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BBFC RatingThe Camera is Ours: Britain's Women Documentary Makers

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CountryUnited Kingdom
Running Time1HR 37MINS
SeasonMain Programme

The Camera is Ours: Britain's Women Documentary Makers is a collection of digitally restored short documentaries made by women from 1935 to 1967.

“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 we’re delighted to showcase their work alongside that of other pioneering female documentary makers in this revelatory programme of new digital restorations.

It 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’ Cooper, Birth-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.

Please note thatBeside the Seaside and Birth-day include scenes reflecting harmful racist views that were pervasive at the time of their making.

For full descriptions of each film, please see the link below: 


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