The Appreciation of Film: The Postwar Film Society Movement and Film Culture in Britain

MacDonald, Richard. 2016. The Appreciation of Film: The Postwar Film Society Movement and Film Culture in Britain. Exeter: University of Exeter Press. ISBN 9780859898881 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

This book gives the first account of the volunteer-led film society movement in Britain and its contribution to post-WW2 film culture. It brings to life a lost history of alternative film exhibition and challenges the general assumption that the study of film began with university courses on 'Film Studies'. Voluntary associations dedicated to the screening of commercially unavailable films for subscribing members, known as film societies, expanded remarkably in the years following WW2 as people from all over the country gathered around improvised screening areas in village halls, schools and libraries. Committed to promoting film as a form of art, film societies actively encouraged the informal study of film and articulated an ambition to be a vanguard movement. Three main points are covered: the history of film education in Britain, how film societies operated and the lasting impression they have made on film today. This book also addresses tensions that existed within the organisation of voluntary societies; many people wanted the societies to maintain vanguard ideals supporting artistic experimentation, but others wanted only to encourage membership and participation.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


May 2016

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Date Deposited:

26 Oct 2015 10:41

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 10:44


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