The Camera is Ours: British Women Documentary Makers

the camera is ours britains women documentary makers

14 and 15 June, 2022 at Glasgow Film Theatre

‘The trouble with you is that you look at things as though they were in a goldfish bowl. I’m going to break your goldfish bowl.’ – Ruby Grierson, to her brother John.

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 showcasing their work alongside that of other pioneering female documentary makers in this revelatory programme of new digital restorations.

The programme begins with Marion Grierson’s lyrical and inventive Beside the Seaside (1935) which uses a witty array of techniques to stylish effect. In They Also Serve (1940), Ruby Grierson’s dramatised documentary is dedicated to ‘the Housewives of Britain’.

A public information film by Brigid ‘Budge’ CooperBirth-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.

Content warning: Beside the Seaside and Birth-day include scenes reflecting harmful racist views that were pervasive at the time of their making.

Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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