restricted access Free Cinema Manifestos (UK, 1956–1959)

Free Cinema was a series of six screenings organized by Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson, and Lorenza Mazzetti at the National Film Theatre in London. Emerging shortly after the Festival of Britain in 1951 and at the same time as the “Angry Young Men” plays of John Osborne and novels of Kingsley Amis, the screenings, three of which featured UK work (the other three showing international shorts by François Truffaut, Norman McLaren, and Roman Polanski, among others) spotlighted working-class culture in the United Kingdom and a new form of documentary cinema in Britain. The manifestos from the UK screenings are provided here. Free Cinema also championed a DIY aesthetic at odds with Hollywood and British feature films and the tradition of the Griersonian documentary, turning instead to UK documentary iconoclast Humphrey Jennings for inspiration.