BFI launches collection of erotic films as part of “Britain on Film” project


The British Film Institute (BFI) has announced that “The Pleasure Principle,” a new collection of newly digitized films dating from 1896 to the early years of the 21st century, will be added to the “Britain on Film” collection on BFI Player.

The collection is made up of early erotic films, described in an official press release as “illicit celluloid pleasures, from teasing Victorian views of corsets and petticoats to artistic slow motion nudity to Soho’s finest cheesecake pin-ups captured on 8mm film in the 1950s and 60s, as well as a selection of taboo-breaking dramas and documentaries.”

The earliest film included in the collection is titled Victorian Lady in Her Boudoir (1896) and is possibly Britain’s earliest erotic films.

Other interesting works featured are: The Irresponsibles (1926), a female-focused silent drama directed by Mary Field which was intended to raise awareness of the perils of sexually transmitted diseases; Fiona Richmond at her Pleasure (1970), an “naked” interview with the trailblazing erotic star on her work; Exeter School of Striptease (1970), with Westward TV reporter Andy Price learning about the art of exotic dancing at Devon’s first striptease school, and; Off the Shoulder (1951), portraying the erotic allure of an uncovered shoulder, described as “a strange silent short, possibly the work of an (unknown) amateur filmmaker.”

As noted, The Pleasure Principle is part of the BFI’s five-year Britain on Film project to digitise, and make available online, 10,000 films, from the BFI National Archive and the UK’s national and regional film archives, by 2017.

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