Docs & Film Festivals

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Golden Oldies

Doc Alliance is now offering free streaming of British doc classics on their website. These films include films by famous John Grierson and Robert Joseph Flaherty. The saying goes that Grierson was the first one to use the term ‘documentary’ to describe a non-fiction film and Flaherty is best known for his documentary Nanook of the North, a silent documentary from 1922 about Inuit family in Arctic Canada.

Flaherty and Grierson are by many considered to be the fathers of the documentary genre and they were two of the pioneers of the British Documentary Movement. BDM was financed by state institutions, many of the Movement´s films focus on changes in the British society and on the working class.

Some of the BDM´s films can be watched on Doc Alliance website for free. These include; Industrial Britain directed by Flaherty, Night Mail (1936) directed by Harry Watt and Basil Wright, Drifters (1929) by Grierson, and Fires were Started (1943) directed by Humphrey Jennings. By Free Cinema Movement are two docs available for free streaming; Momma Don´t Allow (1956) by Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, We are the Lambeth Boys (1959) directed by Karel Reisz. Momma Don´t Allow was shot over nine Saturdays in jazz clubs. With no dialogue, this doc is all about dancing and entertainment of the young people. We are the Lambeth Boys is a portrait of  working class teenagers in London during work hours and leisure time.

The British doc classics are worth recommending. Editing, narration and cinematography of the first documentaries are different from what we are seeing in the documentaries of the 20th century. But it´s also interesting to how documentary still is somewhat true to it´s orginal form.

The photo with this post is a still frame from Momma Don´t Allow.

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