A tale of two cities: A journey through BFI Player

Posted on Tue 31 May 2016
Under The Skin - one of Mark's choices for the BFIplayer

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed's Cinema Curator, was recently invited by the BFI to curate a playlist for BFI Player, the BFI's video-on-demand service that ofers a mix of free and paid films. His collection has just gone live and we'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

If you're unaware of the BFI Player, it is home to one of the biggest online archives of moving image. It has everything from early silent film to contemporary features sources from the BFI's National Film Archive, and all available at the click of a button. Earlier this year Mark was invited to select his own collection and his approach was to explore two cities through film - Bristol and Glasgow (Mark is from Glasgow and has now lives and works in Bristol) - that have made a real impact in shaping his cultural outlook. Watch his films here (they're all free apart from two feature length films) and read more about his approach below.

Here Mark explains more about how and why he selected the material:

"Being from Glasgow I was struck by the way Jonathan Glazer captured an authentic feel of its streets in his stunning film Under The Skin which, combined with Mica Levi's haunting score, is one of the most ground breaking films to come out of the UK since Nicolas Roeg was at his peak. Glazer filmed with hidden cameras allowing Scarlett Johansson's extra-terrestrial to wander unobserved amongst the city's inhabitants. I asked him what it was like to film in the city and he responded with: "I could just film there all the time... it was so extraordinary".

"This led me on a journey through archive footage of Glasgow to compare the fictional world of Glazer's film with the documentary footage of these historical films. And like Scarlett in Under The Skin, I got lost in an oddly familiar but also alien and lost world.

"Now being based in Bristol I have a daily walk around a different cityscape but one similar in being built on a history of trading and empire, by which has similarly redefined itself through culture. In exploring Bristol through the archive I came across an unknown - to me - feature film Some People (1962) which points towards Bristol's counter cultural awakening..."

Watch Mark's collection here and let him know your thoughts - tweet him @msc45 or leave a comment below. For more curatorial insights be sure to check out our monthly Podcast - in our June one Mark reflects back on the recent Cannes Film Festival.


This is probably the worst film ever made. The book is great, the film is simply trash. Describing it as stunning is surely ironic?

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