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June 06, 2008

100 British Documentaries by Patrick Russell: Review

100 British Documentaries by Patrick Russell British Film Institute 2007: Review

100 British Documentaries Cover

Cover of 100 British Documentaries. The cover image comes from Kötting's Gallivant 1996. It features his Grandmother and daughter who has Joubert syndrome. She speaks in yelps and some sign language. She isn't expected to live into adulthood. The film took 3 months to make as they travelled around the country it combines bringing out the everyday with much formal experimentation and is a film that Russell clearly thinks highly of.


Introduction

I recently purchased a nice little book from the BFI Screen Guides series called 100 British Documentaries by Patrick Russell who is Senior Curator for non-fiction film with the National Film Archive. The book doesn't set out to be about the very best of British documentaries, although very many of the ones covered are, rather it sets out to cover the scope of the documentary field since British documentaries started being made. The earliest one covered is from 1896 on the Yarmouth Fishing Fleet and covers 2 very recent documentaries Touching the Void 2003 and Supersocieties (Life in the Undergrowth) 2005. Many well known documentaries such as Night Mail (1936)are covered as well as many lesser known ones. In this sense it is a careful examination of the genre not a "Best of guide". One good thing about the book is its compact size and the way it has a range of fairly short entries which makes it an excellent book for reading in the bath or on train journeys which can easily be interrupted. One can pick out themes such as Second World War documentaries or documentaries of postwar politics: a Hugh Hudson party political documentary on Neil Kinnock (1987) is covered and a rather longer film Tracking Down Maggie (1994) on Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher is also included for example.


Russell makes it clear at the outset that he has chosen his selection: 

...because each illustrates something specific about the many forms British documentary has taken, and the numerous use to which it has been put, as it has developed historically


city ruins from Land of Promise Rotha

From Paul Rotha's Land of Promise (1946)

This seems to be an excellent academic criteria upon which to base a choice and gives the book an underlying committment to developing knowledge about the twists and turns of documentarism over the decades. Russell is clear that these films may not necessarily the best, neither are they necessarily his personal favourites. Russell makes it clear that there are many good  documentaries missing. However the tome isn't meant to be a complete history of the Britiish documentary. Hopefully this is a step towards that. However at over 270 pages there is plenty to get stuck into and in terms of signalling imprtant aspects of documentary development this is a 'must buy' book for British cinephile and film students alike. It was recently reviewed in the June issue of Sight & Sound. Mark Cooke the reviewer who also read it on a train ride suggests the book is flawed in that it doesn't represent architecture or issues about sexuality in the changing 20th century. I agree these are both important issues but in fairness the book squeezes an awful lot in and hopefully will contribute towards a greater academic interest in British documentarism, beyond the 'greats' of the 1930s.


What Counts as Documentary?

Russell spends a little time commenting on the documentary form itself at the beginning of the book. Rather than just being as truthful a representation of "actuality" which is what many consider to be the ideal documentary form there can be a considerable amount of experiment:

Hybrids are the rule not the exception (p3)

notes Russell. Many of the films discussed in the book are experimental + documentary, documentary + entertainment, documentary + politics, promotional and educational tools. Russell points out that narrative structures can be very different as well. In brief the documentary is an ever changing field of expression and this book through its use of examples elaborates upon this very effectively.

Well Known and Well Loved Documentaries

Some of the best known documentary film-makers are included such as Paul Rotha with two of his films covered: The Face of Britain (1935) and Land of Promise (1945) which is the name of an excellent multi-DVD collection of British documentaries which has been recently released by the BFI and will be covered on another occassion. The titles of these films cover a period when Britain was struggling with the aftermath of the Depression and was still a country of deference, compared with 1945 when the country had undergone something of a sea-change with the Labour Party gaining a landslide victory in the aftermath of the defeat of Hitler in Europe but before the Atomic bombs had devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki irrevocably changing the nature of the world to come. The social democratic moment and a land of social unity was in the air and the successful prosecution of the war had put the building of a welfare state and a planned economy with nationalisation of the worst run industries firmly on the agenda.

Listen to Britain 1

From Listen to Britain (1942)


Another very different stylist of the documentary Humphrey Jennings is also represented with perhaps his best and most poetic work Listen to Britain (1942) with editor Stewart MacAllister also on the credits being one of his wartime films. For my money it is is easily the most powerful propaganda film I have ever seen and knocks the infamous,lamentable and much over-rated Triumph of the Will by Riefenstahl into the proverbial cocked hat. It is a film which through its very essence could not be made by an authoritarian regime. If effective propaganda is about creating foundational national myths then this one is unlikely to be surpassed.  Also by Jennings is his well known A Diary for Timothy (1946) following the birth of a baby boy made at a time - 1944/1945- when Britain was in a war weary mode and just looking forward to getting the job done and starting to rebuild Britain as a better place for all. Timothy was to become a teacher later in life signifying the hopes for the future that are inevitably bound up with education. The film was produced by Basil Wright and had a script from E. M. Forster with a voice over by Michael Redgrave.

Drifters (1929) by John Grierson was the foundational film of what was to become the British Documentary Movement Other films from this important grouping are also represented such as: The Song of Ceylon (1934) Housing Problems (1935), Night-Mail (1936) with the famous poem by Auden driving its rhythms and Today We Live : A Film of Life in Britain (1937) by Ruby Grierson (John Grierson's sister) and Ralph Bond.


Political Themes

March to aldermarston 1

March to Aldermarston (1958)



Many important political documentaries are also covered which signify very important moments in the social history of post-war Britain upuntil the present. March to Aldermarston (1958) was given a collective credit but is widely recognised to have had the guiding hand of  Lindsay Anderson behind it.  CND and the anti-nuclear Movement was to become a powerpul political force in the UK and as such represents a deep polarisation that was to exist in the country for decades until the Cold War collapsed. Nightcleaners (1975) Berwick Street Collective represents the shifting gender balance in Britain, for it was during the 1970s that Equal Pay Legislation came in that decade. It also signifies the battle to unionise marginalised areas of the labour force and to get recognised the importance of women in doing that work.

A Conservative Party election Broadcast of 1979 from the image campaign managed by Saatchi and Saatchi is included. This powerful campaign was undoubtedly important in providing some impetus to set Britain down the political path of Neo-liberalism as the way out of the recession triggered by oil crisis but which really marked an end to the long economic boom of the West since the end of the war. In that sense this marks a turning point in British post-war politics, economics and society. 

Handsworth songs 1

From Handsworth Songs (1986)


Handsworth Songs (1986) John Akromfrah represents the changing ethnic composition of Britain which had been going on since the 1950s and unlike two other documentaries covered in the collection was made by a radicalised person from one of those communities. The film covers the Handsworth rioting of the mid 1980s and used several different formal techniques. Russell suggests that it lacks a strong enough interior logic to make it more than the sum of its parts. On this basis he considers the film as being overrated seeing a sort of 'inverse racism' at work. I didn't get to see the film at the time and I'm not certain about its current availability. I certainly remember the riots and despite Russell's criticism that the the film is hiding behind an academic "jargon" in a BFI publicity handout of representing

"... the riots as a political field coloured by the trajectories of industrial decline and structural crisis"

that is really what it was. The hand of Stuart Hall the then director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies defended the film against (predictably) Salman Rushdie who according to Russell thought it pretentious. Russell points out that the film in his mind has dated badly and that it is still praised because there is still an invidious situation of ethnic under-representation. This leaves us some food for thought.


Lockerbie a night Remembered

From Lockerbie:  A Night Remembered (1998)


Lockerbie: A Night Remembered (1998) can be read as signifying the continuous exposure to terrorist violence faced by Britian and the West in general since the 1960s whther from the Red Brigades, nationalist movements such as the IRA or religious fundamentalist inspired violence such as the London Tube bombings as as 9/11 of course. McLibel (1998/2005) signifies the growth of corporate power embodied in Macdonalds throughout the 1980s and 1990s and the fight back which individuals have made on a continuous basis.


Other Themes

Many other themes can be dug out of the book such as music documentaries from Let it Be (1970) to Johnny Cash in San Quentin (1969) -which is a British film perhaps surprisingly -. this marks the swinging sixties and the rowth of pop and rock music as an important cultural force.

Let it Be 1

Setting up the roof concert at the end of Let it Be


One obvious theme is coal mining. A Day in the Life of a Coalminer (1910)is the first of these, Cavalcanti's Coalface (1935) follows. Mining Review Fourth Year Number 12 (1951) is a report from the recently nationalised caolmining industry which under private ownership had become outrageously exploititative and also underininvested. Lastly there is The Coal Board's Butchery (1984), a Miner's Union campaigning video against the pit lcosures put into operation by the Thatcher government. As such it encompasses a key turning point in British society which has lead to the diempowering of the Trade Union movement. As was recognised by the Miner's leaders at the time it was a battle against neo-liberal politics and as such was much more than about coal miners jobs. Deindustrialised Britain has been the net outcome.


Conclusion

There are many other themes to be dug out of the book. It represents excellent value and is an enjoyable way of spending some time. It's breadth deals not just with the various forms of documentary film making themselves but provides a range of insights into British culture and society in a poignant way. One can only hope that the BFI put together a matching set of documentaries to accompany the book. That would make a truly excellent package.




May 30, 2008

Cultural Studies Degree Courses



Cultural Studies Degree Courses: How to Utilise Your Media Studies A Level

Return to What to do with your Media Studies A Level Hub

Under Development

Courses are being added over time. This is being published now to help AS student returners begin to consider possible courses as personal tutors begin to help you prepare personal statements and think about how to spend some time over the summer researching what you want to do.

Introduction


You are a student who has now returned from your AS exams as an A2 student: Suddenly the world has changed. This time next year you will be on your way to somewhere probably a higher education course. If you have studied subjects such as Media, Communications Studies, Art History, History, Geography, History, English, Film Studies or else contemporary foreign languages this could be the sort of course for you.

In principle Cultural Studies is very demanding for interdisciplinary work requires a lot of reading and a committment to working across different disciplines. But this work is truly fascinating and rewarding. It can give you real insights into the world and you will be surroundided by very enthusiastic students. If you are doing the current OCR Media Studies A2 the critical research unit is an excellent introduction to research methods for research is a practical and intellectual set of disciplines. My students do some secondary research and primary research including textual research, qualitative research and some quantitative research. This means that you will not only have found out something interesting about the chosen subject area but you will learned about the basics of research design. This is a enormously important skill which has many applications in contemporary society and can be used in a wide range of jobs and careers.


Below I have listed a range of some of the University Degree Courses in Cultural Studies. Often Cultural Studies can be combined with a modern language which is a very nice combination. There is no judgement being passed here on the courses, you must research them for yourself as all of them have different flavours and priorities. There may be sociological tendencies, textual tendencies, or other country tendencies depending on the range of expert knowledge available. The nice thing about cultural studies is that it is incredibly diverse and it can go into areas where other subjects dare not.

You will find that the useful online guide to university courses doesn't have an entry under Cultural Studies. This is precisely because of its interdisciplinary nature which means that it cuts across categories. It is suggested that you check out the results for the different departments that you are interested in which may contribute to Cultural Studies. The link here is to Media Studies and Communication however you may wish to look under sociology or the foreign language sector to get a better idea.


Where did Cultural Studies Come From?


The origins of cultural studies come from the educational corps that was established during World War 2. Several people who served in this were very keen on ensuring that the worling classes received high quality education and as a result they joined the WEA (Workers Education Association) which often provided Trade Unionists with the knowledge and skills to carry out their work more effectively.

Some of those who had been in the Army during the war were to become celebrated academics strongly associated with what was to become cultural studies. These include:

Richard Hoggart. Hoggart wrote aong other things the very influential The Uses of Literacy and established the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham.

Raymond Williams. Williams had a genuinely working class background from a railway signalman's family in Wales. He rose to be a literature professor at Cambridge.

E.P Thompson. thompson became a history professor at the University of Warwick writin many influential social history books such as The Making of the Working Class in Britain as well as become a leading anti-nuclear campaigner.

Stuart Hall

Professor Stuart Hall. A Director of The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham and then Professor of Sociology at the Open University


These people were later joined by Stuart Hall who was a Rhodes Scholar. After running the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies based at the University of Birmingham he became professor of sociology at the Open University.

These scholars and activists between them made a hugely important contribution to British post-war thought and society and have spawned many more important thinkers, scholars and teachers who are now themselves professors of Cultural Studies or media related  subjects.



Cultural Studies Courses in the UK 2009


Centre for Lifelong Leanng  Image


University of Warwick Centre for Lifelong Learning

Warwick University Centre for Lifelong Learning is offering either part-time day / evening routes for a BA in English and Cultural Studies or else full time course can be undertaken. Introductory modules in English and Cultural Studies are offered by the Departments of Film and TV Studies, History, Classics, Italian, History of Art and the Language Centre.

Day and Evening Study
It is possible to take the English and Cultural Studies degree on the basis of either day or evening study, or as a mixture of the two.  Each year the English department offers a full range of modules in the day and a selection on rotation in the evening so students may choose when to study.  The Language Centre offers modules for part-time degree students in the day and in the evening.  Film and TV Studies, and Classics offer a small number of modules in the evening and History has a good range of evening modules.  History of Art, German French and Italian offer modules only in the day-time.

Entry Requirements
There are no prescribed entry qualifications for the degree;  all applicants are normally interviewed by the academic co-ordinator in the Department of English.  The academic co-ordinator will look for evidence of academic ability and commitment and, in addition, for evidence of serious interest in the study of literature.  This evidence might be obtained from study of literature in an Access course, 'A' Level course, Warwick University Open Studies course or a less formal engagement with literature.

Please Note: The Kinoeye blog is in existence because of the author's connection to the Centre for Lifelong Learning. There is not going to be a pretense at impartiality for an institution which I think offers an excellent service to students and is making high quality education available to all who live within reasonable travelling distance. For those people who don't feel that they can afford to take a degree after leaving college with A levels this is an excellent way of continuing your education in a way which is financially manageable.

For those interested click on the image for the official page or contact: Flexible Courses Manager  -  024 7652 8100


University of Warwick History & Culture

All too often Media Studies can be dehistoricised yet a perception of the history and development of cultural studies including media cultures is very important. This degree provides an opportunity to develop historical knowledge and skills alongside the important skills of textual analysis which can be provided within the Department of Film & TV Studies. A wide range of departments contribute to this course and again broad-based thinking and mental flexibility are advantageous.


University of Warwick BA Sociology with Cultural Studies Specialism

For those A level students who enjoy aspects of social and critical research offered on a level media studies there are several areas here with which you might have started to become familiar. I have highlighted these.

This elective Specialism offers you the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of cultural practices and identities in everyday life, including how they are shaped by, and shape the social world. Particular aspects of culture are examined, auch as news media, photography, fiction, aesthetics of the body, and particular methods are taught, including the production and interpretation of visual imagery, memoi and fiction, and media reportage. This combination of understanding and skills acquisition is further pursued through a dissertation in cultural studies.

In Year One, you must take Sociological Imagination and Investigation and Media Sociology.

In Year Two, you must choose one of the following: Gender, Culture and Popular Media; Narratives of Disease, Death and Difference: The Sociology of Story; Visual Sociology; The Social Construction of Masculinities.

In Year Three, you must choose from one of the following, providing that the module has not already been taken: Narratives of Disease, Death and Difference: The Sociology of Story; Technologies of the Gendered Body; The Social Construction of Maculinities; Visual Sociology. In Year Three, you will undertake a dissertation in this area.




University of Lincoln BA Culture Media and Communications

Although a very new university there has been an impressive investment in getting well established staff and good resources. This type of degree provides an excellent range of opportunities to flexibly minded students who have A level media amongst thier qualifications.


University of Sunderland Film Media & Cultural Studies

In recent years Sunderland University has been gathering momentum and offers an excellent range of courses  within its  school of Art , Design, Media and Culture. This is how it describes what is on offer:

It is an exciting and important area with a very broad range of approaches. You will be able to select from a wide range of texts and practices including popular music, reality TV, cyberculture, and black popular culture, as well as Hollywood cinema. It also offers an exploration into institutions, sexual cultures, star systems, and celebrity culture, as well as audiences and sub-cultures.

University of East London Media and Cultural Studies Degrees


Webliography

QAA 2002 Report on Communication, Media, Film, Cultural Studies


Return to What to do with your Media Studies A Level Hub


April 10, 2008

Listen to Britain (1942): Dir Humphrey Jennings

Listen to Britain (1942): Dir. Humphrey Jennings



Home on the Range Listen to Britain


A Scots regiment singing 'Home on the Range'  in Listen to Britain


Return to Humphrey Jennings main page

Introduction


For formal perfection, for essence of Jennings - albeit extracted by McAllister - probably 'Listen to Britain' would be the one to put in the time capsule. It never palls I must have seen it hundreds of times, but still every time I notice something I hadn't seen before. Somehow it has captured life's rhythm and texture. To watch it is to experience life afresh with an awareness that usually eludes us. The tiniest things...There's the pleasure of recognition, but also I think a revelation of the poetry in the everyday. (Drazin, 2007 pp 155-156)


The Importance of Naturalness

Jennings seemed to be better than most at capturing people being very natural 'capturing it how it was'. Jennings didn't work to much of a preconceived script which was to be disadvantageous when it came to trying to raise money for a feature film, but it worked brilliantly in documentary. Listen to Britain has certainly proved to be a very influential film for Britian's documentary and realist film makers as Mike Leigh notes:

I also admire Jennings's Listen to Britain. It is a fantastic piece of film-making for all of us (and this includes me) who in our films have tried to build film stories in an atmospheric way, using all kinds of elements, including sound and music. Listen to Britain does this extraordinarily well, and with an incredible ease of editing. Although it is not a narrative film, it is an exemplary piece of film storytelling and it raises the hairs on the back of your neck every time. (Mike Leigh Channel Four Website)


Probably to be great at documentary you have to be opportunistic and take advantage of moments of serendipity. Drazin discusses how in the shooting of Listen to Britain at a primary school it was impossible to shoot inside because of the lighting conditions so the children were asked to do a dance in the playground. One of the girls had made a mistake and the cameraman wanted to do a re-shoot Jennings wanted the naturalness of a child making a slip:'... the child's half-stumble, with its quality of truth made the scene.' (Drazin, 2007 p 157).  However the Film Maker Mike Leigh makes an interesting point about the way many people are scratching on Jennings films:

If you look very closely at Jennings's work, you start to see some very interesting behavioural detail. For example, he often gets people to scratch - all over the place, across all of his films. You can see that he told them to do it when the camera gets to a certain moment. On your first viewing, you just accept it as part of the texture but it actually does look very self-conscious. The reason he's doing it is to introduce some kind of realistic movement into the very static style of documentary at that time. Don't forget that it wasn't until after the war that BBC radio realised that you could interview a working-class person spontaneously. Before that, they used to go out and talk to ordinary people, then write a script, and then get them to read the script. (Leigh ibid)


Despite his powerful intellectual capacity Jennings and his own taste for so-called 'high culture' he was concerned to capture tastes and cultural practices across the board. The filming of Flanagan & Alan doing a show in a factory canteen has a well timed cut to Dame Myra Hess playing Mozart in the National Gallery to the Queen amongst others. There was nothing judgemental there, all were enjoying themselves and the music they loved providing a unity in difference. Jackson points out in his introduction to the Humphrey Jennings Reader that Jennings:

...would not turn people into allegories or types, no matter how benign the typing might be, and the outcome was that he was able to show the British at war as nobody else could. Those singing factory girls are neither dupes of capitalism nor Stakhanovite heroines: they are the women Jennings chanced to meet when he took his cameras down to the shop floor, and thier faces are vivid and unforgettable after half a century. (Jackson, 1993 p XV).

In the Editing Room

Jointly on the credits with Humphrey Jennings is Stewart McAllister an editor with whom Jennigs worked a lot. Joe Mendoza who was a young assisstant in the GPO film Unit at the time was asked to work with Jennings because he was the only person who could read a musical score in the unit. This was a prospect he found intimidating as Jennings had a reputation for shouting at people according to Drazin. Mendoza thought that Jennings had the visual brilliance whilst McAllister worked more on the issue of the music and creating a progression thorugh the film giving it some structure even though it isn't a narrative documentary.

In Listen to Britain McAllister has been credited with several important sections such as the build up of aircraft sound over the cornfield and the crucial cut from the Flanagan and Allen factory floor show to Myra Hess  in the National Portrait gallery.  Creative editing was especially important in teis film as around 25% was taken from existing sources note Aldrich and Richards.

Despite the importance of McAllister's contributions and his ability to work well with Jennings Aldrich and Richards comment:

Nevetheless it is hard to to accept that the overall conception, the continuing preoccupations, the structure even of the films are not ultimately those of Jennings. (Aldrich and Richards p 224)


They point out that Jennings always did the scripting and of course all the shooting of the footage and even where some of this was spontaneous it was also done in the framework of the masterplan in Jennings' mind. It is they note Jennings belief in a pattern but one in which:

...artistic form was a wider reflection of British history and of English life and culture. It is this consistent and coherent world view which ultimately marks Jennings out as the directing intelligence of the films... (Aldrich and Richards 2007 p 225)


Critical Reception of Listen to Britain


In many quarters a jingoistic 'up and at them' form of propaganda was the only thing worth having, Aldgate and Richards cite Edward Anstey of the Spectator who was a s scornful of the film as were the documentary purists writing in Documentary News Letter who were scathing about Words for Battle:

By the time Humphrey Jenings has done with it, it has become the rarest bit of fiddling since the days of Nero. It will be a disaster if this film is sent overseas. One shudders to imagine the effect upon our allies should they learn that an official British film-making unit can find the time these days to contemplate the current sights and sounds of Britain... (Cited Aldgate and Richards 2007, pp 222-223)


However, in reality it went down well with audiences in fact the description below sounds closer to a rock group reception than a 'documentary' screening. The deputy head of non-theatrical distribution for the Ministry of Information (MoI) reported that:

All sorts of audiences felt it to be a distillation and also a magnification of their own experiences on the home front. This was especially true of factory audiences. I remember one show in a factory in the Midlands where about 800 workers clapped and stamped approval. (Aldgate and Richards 2007 p223)

Roger Manvell then working as the Films Officer in the South West and later North-West of the country reported that he always showed a Jennings film because of the :

...poetic and emotional life they gave the programmes as a whole. I do not exaggerate when I say that members of audiences under the emotional strains of war ... frequently wept as a result of Jennings' direct appeal to the rich cultural heritage of Britain.... (Manvell cited Aldgate & Richards 2007, 223 )


Overall Listen to Britain is a powerful film which through a very creative notion of documentarism manages to not only capture fragments of everyday life but unify them in a way which is at the highest level of myth-making thus comfortably achieving the aims of the MoI. The Spectator commentator was proved spectacularly wrong. This geninely was propaganda as art an extraordianry feat and one which Triumph of the Will doesn't come near thankfully.

Listen to Britain Women in fields




Webliography

Screenonline: Listen to Britain

Screenonline: John Krish. Editing asisstant on Listen to Britain

Pembroke College International Programme: Theory and Practice of Documentary Film

Victor Burgin Exhibition inspired by Listen to Britain

Corner, John. Sounds Real. Cambridge Journal of Popular Music. (Reality Check: You'll Need to Pay for this one)

Guardian on a documenting Britain exhibition in Liverpool 2006

DUFAYCOLOR - THE SPECTACLE OF REALITY AND BRITISH NATIONAL CINEMA

British Cinema and The Ideology of Realism Chapter 1. (Somebody's interesting looking thesis)

Bibliography

Please follow link to the British Cinema Bibliography


April 06, 2008

Jill Craigie (1911–1999)

Jill Craigie (1911-1999)

Return to British Women Directors page

Introduction

Jill Craigie seems to have been Britain's second woman film maker after Kay Mander and has a cinema named after her at Plymouth University. This is the city where she made her post-war planning film The Way We live (1946). As well as being a film maker and screenwriter she was also a researcher into the Suffragettes and wrote an introduction to Emeline Pankhurst's autobiography My Own Story published by Virago in  1979. Jill Craigie was also an alumni at Indiana University although they forgot to put in the fact that she was a documentary filmmaker(!): "Alumni of the Institute of Advanced Study (Academic Fellows, Distinguished Citizen Fellows and Visiting Scholars) - 1982-2007":

Jill Craigie, Historian of women's movement, journalist, screenwriter. (Distinguished Citizen Fellow in September of 1991)


The Way We Live was backed by Fillipo del Guidice of Two Cities films which was a brave decision backing a young woman with little experience as a filmmaker. Craigie made another film concerned with planning and post-war redevelopment in Middlesborough called Picture Paper. The only evidence I can find about this is present on the website below:  

Over 10,000 people saw the exhibition in one week. The Picture Post articles stimulated a documentary film made by Jill Craigie - Picture Paper - a story of the photographer / reporter who come to Middlesbrough to see and interview the Group at work and was shown in cinemas all over the country. (History of Max Lock Group)


A biopic of Emmeline Pankhurst an uncompleted film project 

Carl Rollyson author of the 2005 biography of Craigie To Be A Woman has commented upon this in the Virginia Quarterly Review of Spring 2003 which I have cited at length as it is a good example of what a film maker must overcome when trying to make documentaries about controversial figures:

So influential has Sylvia's narrative become that when former Labor Party cabinet minister Barbara Castle published a short study of the Pankhursts she blithely relied on Sylvia's The Suffragette Movement without noting any of its numerous inconsistencies and biases, flaws that June Purvis identifies. Jill Craigie (1911—1999), a lifelong student of the suffragettes, and wife of former Labor Party leader Michael Foot, was so outraged at Castle's ignorance that she called her up and threatened to "flatten her." Craigie, a staunch Socialist and Labor Party loyalist, nevertheless knew from firsthand experience how brutal Sylvia had been in her quest to superimpose her narrative of Votes for Women on the memory of her mother. In 1940, Craigie had read Sylvia's The Suffragette Movement and had been captivated by its "rich" writing. Sylvia saw history, Craigie commented, with the "eyes of an artist." But in 1943, when Craigie decided to write and direct a documentary on the suffragettes, she found herself pitted against Sylvia and other suffragettes who fought over who would act as advisor to the film and thus control the master narrative of their story. The film never got made because of this internecine warfare, and Craigie spent the next several decades of her life assembling a massive collection of material and writing a book (left incomplete at her death) that exposes how Sylvia distorted her mother's legacy. As I will show in a forthcoming biography of Craigie, she is the missing link between West and Purvis. Craigie is partly responsible for the rediscovery and reprinting of West's work in the 1970's and is the key transitional figure who leads to Purvis' brilliant demonstration that during and after the war Emmeline Pankhurst not only did not abandon her principles, but saw the war and its aftermath as a way to implement them. Although there are many reasons why Craigie did not complete her epic work (a substantial manuscript of over 200,000 well-polished words), one consideration surely is the massive criticism she would have endured in her own party for putting one of Britain's Socialist icons on the rack.


Sadly this kind of wrangling led to the film about Emmeline Pankhurst never being made.  Below are a list of relevant links following a Google search down to page 20. I have now ordered the biography of her by Rollyson which should enable a deeper introduction to her role in the film world to be written. In the meantime there are a range of useful links provided below. 

Filmography

A full list of credits for Jill Craigie is available at the Screenonline database. (It does miss out Paper Picture)

Two Hours from London (1995) [Self funded Documentary screened on BBC2]

To Be a Woman (1951) Jill Craigie

Blue Scar (1949)  Jill Craigie [Blue Scar, a film exploring the implications of coal industry nationalisation in 1947, is a considerable achievement.]

Children of the Ruins (1948) Jill Craigie [Documentary]

The Way We Live (1946) Jill Craigie [Postwar Planning] YouTube extract can be viewed here sorry not embeddable):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-8XfenIeWE


Picture Paper (1946) Jill Craigie [The evidence for the existence of this film is History of Max Lock Group]

Out of Chaos (1944) Jill Craigie


As Screenwriter 

Windom's Way (1957), screenwriter

Trouble in Store (1953), uncredited screenwriter

The Million Pound Note (1953), screenwriter

The Flemish Farm (1943), screenwriter (credited as "Jill Dell")



Webliography 

Screenonline Biography of Jill Craigie

Blair joins tributes to Jill Craigie BBC 1999

UK Women force removal of Koestler bust. BBC story on Koestler'ws sexual violence

Camden New Journal (March 2003) report on biography of Jill Craigie

The British Documentary Website Jill Craigie  

Wikipedia Entry on Jill Craigie

Synopsis of To Be a Woman @ Politicos Bookshop

The tracking down of Craigie's Middlesborough documentary

There is an interview of Jill Craigie avaible from the UEA BECTU website but you will need to have formal access 




Bibliography

  • Macnab, Geoffrey (1993). J. Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-07272-7.
  • Rollyson, Carl (2005). To Be A Woman: The Life Of Jill Craigie. Aurum Press. ISBN 1-85410-935-9.
  • Dr Gwenno Ffrancon published ‘The same old firm dressed up in a new suit’: Blue Scar (Craigie, 1949) and the portrayal of the nationalisation of the coal industry in Media History. This article examines how a film, Blue Scar, made in 1949 by Jill Craigie, the filmmaker, feminist and wife of Michael Foot, portrays the changes brought about by nationalisation in the South Wales coalfield in the late 1940s.
  • Entiknap, Leo. 2001. Postwar Urban Redevelopment, the British Film industry and The Way We Live. In Shiel, Mark and Fitzmaurice Tony eds. Cinema and The City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Leo Entiknap's PhD thesis is available including work on Cragie's film The Way We Live can be downloaded here.
  • Two articles may be downloaded without cost from Women's History Review, Volume 9 Issue 1 2000 on Jill Craigie. One by June Purvis and the other by Ursual Owen.



March 30, 2008

British Directors (Non–Contemporary) Hub Page

British Directors (Non-Contemporary) Hub Page


For current or recently passed away British Film Directors please go to the Contemporary British Directors Hub Page.


Introduction


This page is designed to allow visitors to access information on a range of past British diectors and where appropriate informational hubs and critiques of specific films as these are developed.  The links are both internal and external ones


Non-Contemporary British Film Directors






Anderson, Lindsay (1923-1994)

Lindsay Anderson

Lindsay Anderson (Above)


Asquith, Anthony (1902-1968)

Anthony Asquith

Anthony Asquith  (Above)

Boulting, John (1913-1985)

John Boulting

John Boulting


Boulting, Roy (1913-2001)

Roy and John Boulting 2

Roy and John Boulting (Above)


Box Muriel (1905 - 1991)

Muriel Box

Muriel Box (Above)

Cavalcanti, Alberto (Brazilian born cosmopolitan 1897-1982)

Alberto Cavalcanti

Alberto Cavalcanti (Above)

Clayton, Jack (1921-1995)



Craigie, Jill (1911-1999) 


Jill Craigie with Husband Michael Foot

Jill Craigie with Husband Michael Foot (Above)


Crighton, Charles (1910-1999)



Deardon, Basil (1911-1971)

Douglas, Bill (1937-1991)

Dupont, E.A. (1891-1956)

Forbes, Bryan (1926-)

Frend, Charles (1909-1977)

Gilliat, Sidney (1908-1994)

John Grierson (1898-1972) 

Grierson, Ruby (1904-1940)

Hamer, Robert (1911-1963)

Hamilton, Guy (1922-)

Jennings, Humphrey (1907-1950)

Korda, Alexander (1893-1956)

Lean, David  (1908 - 1991)

David Lean on Great Expectations

David Lean on set

Lee, Jack (1913-2002)

Lee Thompson, J. (1914-2002)

Lester, Richard (US 1932-)

Losey, Joe (US but made many important films in Britain 1909 - 1984) 

Mackendrick, Alexander (1912-1993)

Mander, Kay (1915-)  

Montagu, Ivor (1904-1984)

Powell, Michael (1905-1990)

Pressburger, Emeric (1902-1988)

Reed, Carol (1906-1976)

Reisz, Karel (1926-2002)

Richardson, Tony

Tony Richardson

Tony Richardson (Above)

Roeg, Nicolas (1928-)

Rotha, Paul (1907-1984)

Russell, Ken (1927-)

Schlesinger, John (1926-2003)

Toye, Wendy (1917 - )

Watkins, Peter (1935-)

Young, Terence (1915-1994)


Webliography

For a useful range of biographical information also see the Screenonline Directors in British and Irish Cinema  


March 24, 2008

Lifestyle Magazines Hub Page

Lifestyle Magazines Hub Page


Introduction  


This page is a hub page for your Lifestyle magazines unit component of textual analysis. As new pages are developed links will be placed here in order to help you navigate to relevant pages on this blog.


What is a Lifestyle Magazine?

The Secrets of Magazine Cover Design  

Lifestyel Magazines and Branding

Grazia Magazine

Advertising and Magazines 

Lifestyle, Celebrity and Advertising

Magazines and Print Publishing  

Glossary of Magazine Terms  

The Magazine Industry  

Magazine Ownership and Control in the UK

ACORN Marketing classification for targeting advertising



March 23, 2008

G.W. Pabst (1885–1967)

G.W. Pabst (1885-1967)

Return to Weimar Directors Hub Page

Filmography  (Weimar period)

This listing is taken from the Deutsche Film Portal. Not all links are theirs.

. 1932
.
. Die Herrin von Atlantis
Regie
.
. 1932/1933
.
. Don Quichotte
Regie
.
. 1932/1933
.
. Don Quixote
Regie
.
. 1932
.
. L'Atlantide
Regie
.
. 1932
.
. The Mistress of Atlantis
Regie
.
.

.
. 1931
.
. La tragédie de la mine
Regie
.
. 1930/1931
.
. Die 3-Groschen-Oper
Regie
.
. 1930/1931
.
. L'opera de quat'sous
Regie
.
. 1930
.
. Moral um Mitternacht
Künstlerische Oberleitung
.
. 1930
.
. Skandal um Eva
Regie
.
. 1930
.
. Westfront 1918
Regie
.
. 1929
.
. Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü
Regie
.
. 1929
.
. Tagebuch einer Verlorenen
Produzent, Regie
.
. 1928
.
. Abwege
Regie, Schnitt
.
. 1928/1929
.
. Die Büchse der Pandora
Regie
.
. 1927
.
. Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney
Regie, Schnitt
.
. 1926
.
. Man spielt nicht mit der Liebe
Regie, Schnitt
.
. 1925
.
. Die freudlose Gasse
Regie, Schnitt
.
. 1925/1926
.
. Geheimnisse einer Seele
Regie
.
. 1924
.
. Gräfin Donelli
Regie
.
.

.
. 1922/1923
.
. Der Schatz
Regie
.
. 1922
.
. Luise Millerin
Drehbuch, Regie-Assistenz
.
. 1921/1922
.
. Der Taugenichts
Drehbuch, Regie-Assistenz
.
. 1921
.
. Im Banne der Kralle
Darsteller, Produzent

Webliography


Scholarly work on Pabst

Senses of Cinema site on The Threepenny Opera


Fritz Lang (1890–1976)


Fritz Lang (1890-1976)

Return to Weimar Directors Hub Page  

Filmography for the Weimar Period

(Listing taken from the Deutsche Film Portal the links are different)

1932/1933
.
. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse
Director
.
.
. 1932/1933
.
. Le testament du docteur Mabuse
Director
.
.
. 1932/1933
.
. Siegfrieds Tod
Director
.
.
. 1931
.
. 'M'
Director,Screenplay
.
.
. 1928/1929
.
. Frau im Mond
Producer,Director
.
.
. 1927/1928
.
. Spione
Director,Producer,Screenplay
.
.
. 1925/1926
.
.

Metropolis

Metropolis the different versions
Editing,Director,Screenplay

.
.
. 1923/1924
.
. Der Film im Film
Participation
.
.
. 1922-1924
.
. Die Nibelungen (2 Teile)
Director
.
.
. 1922-1924
.
. Die Nibelungen. 1. Teil: Siegfried
Director
.
.
. 1922-1924
.
. Die Nibelungen. 2. Teil: Kriemhilds Rache
Director
.
.
. 1921
.
. Das indische Grabmal (2 Teile)
Screenplay
.
.
. 1921
.
. Der Tiger von Eschnapur
Screenplay
.
.
. 1921
.
. Der müde Tod
Editing,Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1921
.
. Die Sendung des Yoghi
Screenplay
.
.
. 1921/1922
.
. Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1920
.
. Das wandernde Bild
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1920/1921
.
. Kämpfende Herzen
Director,Screenplay
.
.
. 1919
.
. Der Herr der Liebe
Director,Cast
.
.
. 1919
.
. Die Frau mit den Orchideen
Screenplay
.
.
. 1919/1920
.
. Die Herrin der Welt. 8. Teil: Die Rache der Maud Fergusson
Screenplay
.
.
. 1919/1920
.
. Die Spinnen (2 Teile)
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1919
.
. Die Spinnen. 1. Teil: Der goldene See
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1919/1920
.
. Die Spinnen. 2. Teil: Das Brillantenschiff
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1919
.
. Halbblut
Screenplay,Director
.
.
. 1919
.
. Harakiri
Director
.
.
. 1919
.
. Lilith und Ly
Screenplay
.
.
. 1919
.
. Pest in Florenz
Screenplay
.
.
. 1919
.
. Totentanz
Screenplay
.
.
. 1919
.
. Wolkenbau und Flimmerstern
Screenplay
.
.
. 1918/1919
.
. Bettler-G.m.b.H.
Screenplay
.
.
. 1918
.
. Die Frauen des Josias Grafenreuth
Screenplay
.
.
. 1918/1919
.
. Die Rache ist mein
Screenplay
.
.
. 1917
.
. Die Hochzeit im Excentric-Club
Screenplay
.
.
. 1917
.
. Hilde Warren und der Tod
Screenplay,Cast
.
.
. 1916
.
. Die Peitsche
Screenplay

Webliography

A useful link to review of Gunning’s biography of Lang. Review by Anton Kaes

Senses of Cinema site Daniel Shaw on Fritz Lang

A useful Select Bibliography on Fritz Lang from the BFI.


March 21, 2008

Mobile Cinema in the UK

Mobile Cinema in the UK

Return to Contemporary British Cinema Hub Page

In these days of hyperspace and broadband internet mobile cinema still has an important place in Britain's rural communities. The concept of mobile cinema is an old one. It was used during the Soviet Revolution to help give the illiterate peasants speaking many different languages a sense of what was happening. Importantly funding is available to help out for cinema is best experienced on a big screen which it was designed for and of course an appreciative audience helps. 

In 2004 the National Lottery recognised the importance of cinema as a powerful medium and decided to stimulate cinema in rural areas through the use of mobile cinema: 

The Lottery fund has given £500,000 to the initiative. Successful applicants will receive up to £5,000 to spend on portable digital film equipment. (BBC Film Report)

A mobile film initiative was carried out in Wales  in 2002. The project, called Wyred, was held in five venues in Monmouthshire and Powys, including village halls, pubs and cafes:

A series of short films are being shown by a mobile touring cinema at venues along the Wye Valley.

The programme of 11 films includes a number of Oscar-nominated and Bafta award-winning movies made by Welsh-based directors. (BBC Wales)

Flicks in the Sticks 

Villagers and Mobile Cienma

Flicks in the Sticks is a mobile cinema which provides films to people in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

The company has a choice of hundreds of films which are shown in village halls in 70 areas across the two counties. (BBC 2003)

Flicks in the Sticks gained support from Screen West Midlands in 2007:

Flicks in the Sticks 2007

£18,500
2007

Flicks in the Sticks tours Big Screen cinema to rural venues.  Flicks works with local people, setting them up as promoters who choose what film to show, when to show it, and undertake all venue preparation and publicity.   Flicks in the Sticks was one of the first projects in the country to deliver cinema in this way.

In 2007, Flicks worked with 59 venues in rural Shropshire and Herefordshire, delivering over 545 films to an annual audience in excess of 25,000 people.

Moviola

Moviola  is a small charitable organisation which provides screenings in villages across several South Western Counties.   It is providing alternatives and developing film culture.

This Moviola What's On provides you with current and past screenings to show the range of films screened.

Webliography

Mad Cornish Projectionist who seems to be well linked.



Guerilla Cinema: The 'Other' of Contemporary British Cinema

Cannes in a Van 2

This was an entirely refreshing find for a Good Friday Morning when I didn't have to get up early. Check this site out and send them some sponsorship money this is such a great idea!!!! Architecturally ands in terms of urbanism this has to be a good 'parafunctional space'.


Guerilla Cinema: The 'Other' of Contemporary British Cinema

Cannes in Van Van




Introduction


I have entitled this posting 'guerilla' cinema because it is there to signify that ongoing tension or little war between mainstream cinema which is primarily about creating an ongoing business which feeds the creation of a cycle of stars, festival goings, critics and articles and slots in TV wotz'on this weekend on Friday nights. The more "artsy" it is the later it is broadcast. Film festivals by themselves or as a part of larger festivals are increasingly a part of the shift towards a "cultural industries" agenda which seeks to 'colonise the lifeworld' as the social theorist Habermas might describe it. For those of us who attend these things you are doubtless overburdened with evaluation  forms given out to gain audience feedback on the event space etc. Of course these are done as much as anything to cover the bums of the events organisers as anything else. They can be used to justify the event and to argue for "quality improvements" next time around. Of course this kind of surveillance of culture can kill any poetry in an event stone dead. 

The idea for the posting came from reading an article in the latest Sight and Sound about the difficulties of distribution and exhibition for British independent filmmakers when even the "Arthouse" cinemas are increasingly showing the same fare, in a sort of mainstream for the middle-classes. Some of these issues of control are already covered elswhere in the blog. combining this perception with flicking through an issue of Architectural Design entitled Poetics in Architecture reminded me of how staid, sterile and boring everything which smacks of the 'New Labour' is or has become. This whole blog started out as an aid to Open Studies Learning which has emerged as "Lifelong Learning" in the New Labour lexicon of control terms. Whilst under the aegis of extra-mural studies this form of learning wasn't controlled in terms of having to make the students perform some work. The space of learning was poetic in as much as an enthusiast delivered a course and a group of people interested came and interacted with the content and in that specific learning space in a dynamic and performative way which wasn't subject to measurement and control. If people were disatisfied then they would move on. Many of the attendees had good qualifications in other areas but simply wanted to extend their ideas and knowledge base into different areas at a more informal level without writing essay etc. Now this form of education has become instrumentalised. Humans on the whole are inquisitive if they are not browbeaten into accepting false limitations. 

The increasing commercialistion of spaces of alternative cinema at the same time create a residue 'a surplus' in which expressive and creative acts and desires find no menas of expression. The exponential explosion onto the web of YouTube and similar sites bears witness to this surplus of creativity which is largely outside of the commercial. Yet this is still unsatisfactory for cinema in its origins was a social space of F2F interactions amongst the audience. Here cinema intersects with architecture. This posting is the beginnings of an investigation into the possibilities of creating spaces of exhibition for an ever expanding multi-media consciousness which like many popular music forms seeks recognition but is also part of an unfolding cultural dynamic in which a search for 'poetry' which is defined here as a resistance to the rationalisation and control of all aspects of social life. It is a search for performative cinematic space which is 'parafunctional' in the words of Nikos Papastergiadis


Parafunctional Spaces

The term parafunctional space: 

Refers to zones in which creative, informal and unintended uses overtake the oficially designated functions. In parafunctional spaces social life is not simply abandoned or wasted; rather it continues in ambiguous and unconventional ways. 


Now Papastergiadis was thinking of older industrial cities where areas are becoming rundown or corners where people resist the instrumentalism of everyday life under New Labour by glue sniffing -See This is England. But as he points out this fits in with Bachelardian notions of poetics of space because it is dreaming and an attempt to break free of colonisation. 

Everythihng 4 Everyone

The Campaign over the Dalston Cinema is a good example of a parafunctional space.  


7 Inch Cinema as Parafunctional Space

What they say about themselves:

Two things helped give birth to 7 Inch Cinema: masses of good films out there, particularly shorts, that never get near our cinemas or TV screens; and more and more people choosing to watch film online or on beefy home entertainment systems. We are firm believers in the old-fashioned communal film experience. Our job is to sift through festivals, archives, DVD submissions and the web for interesting work and then to screen it in a relaxed setting for people to enjoy, perhaps alongside a discussion, a bit of music or a quiz. The setting could be a pub, an art gallery, a church, a warehouse, a military decontamination tent. It could even be a cinema. The main thing is to create a sense of occasion, and to show people something they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.


Flatpack Festival Birmingham

Good news for Flatpack
Monday 16th Jun 08
The UK Film Council have selected Flatpack Festival as one of the seven recipients of their national Festival Fund. Whoop! If you don't believe us you can get it straight from the horse's mouth, and there's also some info on the 7inch blog.

Flatpack Film Festival




Webliography 

Here are some interesting links when I used the search term "Guerilla Cinema".

Camcorder Guerillas


Chorlton Film Institute: guerilla cinema

Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow 


Cannes in a Van (Seems togive a nice sense of the general ethos)


BBC Film Network John Wojowski


Document 2: Documentary Film Festival  


Machinima 1

Guardian on the rise of Machinima


It's not British Cinema but its a great Idea. Check out this Parasite site for a metro projection system in Berlin


Well my search turned up Moviola which is a small charitable organisation which provides screenings in villages across several South Western Counties.  OK it's not exactly the normal concept of Guerrilla but it is provinging alternatives and developing film culture.

Well I found the above link on Mad Cornish Projectionist who seems to be well linked.


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