The cinemas at the BFI are, of course, fantastic, with an excellent range of films and events, but the Mediatheque should not be overlooked. In fact, I'd say that Mediatheque is one of my favourite things in London.
You just turn up, book a screen and for two hours or so, you can choose from an enormous range of archive material. It's just incredible. Hardly anyone seems to know about it, which in many ways suits me fine, as it means it's never too busy, but it's a brilliant service.
If you're on the South Bank, and it's a bit rainy and miserable, you can pop in and warm yourself while watching an old episode of Hartbeat. But really, it's better than that. It's a destination in itself, rather than just an addition on the side of a cinema.
Take an afternoon off work and try it. It's just lovely.
The Bfi Filmstore is a film buffs' paradise. There are loads of obscure DVDs and more popular choices in here too...
I recently found some cool Korean films in here that I couldn't get in Zavvi or HMV. There is so much choice, it's really great. I've also found a few gifts in here for friends as well. The Bfi is a great place to be anyways, the Benugo's Cafe is in the building, the cinema too... I love this place...
This place is so brilliant, I had no idea I was living beside such a gem. I went in for a browse today and ended up buying some really good dvds that I haven't seen for sale anywhere else, like the a latin american documentary and an Irish film I love, each were £17.99.
They have all the dvds arranged by country so it's all very easy to navigate. As well as books on film theory, biographies etc they also have fun little things like postcards of movie stills and cartoon flip books which would make nice little presents come my usual Christmas week panic. They also had a large flatscreen t.v on the wall playing a dvd that is on sale there so if you like it you can just buy it, no fuss. It's really user friendly and not at all film-nerdy like I though it would be. I'll be back!
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