Yesterday at BFI Southbank I saw a fine (although a touch short of immaculate) 35mm print of John Schlesinger’s 1967 Far from the Madding Crowd. Marred by inconsistency in its central performances, this is nonetheless a magnificent film in many ways, with breathtaking 70mm Panavision and Technicolor cinematography from Nic Roeg. But my pleasure was almost spoiled by the opening BFI corporate animation, which I assume to be new, with the Institute’s logo and the tagline ‘Film Forever’. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhh!
Whose ignorant and insulting idea was it to define our central body dedicated to the moving image in a way that excludes most television and all video and digital creation. Why does the BFI feel that it must take refuge in such a retro attitude? How, for example, when the BFI celebrates itself with such an alliteration, are we going to tackle the questions that Luke McKernan raises in his excellent post What is restoration? Luke makes some fundamental points about the low cultural status and lack of glamour associated with video restoration (such as that undertaken recently by the BFI on the BBC’s 1970s series Nationwide, above). But what the heck, eh, BFI? Who gives a f*** in a world of ‘Film Forever’?