself. 
– Yasujirô Ozu’s masterly TOKYO STORY (1953) is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret, told through a simple tale of an elderly husband and wife’s visit to Tokyo to see their grown-up children. 
– “A testament to the importance of strong female authorship. This is the kind of work is made when women are given control of writing, directing, producing and editing” said Bassam and Riz about Anna Rose Holmer’s THE FITS (2015), the story of an 11-year-old who joins a tightly knit dance team, only to see her desire for acceptance thwarted., when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team.
– In Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning IDA (2013) a young woman about to become a Catholic nun is told by her aunt – her only living relative, a hedonistic judge and former member of the anti-Nazi Communist resistance – that her parents were in fact Jewish. 
– In Alonso Ruizpalacios’ acclaimed debut GÜEROS (2014), which Bassam cites as the “best first film ever made”, a single mother who feels unable to cope with her young son sends him to stay with his brother, a student in Mexico City.


Filmmaker Mark Cousins, whose epic documentary WOMEN MAKE FILM: A NEW ROAD MOVIE THROUGH CINEMA, was released on BFI Player and on BFI Blu-ray in May, curated a companion season for BFI Southbank which now moves to an online iteration, with films including: 

–          EVOLUTION (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2015) 

–          THE WATERMELON WOMAN (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) 

–          SOMETHING DIFFERENT (Vera Chytilová, 1963)

–          XXY (Lucía Puenzo, 2007)

–          TONI ERDMANN (Maren Ade, 2016)

–          A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)

–          ORLANDO (Sally Potter, 1992)

–          FISH TANK (Andrea Arnold, 2009) 

– GERMANY, PALE MOTHER (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1980)
– ON THE TWELFTH DAY… (Wendy Toye, 1955)

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