This dramatic reconstruction of two decisive naval battles from the First World War is one of the finest films of the British silent era. Walter Summers’ film was originally released on Armistice Day 1927 to act as a memorial to the thousands who died in the Battle of Coronel, triumph for German Admiral von Spee, and the retaliatory strike by ace British tactician Admiral Fisher six weeks later.
Filmed on real battleships supplied by the Admiralty, this monumental production was shot mostly at sea near Malta, with the Scilly Isles a convincing stand-in for the Falklands. It is an astonishingly effective piece of filmmaking, which glories, like Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, in the power and beauty of the machine. Scrupulously fair in its treatment of the enemy, this stirring film is presented with a newly commissioned score composed by Simon Dobson and performed by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. Restoration supported by Matt Spick. Score commission and recording supported by the Gosling Foundation, the Hartnett Conservation Trust, PRS for Music Foundation and the Charles Skey Charitable Trust.
Drama 2019 169 mins Director: Vaclav Marhoul
Based on Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel and a long time in the making, Václav Marhoul’s extraordinary The Painted Bird finds a lone Jewish boy on a dark odyssey towards home during wartime.
Drama 2019 100 mins Director: Jessica Swale
Gemma Arterton stars in acclaimed theatre director Jessica Swale’s moving Second World War drama, as a woman rediscovering her ability to love.
Drama 2018 124 mins Director: Christiaan Olwagen
A Boy George-obsessed smalltown boy joins the South African Defence Force army choir, in this quirky Apartheid-era musical drama.
Drama 2017 108 mins Director: Saul Dibb
Sam Claflin, Paul Bettany and Asa Butterfield bring R C Sherriff’s acclaimed First World War play to the screen, in this new adaptation from director Saul Dibb.
Romance 1950 99 mins Director: Anthony Bushell
Anthony Bushell directs this 1950 British drama about the rise and fall of a family of Austrian piano-makers in Vienna.
War 1931 89 mins Director: E.A. Dupont
An Austrian officer falls in love with a Jewish villager in this early sound epic set during WWI
Festival Archive Treasures
Romance 1928 93 mins Silent Director: Anthony Asquith
The BFI National Archive restoration of one of Anthony Asquith's finest silent films set in London's Underground, with a new score.
Drama 1954 86 mins Director: Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini's acerbic but finally very moving masterpiece about marital crisis boasts great performances from Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders
Fantasy 1946 95 mins Director: Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau’s ravishingly restored 1946 film is a cinematic classic. “Five stars. [This] magical exploration of the fairytale is a compelling and bizarre masterpiece” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Drama 1961 100 mins Director: Basil Dearden
This thought-provoking classic stars Dirk Bogarde as a homosexual lawyer who risks his career to hunt down a blackmailer.
Historical drama 1975 96 mins Director: Kevin Brownlow
An authentic historical drama about the visionary Gerrard Winstanley who led a group of impoverished 'Diggers' to assert their common rights.
Directed by Walter Summers
1932 19 mins Director: Walter Summers
Take to the skies in this eccentric short starring the newlywed darlings of British aviation, Amy Johnson and Jim Mollison.
War 1926 110 mins Silent Director: Walter Summers
Arrival of the British Army in France
War 1925 79 mins Silent Director: Walter Summers
Battle film made as a memorial to the dead of WWI, documenting events at Ypres using reconstructed and genuine footage.
Melodrama 1930 75 mins Director: Richard Eichberg
Chinese-American star Anna May Wong dazzles as a Chinese dancer forced to give herself to a Russian General in order to save her brother.
Drama 2019 140 mins Director: Karim Aïnouz
A deserving winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prize, this sumptuous tale of two sisters cruelly separated by family and fate makes for deeply moving drama.
Documentary 2021 81 mins Director: Sue Carpenter
An inspirational story of rebellion, courage and hope as Belmaya, a young Dalit woman in Nepal, silenced and subjugated for most of her life, takes up the movie camera to tell her story.
Drama 1965 123 mins Director: John Schlesinger
Julie Christie stars in the quintessential swinging sixties film, as a young woman flitting nonchalantly through London's nightlife.
Drama 2019 113 mins Director: Pedro Almodóvar
In one of his most personal works, Pedro Almodóvar presents a vivid portrait of a filmmaker confronting age-related anxieties.
Drama 2019 76 mins Director: Quentin Dupieux
One man’s love for his designer jacket escalates to dangerous heights in what might just be the strangest serial killer film ever made.
Drama 2016 95 mins Director: Mitra Tabrizian
An Iranian exile in London, who is haunted by his past, gets involved in the conflicts of a total stranger and has to see it through until the end, in this mesmerising slow-burn thriller.