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The Camera is Ours

Britain’s Women Documentary Makers

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John Grierson is sometimes referred to as the father of British documentary and credited with coining the term documentary itself. But from the beginning, female innovators were at work within the genre, including Grierson’s own sisters Ruby and Marion, and the BFI is delighted to showcase their work alongside that of other pioneering female documentary makers in this revelatory programme of new digital restorations.

"...from the beginning, female innovators were at work."

It begins with Marion Grierson’s lyrical and inventive Beside the Seaside (1935) which uses a witty array of techniques to stylish effect. They Also Serve (1940) is Ruby Grierson’s dramatised documentary, dedicated to “the Housewives of Britain”. A public information film by Brigid ‘Budge’ Cooper, Birth-day (1945) explores the mysteries of maternity, this is the real Call the Midwife! While Kay Mander’s powerful Homes for the People (1945) uses the then radical technique of allowing working-class women to describe their own lives. Finally, the psychedelic spirit of the 1960s is ushered in by Sarah Erulkar’s Something Nice to Eat (1967), featuring Jean Shrimpton.


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