British Film Institute Launches Subscription VOD Service

Seven Samurai
Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

It's the only Japanese film on the list and later was remade as The Magnificent Seven, a Western with Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson.

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BFI Player+ will feature around 300 selected "cinematic greats" for streaming for $7.63 a month, slightly lower than Netflix's $9.16 in the U.K.

The British Film Institute is taking on Netflix, at least when it comes to cinematic classics.

BFI Player+, a new VOD subscription service unveiled on Wednesday, will see around 300 "carefully selected" films available for streaming, including "must-see British films alongside the best in world cinema," according to the BFI.

The launch collections will include horror, documentaries, family and films that are "near-impossible to see anywhere else" and "unavailable on DVD." The selection will also be grouped around the institute's various festivals, including the recently concluded London Film Festival and its projects, such as the major Sci-Fi and Love seasons.

Among those in the initial lineup of titles are Battleship Potemkin, Seven Samurai and The Lodger, alongside more contemporary films such as Abbas Kiarostami's Shirin and How I Ended This Summer by Alexei Popogrebsky. A "significant" number of new titles will be added in the coming weeks, according to the BFI.

British film critic Mark Kermode is also set to pick one film each Friday as his weekly recommendation, starting with The Lodger — featuring a specially created score from Nitin Sawhney — on Oct. 30.

The service will cost £4.99 ($7.63) per month, slightly lower than Netflix's price of £5.99 ($9.16).