Saturday Night Sunday Morning

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    Saturday Night Sunday


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    Before New Wave Free Cinema is now acknowledged as a highly

    influential moment in British cinema history, which not

    only re-invigorated British documentary in the 1950s

    but also served as a precursor to the British New Wave

    in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

    series of six programmes of (mainly) short

    documentaries shown at the National Film Theatre

    (NFT) in London between February 1956 and March1959.

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    Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and Lorenza Mazzetti

    Although the films had been made independently, they

    had a definite 'attitude in common

    "British cinema [is] still obstinately class-bound; still

    rejecting the stimulus of contemporary life, as well as

    the responsibility to criticize; still reflecting a

    metropolitan, Southern English culture which excludes

    the rich diversity of tradition and personality which isthe whole of Britain."

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    We are the Lambeth boys (1959)

    What are the similarities/ differences in comparison toSaturday Night Sunday Morning?


    Portrayal of working class?
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    Short (the longest was We Are the Lambeth Boys, at 50


    used black and white film

    hand-held, portable cameras

    avoided or limited the use of didactic voice-over


    shunned narrative continuity

    sound and editing impressionistically

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    Free Cinema distinctive aesthetic consequence of three

    main factors:

    a conscious decision to take their cameras out of the studios

    and into the streets in order to engage with the reality ofcontemporary Britain

    the extremely limited funds at the filmmakers' disposal

    and the technology available

    Free Cinema advocated and developed a genuine 'aesthetic

    of economy'

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    The 'angry young men'

    Free Cinema must also to be understood as an early

    manifestation of a wider cultural movement, which also

    included a new breed of writers who began to challenge the

    existing social and cultural order.

    AYM focused on lower-middle-class and working-class life

    and were savagely critical of the institutions of English


    Recognise Free Cinema's significant role in theapprenticeship of filmmakers who made a major contribution

    to the flowering of 'social realist' cinema in the late 1950s

    and early 1960s.

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    What were the other films of the British new wave?


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    How are they different to the

    Hollywood films of this period?

    The big films in Hollywood at the time were Ben-Hur

    (1959), William Wyler, andAnatomy of a Murder

    (1959), Otto Preminger.
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    Narrative You never know who your audience is before you start. Was

    it the right film at the right time? Nobody knows.

    This quote essentially sums up the brunt challenge that facedBritish New Wave filmmakers. Was the topic of the film suited toviewing on the big screen? Was the story that these filmmakers

    were telling valid? The filmmakers certainly had courage anddetermination.

    For mainstream classic cinema, its usually natural causes (floodsearthquakes) or societal causes (wars, economic depression etc.)may cause as the determinant or preconditions for the actions.However in these films in Britain, the catalyst of the story is almostalways the individual, and their consequences and/or rewards oftheir actions, rather than social groups or collectives.

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    films were popular in the early

    1960s? It was the first time that the ordinary people live in ordinary two up,

    two down[1] houses, speaking in local accents had an opportunity tosee their lives reflected on the big screen.

    We were emerging from a period of rationing, there was still verymuch a climate of austerity. They werent bland advertisements for

    British way of lifethey were rough edged, and unpolished.

    revelation when it was first shown. Not only because of its realisticelements, but for its portrayal of sex, extra- marital affairs, stronglanguage, and, most contentious of all, abortion.

    The cultural context is very particular. The development of popular

    culture (pop culture), teenagers, youth riots. Politics was in the air,and certainly in filmmaking. Even students, who often dont havemuch of a political say, were very politicised.
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    SNSM 1: How do Arthur and his mate initially react to the

    window smasher?

    2: Why do they change their minds?

    3: Why do think the man smashes the window?

    4: What does this scene say about 1960s Britain?
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    Overall, the New Wave cinema movement rejected theidea of the traditional story in the sense of ClassicHollywood, which were mainly narrative based withstructures from earlier books and theatre. The new

    wave filmmakers did not hold your hand through thefilm. They wanted to break up the narrative with ajolting experience to make it youthful and stimulating.To make viewers think, not only about what exactly it isthat they are watching, but their own lives, and their

    own emotions. The object was not just to entertain, butmainly to communicate.

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    Consider the representations of

    Gender in SNSM

    How are they shown? Choose 3 examples





    How are they different to normal representations ofwomen in 1971?

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    Arthur Seaton "Whatever people say I am that's exactly what I'm not';

    Arthur has become an iconic character for every rebelin society, from Punk's Sex Pistols to the ArcticMonkeys.

    The film also heralded the 'Angry Young Man' as thepost war generation realising they were no longergrowing up in an idealistic society - the old classbarriers had come down again and they were being

    forced to work in the same mundane jobs without anyreal chance of genuine choice or upward progress - thiswas the 'glass ceiling' which might be said to still existtoday.

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    Representations Women's position in society - very much entrapped

    by the lack of birth control, social stigma regardingillegitimate birth and lack of available abortion.

    Men, on the other hand, were expected to be theproviders, although they could rebel and question theirsociety, jumping off the merry-go-round to leave thewoman 'holding the baby' when times got awkward. Buton the whole their role was also heavily confined to

    work, eat and sleep, with the occasional pint on aFriday night. Men at this time tended to see theiridentity through their job, unemployment wasn't anoption.

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    Music What type of music matches the contempory urban

    realismto match mood and drama?

    Jazz Music of the oppressed

    John Dankworth - Britains leading modern jazzman

    Though Reisz wanted an accordion

    What sort of atmosphere does it create?

    It became the theme instrument at various moments in thefilm and helped in that way to point up certain aspects of theplot, sentiments of the main characterand all that goes onaround him in a wide spectrum of moods.

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    Industry:Woodfall films - a relatively small UK based firmcompeting with US dominance; it made several films of asimilar genre - 'Look Back in Anger' and 'The Loneliness ofthe Long Distance Runner' before going on to produce oneof the most famous social realist films of all time 'Kes'. It

    suffered problems with its release in America due to theLegion of Decency refusing to give it a certificate.

    BAFTA award for best film (1961)

    Box Office Budget:100,000 (estimated) Gross600,000 (UK) (January 1970)

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    Codes and conventions