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The two most significant periods of British documentary film to enter the world’s history of cinematography are the British Documentary Movement and the Free Cinema movement.
Financed by state institutions as well as big private corporations, the filmmakers of the British Documentary Movementconceived their work as public service. They were choosing among the wide range of themes resonating inthe British society, focusing primarily on the changes the society and its various strata were undergoing at that time. The film methods they employed varied greatly. Although their works are associated with the term of documentary film, today they would rather fit the docudrama genre (a documentary genre making use of stage-managed situations, reconstructions of real events). However, their works primarily shared the immense interest in the depicted subject accompanied by an attractive and intelligent film form. That is what secured them a constant attention of their spectatorship.
The DAFilms portal introduces the following famous films of the British documentary school: Night Mail with the score by Benjamin Britten and verses by W.H. Auden; Drifters by ideologist of the British school John Grierson; Industrial Britain by legend of the documentary genre Robert Flaherty; and Fires Were Started filmed in the heavily bombed London in the middle of the war by Humphrey Jennings.
In the Docalliance selection, the Free Cinema movement is represented by the “swinging” Mama Don’t Allow by Tony Richardson and Czech-born “Winton’s child” Karel Reisz. Richardson as well as Reisz are significant representatives of the movement who later became famous for their fiction films, some of them further developing the Free Cinema principles. From the works by Karel Reisz, we further present We Are Lambeth Boys, a portrait of everyday life of youth from London’s working class Lambeth borough situated on the Southern bank of the Thames.
Both films belong among the significant short documentaries made at the very beginning of the movement.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.