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By J. Chapman

A brand new historical past of British Documentary is the 1st entire review of documentary construction in Britain from early movie to the current day. It covers either the movie and tv industries and demonstrates how documentary perform has tailored to altering institutional and ideological contexts.

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Extra info for A New History of British Documentary

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For all these reasons, Battle of the Somme may legitimately be claimed as an early example of documentary film. The enormous success of Battle of the Somme inevitably prompted attempts to repeat that success. The curiously titled Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (1917) is a direct sequel to Battle of the Somme that depicts the later stages of the offensive and adopts a near-identical structure in the compilation of material. Battle of the Ancre generated further interest as it included images of the new British weapon – known as the tank – in action for the first time.

These films offer more than just visual evidence of the material conditions of the industrial working classes in the Edwardian period: they also provide some insight into social relations. In particular, they challenge the orthodox view of the world of industrial production as an exclusively male preserve: it is not unusual to see women and children crossing over into the working spaces, for example in carrying food for their husbands and fathers. An insight into social relations and behaviour also emerges in films of the seaside: Blackpool North Pier (1903) and Blackpool Victoria Pier (1904), for instance, apparently show middle- and working-class people mingling on equal terms.

Michael Paris has argued that the ideological project of the BIF reconstructions was to present ‘the War as a national achievement – an 36 A New History of British Documentary adventure in which brave young Britons won immortality. 63 This is, of course, a very different narrative of the First World War from that which came to predominate in literature from the late 1920s – exemplified by memoirs such as Robert Graves’s Goodbye To All That (1929), Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth (1933); novels such as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms (1929) and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1929); and plays such as R.

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