Two new BFI releases, Peter Hall’s Akenfield (1974) and Andrew Grieve’s On the Black Hill (1988), view the 20th Century through the relationships of people in rural Britain to the land, evoking physical hardship and timeless mystical connections.
It’s remarkable that it’s still possible to discover a previously unknown yet major film from the silent era, but the BFI’s new release of Anthony Asquith’s first feature, Shooting Stars (1928) is a revelation; a fresh, self-aware film about filmmaking and the intersection of real and imaginary lives.
Despite perennial predictions of the demise of movies-on-disk, 2014 offered a rich and varied selection of new and old titles in often impressive editions from many different companies, though not necessarily from major distributors. The cream came from specialty labels like Criterion, the BFI, Arrow, Eureka/Masters of Cinema, Shout! Factory, Olive Films, Kino Lorber, Flicker Alley and Twilight Time.