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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Collection, 29 Aug 2008
By 
Anny61 (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
I'm about half way through watching this three disk BFI collection, but I'm inspired already to post my first ever internet review. The Free Cinema movement will no doubt be known to many people who frequent this site, but for those of you don't know it, a few details. Free Cinema was a term coined by Linsay Anderson, who founded the movement back in the mid-1950s. The idea was to bring together, and create a space for, the work of a group of young film and documentary makers who were doing similar things. Basically, this group-initially working independently of one another-were making shortish films and documentaries that focused on working class life in Britain which explicitly tried to get away from the 'gawd blimey, luv a duck' or doth your cap 'yes, mester' portrayal of working class people that characterised much of British cinema up until then, and the slightly patronising if well intentioned work, of earlier documentary makers like John Grierson.

The collection is largely comprised of documentaries, including-for example-the quite famous 'We are the Lambeth Boys', but there are also a few film contributions here. My personal favourite so far is a little gem of a film called Together by an Italian director named Lorenza Mazzetti, who apparently was a co-founder (with Anderson and Tony Richarson), but who I had never heard of before. So far I've watched maybe half the documentaries and, without exception, they're great as both social history and a historical archive (documenting a world that has now pretty much been re-developed to oblivion) and in their own right......really enjoyable stuff. I am not entirely sure how far it's possible to chart a direct lineage between these films/docs and the British social realism of the 1960s, but in the little booklet that accompanies the collection, they are described as 'precusors' and the general trajectory is certainly evident. It's impossible to watch these shorts without images and scenes from fantastic films like Taste of Honey, Billy Liar and Kes coming to mind.......not to mention contemporary British film makers like Lynne Ramsey (in Ratcatcher mode) and Shane Meadows.

The asking price might seem a bit steep if you like to buy your films in order to watch at leisure and have a budget. But there is 320 or so minutes of material on the three disks, so actually it's a real bargain. To wet your appetite a little more, along with the above mentioned, there are also contributions from the likes of Polanski and Traffaut too. If you're a fan of social realism stuff or documentary, you should certainly rent this.......I'd say it's an essential for your collection.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Cinema at it's best!, 31 July 2009
By 
Retriever1164 (Kettering, Northants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
Messrs Anderson, Reisz, Richardson and co,
Delivering a vision of Britain at a time of transition and captured in this excellent compilation of films. The true essence of the "Free Cinema" movement is evident, from Lyndsay Anderson's "O'Dreamland" (1953)which features an amusement park in Margate and has a magpie quality, taking the Richard Hoggart tone to it's subject critiquing the erosion of the traditional working class values. I also enjoyed Anderson's "Every Day Except Christmas" (1957) which observes the tradition and honest endeavours of the workers at the Covent Garden Market. "We are the Lambeth Boys" (1959) (Reisz) is also a favourite as the film explores the positive side of Youth Culture and the role of the community youth Club in South London. I would recommend anyone with an interest in the development of British Cinema in a historical or documentary context to buy this excellent product!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars free cinema (1956), 16 Feb 2009
By 
M. H. Whiston (hornchurch essex england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
A very interesting collection of short documentary films from 1956. Every film was a glimps into our past history . Highly recommended for any one interested in social history. A rare gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
What a fantastic collection, including some real gems of British Cinema (particularly Together, filmed with the artist Eduardo Paolozzi acting) which have been largely forgotten. Very worth purchasing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute must have, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
For everyone of those who love a ''mystery'' of how it was at the beginning of modern era this is a must have collection. Generation of young British and international film artist in early 50's doing their best just to free cinema from monotony and boredom of regular films for broad audience. Few of them did it. This collection include every important film from Free Cinema 1, 3 and 6. Absolute must have if You are about to improve your research of that particular time and era in history of cinema. British Film Institute did it for one who doesn't have a clue of what kind of ''strange'' movement was it but even more for those who was in lack of more details about such a influential period in British cinema. Amazing booklet is full of authentic photos, reviews and critics. By buying this my long, desperate hunt for the ''heart'' of British Free Cinema come to an happy end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ace, 21 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD] (DVD)
Terrific collection of fascinating short films from a pioneering period of British cinema. Informative booklet enclosed. Elegantly packaged, Highly recommended.
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Free Cinema (1952-1963) [DVD]
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