The British Council Film has released a collection of films produced in the 1940’s which they commissioned to originally show the world how the British lived and worked.
During the 1940s, British Council was a very different organisation operating in a very different political and social climate. As part of its programme then it was concerned to promote an idea of ‘Britain and Britishness’ – and did so by becoming an enthusiastic commissioner of documentary films. Over 120 films were produced as ‘cultural propaganda’ to counteract anything the Nazis might throw out and to refute the idea that ours was a country stuck in the past. These films were designed to showcase Britain to the rest of the world, at a time when Britain itself was under attack.
Seen by millions of people in over 100 countries worldwide from the 1940’s to 1960’s, they present a historic snapshot of Britain, portraying its industry, its landscapes, and its people. The Collection is fantastically varied, covering anything from how a bicycle is made, to how the British spend their Saturdays. They provide us with a unique insight – not necessarily into how Britain actually was, but more into how Britain once wanted to be perceived by the rest of the world.
If that isn’t generous enough, they’re actively encouraging you to play with the films and use the footage in your own projects…as long as it’s non-commercial and you properly credit the source of course.
We don’t want this collection to be just a static directory of old films; we want people to use it as a creative resource, to seek inspiration within its varied content and unusual history. We want you to download these films, to reinterpret them, and to share your interpretations with the world.
You can view the entire collection on the British Council Film website and below…is The Life Cycle of the Newt.