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The downside of Free Cinema


The Free Cinema manifesto
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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I've got here the... the Free Cinema manifesto which I dug up from my files. I thought it was worth just reading it to you. It says: 'These films were not made together nor with the idea of showing them together. But when they came together they... we felt they had an attitude in common. Implicit in this attitude is a belief in freedom, in the importance of people, and in the significance of every... of the every-day. As film-makers we believe that no film can be too personal, the image speaks, sound amplifies and comments. Size is irrelevant, perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style, a style means an attitude'. And it's signed by the four directors. And also rather nice is, at the back of this, is the Free Cinema programme from the first Free Cinema... presentation. And at the back is... is a little quotation from Dylan Thomas, from a poem called... called Envoi, where Lindsay's written, 'Epigraph for Free Cinema'. No, 'Epigraph for a free cinema'. 'This is the world, the lying likeness of our strips of stuff that tatter as we move, loving and being loth; The dream that kicks the buried from their sack and lets the trash be honoured as the quick, this is the world. Have faith'.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: Envoi, Dylan Thomas, Lindsay Anderson

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008