A highly influential but critically neglected movement in British cinema history, Free Cinema not only re-invented British documentary in the 1950s but also served as a precursor for the better known British New Wave of social-realist feature films in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Born in February 1956, when a group, led by critic and filmmaker Lindsay Anderson, screened their short films at the National Film Theatre, Free Cinema proved so popular that five more programmes followed until 1959, featuring films by young British and foreign filmmakers.
The BFI brought together, for the first time, the eleven films of the three British programmes in this 3-disc boxset. This definitive collection includes a number of fascinating shorts made on a shoestring budget and a 16mm Bolex camera by first-time directors such as Karen Reisz and Tony Richardson (Momma Don't Allow), Claude Goretta and Alain Tanner (Nice Time), Michael Grisgby (Enginemen) and Robert Vas (Refuge England) as well as the more ambitious, 35mm featurettes Together (dir.Lorenza Mazzetti), Every Day Except Christmas (dir. Lindsay Anderson) and We Are the Lambeth Boys (dir. Karel Reisz).
The third disc features an exclusive 43-minute documentary with interviews, film extracts and previously unseen stills, as well as a specially curated collection of rarely seen films made in the spirit of the Free Cinema movement.
Free Cinema 1 O Dreamland (1953) Momma Don t Allow (1956) Together (1956) Free Cinema 3 Wakefield Express (1952) Nice Time (1957) The Singing Street (1952) Every Day Except Christmas (1957)
Free Cinema 6 Refuge England (1959) Enginemen (1959) We Are the Lambeth Boys (1959) Food for a Blush (1959)
Beyond Free Cinema One Potato Two potato (1957) March to Aldermaston (1959) The Vanishing Street (1962) Tomorrow's Saturday (1962) Gala Day (1963) Extra Small is Beautiful: The story of the Free Cinema films told by their filmmakers (2006)
UK | 1952-1963 | black & white | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 475 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1