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The Struggle for History: Lindsay Anderson Teaches Free Cinema

Hedling, Erik LU (2014) In Journal of British Cinema and Television 11(2-3). p.312-331
Abstract
In spring 1986, Lindsay Anderson appeared in a television programme

on British cinema. This was part of a series of three under the heading

British Cinema: Personal View, produced by Thames Television. Anderson’s

contribution, Free Cinema 1956–? An Essay on Film by Lindsay Anderson, was

written and directed by him. He was also the star of the programme, providing a

lecture on the history of British cinema with himself at the very core, although,

at the time of the production, Anderson’s career was in decline and he was

not involved in any film projects. Drawing on press materials, the programme

itself and Anderson’s personal papers in the University of Stirling... (More)
In spring 1986, Lindsay Anderson appeared in a television programme

on British cinema. This was part of a series of three under the heading

British Cinema: Personal View, produced by Thames Television. Anderson’s

contribution, Free Cinema 1956–? An Essay on Film by Lindsay Anderson, was

written and directed by him. He was also the star of the programme, providing a

lecture on the history of British cinema with himself at the very core, although,

at the time of the production, Anderson’s career was in decline and he was

not involved in any film projects. Drawing on press materials, the programme

itself and Anderson’s personal papers in the University of Stirling library, this

article analyses Anderson’s personal conception of Free Cinema – according to

his understanding, a short-lived documentary movement in the 1950s which

eventually transformed itself into a series of feature films in the ensuing

decades, particularly his own trilogy If. . . . (1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and

Britannia Hospital (1982). The polemic in the programme was particularly

aimed at the general idea of the British Film Year of 1985 and at the successful

film producer David Puttnam, at the time well known for his contribution to

what was sometimes called the ‘New British Cinema’ of the 1980s. Anderson,

however, dismissed Puttnam as a film-maker concerned only with Oscars

and economic success, and instead lauded the qualities of ‘Free Cinema’, a

realist, non-conformist and radical aesthetic, as the most artistically rewarding

tradition in British cinema. The programme was highly entertaining and was

generally well received by the British press, but did not really strengthen

Anderson’s position within the British film industry, which might, or might not,

have been Anderson’s intention. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Lindsay Anderson, Free Cinema, British Film Year, Thames Television, David Puttnam
in
Journal of British Cinema and Television
volume
11
issue
2-3
pages
312 - 331
publisher
Edinburgh University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000339393100019
  • scopus:84904704591
ISSN
1743-4521
DOI
10.3366/jbctv.2014.0218
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c671ce81-89e6-4eb5-a5b9-603c3f9b101d (old id 3738723)
date added to LUP
2013-05-27 14:30:43
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:19:05
@article{c671ce81-89e6-4eb5-a5b9-603c3f9b101d,
  abstract     = {In spring 1986, Lindsay Anderson appeared in a television programme<br/><br>
on British cinema. This was part of a series of three under the heading<br/><br>
British Cinema: Personal View, produced by Thames Television. Anderson’s<br/><br>
contribution, Free Cinema 1956–? An Essay on Film by Lindsay Anderson, was<br/><br>
written and directed by him. He was also the star of the programme, providing a<br/><br>
lecture on the history of British cinema with himself at the very core, although,<br/><br>
at the time of the production, Anderson’s career was in decline and he was<br/><br>
not involved in any film projects. Drawing on press materials, the programme<br/><br>
itself and Anderson’s personal papers in the University of Stirling library, this<br/><br>
article analyses Anderson’s personal conception of Free Cinema – according to<br/><br>
his understanding, a short-lived documentary movement in the 1950s which<br/><br>
eventually transformed itself into a series of feature films in the ensuing<br/><br>
decades, particularly his own trilogy If. . . . (1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and<br/><br>
Britannia Hospital (1982). The polemic in the programme was particularly<br/><br>
aimed at the general idea of the British Film Year of 1985 and at the successful<br/><br>
film producer David Puttnam, at the time well known for his contribution to<br/><br>
what was sometimes called the ‘New British Cinema’ of the 1980s. Anderson,<br/><br>
however, dismissed Puttnam as a film-maker concerned only with Oscars<br/><br>
and economic success, and instead lauded the qualities of ‘Free Cinema’, a<br/><br>
realist, non-conformist and radical aesthetic, as the most artistically rewarding<br/><br>
tradition in British cinema. The programme was highly entertaining and was<br/><br>
generally well received by the British press, but did not really strengthen<br/><br>
Anderson’s position within the British film industry, which might, or might not,<br/><br>
have been Anderson’s intention.},
  author       = {Hedling, Erik},
  issn         = {1743-4521},
  keyword      = {Lindsay Anderson,Free Cinema,British Film Year,Thames Television,David Puttnam},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2-3},
  pages        = {312--331},
  publisher    = {Edinburgh University Press},
  series       = {Journal of British Cinema and Television},
  title        = {The Struggle for History: Lindsay Anderson Teaches Free Cinema},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2014.0218},
  volume       = {11},
  year         = {2014},
}