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The Animals Film - a film by Victor Schonfeld and Myriam Alaux

17 September 2008

Controversial, confrontational…twenty-six years after it first shocked British cinema and television audiences, The Animals Film is back

This world renowned, explosive feature-documentary will be presented for the first time uncut and digitally re-mastered by the BFI, and available to buy on DVD on 29 September. The new release offers both the original – rarely seen – 1982 version of the film, plus the director’s 2008 cut, featuring a new and energising conclusion.

Controversial, confrontational and riveting, this unique work received worldwide critical acclaim for its filmic power, questioning how and why modern societies exploit animals for food, fur, sport, entertainment and science. It showed scenes that had never been filmed before and footage uncovered through dogged research. In the UK it was broadcast on Channel 4 during its first week on air in November 1982 and caused uproar and thereafter was shown in cinemas and on TV around the world.

The film is noteworthy for its groundbreaking ironic style, integrating diverse 'found footage' including cartoons, newsreels, advertisements, and government propaganda films, mingled with vox pops and rock music. The BFI DVD includes the volatile material which was censored on Channel 4 – filmed sequences of animal liberation raids and clandestine interviews with the campaigners involved.

Narrated by Julie Christie, with music by David Byrne/Talking Heads and a compelling score composed and performed by Robert Wyatt, the film inspired a generation of vegetarians, and remains an acutely resonant work for today.

Special features
• Director’s 2008 cut of the film
• New filmed interview with Victor Schonfeld
• Audio statement by Julie Christie
• Original trailer
• Illustrated 32-page booklet with contributions from the director, essays, reviews and a biography
• Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)

Victor Schonfeld is available for press/radio interviews or to write about the film.

Release date: 29 September 2008
RRP £19.99 / cat. no. BFIVD796 / cert 15
UK / 1982 / colour / 130 mins and 120 mins / DVD-9 /original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles
BFI DVDs are available from all good DVD retailers; by mail order from the BFI Filmstore
Tel: 020 7815 1350 or online at

Press contact: Jill Reading, BFI Press Office
Tel: (020) 7957 4759 or e-mail

About co-director Victor Schonfeld

Victor Schonfeld’s career took off with the making of the pioneering feature documentary The Animals Film, distributed theatrically in North America, Europe and Australasia. He has made a diversity of controversial films which have had international acclaim and won awards, including It’s a Boy!, the first ever film about male circumcision, and the ACE Award-winning theatrical documentary Shattered Dreams; Picking up the Pieces about the dream of a peaceful, progressive Israel. Schonfeld now runs the production company Beyond the Frame, and works as a freelance writer, producer and director. His journalism and prose fiction have been published in the UK and overseas. He is currently writing a mystery novel set in America.

About the BFI

There's more to discover about film and television through the BFI. Our world-renowned archive, cinemas, festivals, films, publications and learning resources are here to inspire you. For the whole of September, the BFI will celebrate its 75th with a bumper programme of special events, screenings, film seasons and offers. For further information visit