The BFI, the UK’s lead organisation for film, offers a Video on Demand subscription service like no other: BFI Player+ [BFI Player Plus] – Costing just £4.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial for all users, BFI Player+ offers audiences a wide selection of hand-picked classic and critically-acclaimed films.

Continuing its unique approach to curated cinema, every Friday BFI Player+ features an exclusive weekly video recommendation from one of the UK’s most respected film critics, Mark Kermode. Each week Mark selects a key title from the BFI Player+ collections and shows why it’s a film not to be missed. On the 4th December, he introduces Jean Cocteau’s 1946 timeless romantic fantasy, La Belle et la Bête.

Based on the fairytale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Cocteau’s enchanting adaptation stars Jean Marais and Josette Day as the unlikely lovers. Still holding up against today’s CGI effects, Cocteau (with some help from the uncredited René Clément) employed a whole host of techniques to achieve the film’s dreamlike quality, and ensure its translation to the big screen lost none of the original tale’s magical realism. With set pieces inspired by Vermeer and costume supervision from Parisian couture house Lanvin, the film remains a visual feast- as dark, mysterious and utterly mesmerizing as the beast himself.

Of the film, Mark Kermode says: “I think Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro, the modern maestro of the fairy tale, said it best when he declared La Belle et La Bête simply to be ‘the most perfect cinematic fable ever told.’”

As well as Mark Kermode’s weekly selections, BFI Player+ subscribers can dive into collections of hand-selected films curated by the BFI’s world-leading experts, enjoying must-see British films alongside the best of world cinema.

In short: BFI Player+ is a subscription service like no other. Now, it’s easy for audiences to discover and enjoy the essential classics, all without the need for a contract.


BFI Player+ is available now here:


Around 300 titles are available right now, including:

Sergei M. Eisenstein – Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Alfred Hitchcock – The Lodger (1927)

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger  – The Red Shoes (1948)

Akira Kurosawa – Seven Samurai (1954)

Ishirô Honda – Godzilla (1954)

Sidney J. Furie – The Ipcress File (1965)

David Cronenberg – Dead Ringers (1988)

Joanna Hogg – Unrelated (2007)

Abbas Kiarostami – Shirin (2008)

Alexei Popogrebsky – How I Ended this Summer (2010)

Sergei Loznitsa – In the Fog (2012)


Collections available include:

  • British Classics
  • Japanese classics
  • Silent classics
  • French Classics
  • Unavailable on DVD
  • Horror
  • Indie
  • Documentaries +
  • Family +
  • Shorts +
  • Award-winning
  • Experimenta
  • Love +
  • LFF +
  • Flare – LGBT+
  • Flipside – Cult British Cinema
  • Sci-Fi+
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Werner Herzog
  • John Cassavetes
  • David Lean
  • Early Hitchcock
  • Powell and Pressburger

By Michael Dickinson

Michael is the VultureHound Film Editor.