Humphrey Jennings has been described as the only real poet that British cinema has produced. His documentary films are remarkable records of Britain at peace and war, and his range of representational approaches transcended accepted notions of wartime propaganda and revised the strict codes of British documentary film of the 1930s and 1940s.
Poet, propagandist, surrealist and documentary filmmaker - Jennings' work embodies an outstanding mix of startling apprehension, personal expression and representational innovation. This book carefully examines and expertly explains the central components of Jennings' most significant films, and considers the relevance of his filmmaking to British cinema and contemporary experience.
Films analysed include Spare Time, Words for Battle, Listen to Britain, Fires Were Started, The Silent Village, A Diary for Timothy and Family Portrait. -- .
Keith Beattie is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Melbourne.