Skip to main content

BEFORE HINDSIGHT

UK, 1977 (MIFF 1978)

Director: Jonathan Lewis

This documentary from the British Film Institute examines the newsreels of the 1930s, and the ways in which they handled the political events of the decade. The film consists of library footage from newsreels, documentaries and workers films, including material which has not been seen since the thirties.

During production two complete archives were found which had previously been thought lost. The Film and Photo League and the Socialist Film Council and extracts have been used in the film. The library footage is supplemented by interviews with people who worked in the British cinema in the thirties. During that period, the cinema almost totally ignored the persecution of racial groups and other minorities, and misunderstood the implication of the newsreel footage received from Germany.

The film's producers describe what they take to be in effect, censorship at that time 'If any hard-line view was expressed on film such as by British Paramount News under its liberal editor Tommy Cummins, or by the outspoken March of Time series or by the prominent communist film maker, Ivor Montagu, the British Board of Film Censors or the National Government's covert pressure on newsreel policy ensured that the films were held up for months or never shown at all.

At the end of the film, which is introduced by James Cameron, Jonathan Dimbleby analyses the way in which television has developed the concepts of editorial policy which governed newsreel and documentary production before the war.

He suggests that today's news coverage on TV may be similarly distorting events, particularly in its coverage of Northern Ireland and Southern Africa.

See also...

Loop

Using a variety of techniques, including live action, this film examines the mechanics of the creative process of making an animated film, and the relationship between the creator and his creation. ... More »

ABIGAIL'S PARTY

The appalling Beverley (played by Alison Steadman, a Leigh regular) has arranged a small party amongst a few neighbours, which provides the perfect opportunity to display her vast array of cultural ... More »

Bad Loser

A black American gambler descends into a nightmare of murder and revenge, in which he must ultimately stake his own life. ... More »

Galaxy's Last Tape

A pop star's wife living in luxury in the country is kidnapped Galaxy's changing relationship with her kidnapper promotes a change of attitude to herself and to her situation as a pop star's wife ... More »

Dear Marjery Boobs

A parody of the kind of letters written to the problem pages of magazines and newspapers. ... Bob Godfrey is anxious to point out that there is no connection between the film's Marjery Boobs and the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director