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Peter Hall's Akenfield comes to UK dual format in July

4 July 2016

Based on Ronald Blythe's acclaimed oral-history book Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, Peter Hall’s extraordinary long-unseen film Akenfield offers a lyrical yet authentic depiction of British pastoral life. Now newly restored in 2K by the BFI National Archive, it will be released on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time in a Dual Format Edition in July. The discs are packed with special features including a making-of documentary and interviews with cast, crew and author Ronald Blythe.

Akenfield tells the story of a farming family who have lived for generations in the bucolic Suffolk village of the film’s title. Real-life local farmhand Garrow Shand gives a compelling naturalistic central performance, in three roles, as farmhand Tom Rouse, his father and grandfather – a lineage which has experienced hardship, happiness and love, and struggled with the pressures of mechanisation, two world wars and shifting social mores.

A profoundly romantic work of sublime poetic realism, Akenfield boasts compelling performances from its cast of non-professional actors (drawn from the living communities of several Suffolk villages) and a sweeping, rhapsodic orchestral score composed by Michael Tippett (Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli).

The influences of this quietly dramatic, humorous and deeply moving film, about the family ties that bind and the desire to escape deep roots, can still be felt in the lyrical, personal work of other directors such as Terence Davies and Mark Cousins.

Akenfield lands a UK dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) release on 25th July 2016 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.

Featuring a brand new 2K digital restoration by the BFI National Archive, the relese will have the following special features:

  • Akenfield Revisited (Rex Pyke, 2004, 39 mins): making-of documentary with extensive interviews

  • Akenfield on Location (1973, 19 mins): 16mm footage capturing the film’s production

  • On-set Interview with Ronald Blythe (1973, 3 mins): filmed on the first day of production

  • An Interview with Sir Peter Hall (2004, 12 mins)

  • An Interview with Garrow Shand (2004, 11 mins)

  • An Interview with Ronald Blythe (2004, 15 mins)

  • An Interview with Rex Pyke (2016, 37 mins): newly-filmed interview with the film’s producer

  • Akenfield Cast and Crew Interview at the National Film Theatre (2004, 27 mins): on-stage interview, presented with original mute 16mm location footage

  • Production Stills Gallery (4 mins)

  • Illustrated booklet with writing by Sir Peter Hall and Ronald Blythe, and full film credits