A documentary about the history of the Free Cinema movement, made by one of it’s greatest proponents, Lindsay Anderson, to commemorate British Film Year in 1985.
Produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill.
Unlike Richard Attenborough’s celebratory episode of the same series, or Alan Parker’s more aggressive show, which was balanced between celebrating the greats and attacking Parker’s bugbears, Greenaway and Jarman and the BFI, Anderson’s show accentuates the negative, painting an image of a British cinema in terminal artistic decline and trashing the ambitions and approach of British Film Year itself. It’s mordantly funny and very savage.
Anderson’s guided tour of the Free Cinema movement, from its source of inspiration in the documentaries of Humphrey Jennings, through its short sponsored docs, and into feature films, is very good. His attitude could be depressing except you feel that he sort of enjoys his grumpiness.