directed by William Raban


This new series begins with William Raban, a leading figure in his field, whose work ranges from multi-screen gallery pieces to perfectly crafted short films. His particular interests - the City of London and the British landscape - are in the tradition of the romantic landscape painters.

The DVD features five films written, produced,photographed, edited and directed by William Raban: Thames Barrier, Fergus Walking, A13, MM and the acclaimed Thames Film, filmed from a boat drifting downstream and narrated by actor John Hurt. The films show Raban's continuing explorations of the formal properties of film itself and his immediate surroundings: East London and the River Thames.

DVD extras include theFrame – William Raban (2003) (29 mins) William Raban talks about the inspiration behind his work and some of the techniques involved. Illustrated by clips from 12 films. Accompanying the DVD is a 20-page illustrated booklet containing film notes and a bibliography.

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DVD Review: BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL

DVD Box Cover


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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2- PAL
Runtime 2:11:20 (total)
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.98 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• 20-page illustrated booklet
• William Raban Interview
• Acknowledgements 

DVD Release Date: October 25th, 2004

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12 films




In the vein of Decasia  and Temenos (both from BFI) we have another extreme 'art' expression... this time from an British artist-cum-filmmaker named William Raban. In the booklet included with the DVD it states:

"One of William Raban's last pieces of work in painting before he turned to filmmaking, was a canvas which he had wrapped around a tree trunk and left for several months to the ravages of the weather."

I expect that this description might inform the readers as to the level of experimentation that Mr. Raban employs in his creations. If you allow yourself to succumb to it, you will be fascinated. I suspect, however, that many may be far too jaded to appreciate his extreme bohemian  offerings. It is, again, a film I recommend to fulfill the gaps in your collection when you are befuddled on what to view. Budding artists may find it quite inspirational, Joe-sixpack, looking for his next quite thrill, will not watch for more than a few minutes.

Video quality is not bad at all. I would compare it to TV, but perhaps a shade superior. Audio is original and the included booklet and interview seem boundlessly appeasing to the hidden artist within me. Be prepared folks, this is contemplative art, almost akin to expressionism, but of course, on a celluloid canvas.

I am keen to see future releases in this series. BFI should be given huge kudos for going out on a limb to produce this. I am sure it is not for the sake of the almighty monetary currency.

Gary W. Tooze


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Gary Tooze