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Sonic

Personal, powerful and lyrical, this is where music and film collide, a meeting place for rock biopics, probing documentaries, groundbreakers and old stagers.

The hugely popular sonic cinema strand from the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Southbank can now be enjoyed on BFI Player.

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Sonic
View Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq
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Chi-Raq 2015 15

Spike Lee’s bold and vivacious hip-hop musical restages an ancient Greek battle-of-the-sexes in 21st-century Chicago.

127 mins USA Director. Spike Lee

View David Brent: Life on the Road
David Brent: Life on the Road
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David Brent: Life on the Road 2016 15

The long-awaited big-screen outing for Slough’s premier paper salesman finds Ricky Gervais’ genius comic creation cashing in his pension for one last shot at rock ‘n’ roll success.

96 mins United Kingdom Director. Ricky Gervais

View Lambert & Stamp
Lambert & Stamp
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Lambert & Stamp 2014 15

The fascinating story of how two aspiring filmmakers set out to capture swinging 1960s London, but instead inadvertently helped create The Who.

117 mins USA Director. James D. Cooper

View Supersonic
Supersonic
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Supersonic 2016 15

Relive the stratospheric rise of Oasis in this exhilarating slice of Britpop nostalgia from the producers of Amy.

122 mins United Kingdom Director. Mat Whitecross

View Sing Street
Sing Street
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Sing Street 2015 12

The third in John Carney’s trilogy of musical films is the utterly charming story a boy who escapes his troubles through fronting a pop band.

106 mins Ireland Director. John Carney

View Midnight Breaks
Midnight Breaks
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Midnight Breaks 1988

Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.

102 mins United Kingdom Director. Laurens C. Postma

View Ray
Ray
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Ray 2004 15

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his extraordinary performance as Ray Charles, in a film that revived the potency of the musical biopic.

178 mins USA Director. Taylor Hackford

View 20 Feet from Stardom
20 Feet from Stardom
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20 Feet from Stardom 2013 12

This moving documentary shines a spotlight on the backing singers behind some of the great musical hits of the 21st century.

91 mins USA Director. Morgan Neville

View The Wiz
The Wiz
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The Wiz 1978 U

NYC becomes Oz in the cult, urban reimagining of the family favourite, featuring an all-African American cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

127 mins USA Director. Sidney Lumet

View Eden
Eden
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Eden 2014 15

Mia Hansen-Løve’s stylish and transcendent story of house music is one of the great films about dance culture.

130 mins France Director. Mia Hansen-Løve

View Beats of the Antonov
Beats of the Antonov
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Beats of the Antonov 2014

A beautiful documentary capturing the lives of the communities of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, who defiantly persist with their musical traditions even while under threat of aerial bombardment.

68 mins Sudan Director. Hajooj Kuka

View 20,000 Days on Earth
20,000 Days on Earth
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20,000 Days on Earth 2014 15

The myths and minutiae of musician Nick Cave are explored in the course of this fictional portrait, following 24 hours in the life of a cultural icon.

93 mins United Kingdom Director. Jane Pollard, Iain Forsyth

View We Are the Best!
We Are the Best!
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We Are the Best! 2013 15

'80s schoolgirls embrace punk in this coming-of-age riot, a Sonic collection classic.

Sweden Director. Lukas Moodysson

View Control
Control
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Control 2007 15

The life story of Ian Curtis, the tortured singer of Joy Division who suffered epilepsy and crippling self-doubt, filmed in stunning monochrome.

122 mins United Kingdom Director. Anton Corbijn

View The Possibilities Are Endless
The Possibilities Are Endless
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The Possibilities Are Endless 2014 12

A cornerstone of this collection, Edwyn Collins' story embraces love and loss, tragedy and triumph. A monumental achievement.

83 mins United Kingdom Director. Edward Lovelace, James Hall

View Frank
Frank
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Frank 2013 15

Michael Fassbender is the man inside the papier-mâché head, in this fictionalised reimagining of the story of northern entertainer Frank Sidebottom.

95 mins Ireland Director. Lenny Abrahamson

View Shellshock Rock
Shellshock Rock
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Shellshock Rock 1979

The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers play live in this vivid music doc capturing all the vibrancy of the 1970s Northern Irish punk scene.

47 mins Northern Ireland Director. John T. Davis

View The Stone Roses: Made of Stone
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone
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The Stone Roses: Made of Stone 2013 15

Avid Stone Roses fan Shane Meadows records the reunion of the pivotal 1990s rock band, in this heartfelt and inspiring documentary

97 mins United Kingdom

View Couple in a Hole
Couple in a Hole
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Couple in a Hole 2015 12

One of the most original British features in recent years follows a Scottish couple’s bizarre underground existence in a French forest.

105 mins United Kingdom Director. Tom Geens

View Afrika Bambaataa on Afrofuturism (Q&A)
Afrika Bambaataa on Afrofuturism (Q&A)
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Afrika Bambaataa on Afrofuturism (Q&A) 2014

Afrika Bambaataa and DJ, musician and filmmaker Don Letts discuss the development of Afrofuturism and its key artists.

44 mins United Kingdom

View The Death and Resurrection Show (Q&A)
The Death and Resurrection Show (Q&A)
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The Death and Resurrection Show (Q&A) 2015

Director Shaun Pettigrew and Killing Joke’s frontman Jaz Coleman discuss the making of their music documentary.

11 mins United Kingdom

View Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets
Pulp:  A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets
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Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets 2014

Jarvis and co’s farewell concert is captured in Florian Habicht’s affectionate and intriguing documentary, which also acts as a profile of Pulp’s home city of Sheffield and its residents.

90 mins United Kingdom Director. Florian Habicht

View Only Lovers Left Alive
Only Lovers Left Alive
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Only Lovers Left Alive 2013 15

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as ageless, blood-drinking lovers in Jim Jarmusch’s clever, funny and sexy vampire tale.

123 mins United Kingdom Director. Jim Jarmusch

View The Big Melt
The Big Melt
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The Big Melt 2013 PG

Jarvis Cocker and acclaimed director Martin Wallace's feature-length elegy to the men and women who toiled in Sheffield's steelworks is a hymn to Britain's proud industrial past.

70 mins United Kingdom

View Jubilee
Jubilee
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Jubilee 1977 18

The mythological past and a soon-to-be bleak future converge on the sparse, grey streets of London in Jarman’s personal vision of the punk movement.

106 mins United Kingdom Director. Derek Jarman

View Cleo and John
Cleo and John
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Cleo and John 1982

Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth cook up red hot jazz together live on stage, chat about married life together, and recall lengthy musical careers.

51 mins United Kingdom Director. Vernon Lawrence

View Privilege
Privilege
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HD

Privilege 1967 PG

An exalted pop star holds the country's youth in his thrall, but secretly his popularity is being carefully managed by the state.

103 mins United Kingdom

View A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night
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HD

A Hard Day's Night 1964 U

The Beatles’ freewheeling film debut remains the pinnacle of rock-n-roll cinema; still deliriously entertaining 50 years on.

87 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Lester

View Some People
Some People
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Some People 1962 PG

Cult 1960s musical drama about a leather boy who forms a Shadows-style guitar band.

89 mins United Kingdom

View Expresso Bongo
Expresso Bongo
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HD

Expresso Bongo 1959 12

Val Guest's 1959 London-shot Brit Beat classic charts the fortunes of aspiring musician Bert Rudge (Cliff Richard)

United Kingdom Director. Val Guest

View From the Sea to the Land Beyond
From the Sea to the Land Beyond
HD

From the Sea to the Land Beyond 2012 U

This fascinating and moving film by award-winning director Penny Woolcock is a lyrical portrait of Britain's coastline which features a score by British Sea Power.

73 mins United Kingdom Director. Penny Woolcock

View One Love
One Love

One Love 2003 12

The legendary Don Letts directs this reggae romance about a rasta musician whose affair with a gospel-singing preacher’s daughter causes a stir in Kingston.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Don Letts, Rick Elgood

View More
More

More 1969 18

The first feature by Barbet Schroeder (Maîtresse, The Valley), More created a sensation when it was released in 1969, quickly becoming a cult classic and famed for its Pink Floyd soundtrack.

118 mins Luxembourg Director. Barbet Schroeder

View The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)
The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)

The Valley (Obscured by Clouds) 1972 15

Different worlds collide when a chic young diplomat's wife meets an intriguing adventurer and his hippy friends in Barbet Schroeder's striking second feature. Soundtrack composed by Pink Floyd.

105 mins France Director. Barbet Schroeder

View This Is Tomorrow
This Is Tomorrow

This Is Tomorrow 2007

The final part of Saint Etienne and Paul Kelly’s London trilogy follows the renovation and reopening of the Royal Festival Hall through 2005-7.

55 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly

View What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?
What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?

What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? 2005 12

Paul Kelly’s second collaboration with pop band Saint Etienne traces the hidden history of East London’s Lower Lea Valley before its Olympic makeover.

48 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly

View Finisterre
Finisterre

Finisterre 2003 12

A journey from London’s suburbs to its heart, charting the influence of the city on indie pop band Saint Etienne.

57 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Kelly, Kieran Evans

View The Organ of a Thousand Moods
The Organ of a Thousand Moods
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The Organ of a Thousand Moods 1951

Enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in the company of organ maestro Nick Olson, tickling the ivories at Uncle Tom's Cabin, Minnis Bay, Birchington.

5 mins United Kingdom

View The Jah People
The Jah People
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The Jah People 1981

Followers of the Rastafari way of life bring tales of Haile Selassie, Jah and Zion to the streets of inner-city Birmingham.

22 mins United Kingdom

View Discomania
Discomania
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Discomania 1980

Nerdy teenage mummy's boy David dreams of wowing the girls with his disco dance moves - but alas he was born with two left feet.

25 mins Great Britain

View The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage
The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage
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The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage 1969

The Bonzo Dog Band freak out at the farm and strange sounds abound in this cheery, charmingly childlike stream-of-consciousness music short.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. David Korr

View Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
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Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles 1973

Prepare to be freaked out big time by a thoroughly theatrical 1970s psych-prog-folk-rock fairy tale from English eccentrics Jethro Tull.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Beat Girl
Beat Girl
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HD

Beat Girl 1960 12

A cult classic British film about late-fifties youth-rebellion set against an intoxicating Beatnik backdrop.

85 mins United Kingdom Director. Edmond T. Gréville

View Shellshock Rock
Shellshock Rock
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Shellshock Rock 1979

The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers play live in this vivid music doc capturing all the vibrancy of the 1970s Northern Irish punk scene.

47 mins Northern Ireland Director. John T. Davis

View Discomania
Discomania
Watch for free 25 mins

Discomania 1980

Nerdy teenage mummy's boy David dreams of wowing the girls with his disco dance moves - but alas he was born with two left feet.

25 mins Great Britain

View Burn Your Bra!
Burn Your Bra!
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Burn Your Bra! 1968

The Women’s Liberation movement’s burn your bra campaign hits Truro.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Dr Turner's Mental Home
Dr Turner's Mental Home
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Dr Turner's Mental Home 1929

The wilder fringes of the Bloomsbury Group are exposed in this dark amateur film starring Dora Carrington.

8 mins United Kingdom

View Good Strong Coffee
Good Strong Coffee
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Good Strong Coffee 1968

Far-out guys and groovy gals drop doses of good strong coffee in this psychedelic 1968 ad for the hot black stuff.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Punk In 60 Seconds
Punk In 60 Seconds
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Punk In 60 Seconds 2016

Anarchy in the UK… This rare footage presents a short blast of the punk energy that took over the streets of Britain in the late 1970s.

United Kingdom

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