The BFI’s Arcadia Collection


To celebrate the release of the new archival folk history film Arcadia (which we’ll be reviewing next week ahead of its Summer Solstice release), the BFI has released a huge archive of films that feature in or inspired the documentary for free viewing via the online BFI Player platform.


The films range from documentaries to dramas, educational films to amateur productions, political polemics to cultural oddities, all with one loose connecting thread – they represent a British life long past. In some cases, these are rural studies of farming and pastoral life, in others a look at alternative lifestyles, be they rural or urban. There’s the hippy counter-culture examined in Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate and Tribe of the Sun, naturism explored in The Pioneers of Nudism and Action in Slow Motion, London punks in Death is Their Destiny and Punk Can Take It, plus studies of rave culture and psychedelia. There’s the disturbing educational film Apaches, strange science fiction and more than a smattering of what we might call folk horror, as films explore faeries, pixies and rural strangeness. All in all, it’s a remarkable collection of 75 films that should keep you entranced for days. Find it here:


Here’s the extraordinary trailer for Arcadia, which should also act as a taster for the delights you’ll find in this collection: