(aka 'Land of Promise')
Robert Flaherty, Humphrey Jennings etc.
A landmark BFI collection, and
the first major retrospective of the documentary film movement during its period
of greatest influence. These films - many of which are being made available here
for the first time since their original release - capture the spirit and
strength, concerns and resolve of Britain and its people before, during and
after the Second World War.
DVD Review: BFI - Region 2 - PAL
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|Distribution||BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL|
|Runtime||Over 13 hours|
Average Bitrate: 5.29 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital mono)|
Up: Recollections of British documentary (40 mins) - new interviews
with directors Pat Jackson, Peter Bradford, Peter Pickering and Paul
Dickson, and with cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky
Wow - I watched this over the course of about one week and I was in a kind of nirvana. My parents grew up in this time and place and could have easily been one of the many onscreen participants. Images can speak such volumes - especially those less contrived and inherently as real as these. This BFI DVD set is absolutely filled with life - life of a different time and era - an entire world away from 'now'. Part of existence is accepting your place in society and I can't think of a better documentation concept at achieving self-awareness than viewing these short films from Britain's past. It did that for me anyhow.
Complete film listing:
Image quality is imperfect but surprisingly good all things considered. There is no extensive damage that I witnessed and speckles are prevalent to varying degrees for each film. Audio too, is fairly dodgy at times but thankfully BFI have included optional subtitles.
There are some supplements - Close Up: Recollections of British documentary is a 40 minute piece and includes new interviews with directors Pat Jackson, Peter Bradford, Peter Pickering and Paul Dickson, and with cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky. John Grierson at the NFT is a 13 minute 1959 short as an introduction to that theatrical showing (where do they dig this stuff up?). Plus there is an extensive 96-page illustrated booklet with introductory essays, biographies and notes on all of the films by leading researchers and scholars.
This is obviously a very personal thing but I was enamored enough to consider this package quite wonderful and for those considering indulging - I'd like to give them my strongest encouragement. I will cherish this DVD set - giving it a prominent place in my library.
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