Forgotten Futures: British Municipal Cinema 1920-1980

Black Dog Publishing

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Elizabeth Lebas

Softcover |  21.59 x 3.81 x 25.4 cm | 192 pp

Black Dog Publishing | 9781906155940

The first book on municipal cinema in Britain, Forgotten Futures includes films from the Department for Public Health, documentaries and local authority films, and is written by film and cultural historian Elizabeth Lebas.

The book explores filmmaking by local authorities in Britain, outlining their activities and focuses on the impact of city environments and reforms on society. From the 1920s until a decade after the Second World War, British municipalities not only controlled commercial screenings and cinemas, but also almost all projected and rental non-commercial films. Forgotten Futures examines municipal cinema as a filmic representation of urban and social reform in twentieth century Britain by looking at the relationship to documentary and educational cinema, the influence of nineteenth century documentary photography and traditional forms of popular culture.

It is the first book on municipal cinema in Britain and examines new perspectives on documentary photography, film and art. Forgotten Futures explains why municipal films were more than simple propaganda, and what their influence was in the making of the social democratic model of modern British everyday urban life. There's a closer look into the activities of the Glasgow Corporation and the Bermondsey Borough Council: two socialist municipalities who promoted their political identities through their making and sponsorship of films over several decades.

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