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BFI Commemorates the 100th Anniversary of World War I

The BFI (British Film Institute) participates in creating a better understanding and appreciation of the film industry, as well as providing access to persevered and transferred cine films of many different formats, genres and eras. They will continue this promotion of the film industry over the next five years, which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

The World War I centenary will be celebrated by BFI with a three-part project of archived discoveries over the span of the years 2014, 2016, and 2018. The programme will also feature archived television dramas, key films, and re-releases. Some of the events and screenings will take place at the BFI Southbank location; however, viewers will also be able to stream some of the collection online using the BFI Player.

The following are some of the events that participants or online streamers can enjoy over the next five years:

Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen: This programme takes a look at small-screen interpretations of Edwardian playwrights and gives the audience a vision of life in Britain prior to The Great War. Some of the best pre-war interpretations of British television will be screened, as well as influential works by Harley Granville-Barker, John Galsworthy, J.M. Synge, and Oscar Wilde.

On the Eve of War: Around the World in 80 Films: This programme is a continuing look at life prior to World War I. The films presented in this portion were made before 1914 and are extremely rare. (Due to the deterioration of cine film with age.) Some have been recently restored by BFI National Archive and include footage from locations such as, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, the Gobi desert, Rangoon, and Shanghai. These unique films will also be available to online viewers later in the year.

The War that Changed Everything: This series of films will screen as a three-part series, starting in June 2014. The programme began exploring short and feature films depicting life before World War I. Throughout June 2014, such titles as A Farewell to Arms directed by Frank Borzage, Orson Welle’s The Magnificent Ambersons, and Time Regained directed by Raul Ruiz, were screened. Most of the titles displayed in this part of the series will be available throughout the UK through the BFI Player.

The second part of the series will continue in June 2016, bringing the audience feature length films as well as actual footage from the war. The films in this series will give the audience a view of the war from both sides. The sometimes brutal, yet emotional footage will forever embed the realities of war in the viewer’s mind.

The third and final part of the series will take place in 2018. These films will portray what life was like after the war was over. Some will include recreations of the war, and others will depict how the world will be forever changed after World War I.

A Night at the Cinema in 1914: The BFI National Archive has compiled and recreated several genres of film to entertain the audience with a simulated night out in 1914. This collection includes newsreels, comedies, drama, and travelogues. The purpose of this assortment is to bring a day in the life of 1914 to realization for the audience as well as to share these rare pieces of film.

For each year leading up to 2018, the subsequent centenary year’s rare and unique films will be screened for viewers. Some of the films that audiences have to look forward to in the years to come are: In celebration of the year 1915, Troops in the Snow; from 1916, Zeppelin Raid on Paris; depicting dedicated help to the war in 1917 is the film Scottish Women’s Hospital; and representing 1918 is a comedic film titled, The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun.