John Grierson: Father Of The British Documentary

1. THE SONG OF CEYLON (1934-England). Directed by BASIL WRIGHT. Produced by JOHN GRIERSON. This meditative film about the customs and culture, religion and daily life of the people of Ceylon is nothing short of sheer poetry on celluloid. It is beautifully directed and photographed and it captures all the mystery of an exotic civilization and its people. Especially memorable are the images relating to Buddhas and sunken temples. It is no exaggeration to observe that this is easily one of the finest and most lyrical documentaries ever made.
2. INDUSTRIAL BRITAIN (1933-England). Produced by JOHN GRIERSON and ROBERT FLAHERTY. A vividly detailed gem of a documentary which details the manner in which the industrial revolution had impacted on Great Britain and its populace. The history of daily work in England is a history of men “growing things, making things, transporting things.” However, by the 1930s, the new laborer might be a coal miner or glass blower or steelworker. England was becoming a nation of bridges and cranes, airplanes and locomotives and factories. The film ultimately serves as a celebration of a new, industrialized Britain.
3. DRIFTERS (1929-England). Directed and edited by JOHN GRIERSON. Here is the first film made by Grierson. It too is a story of economic change in England. The life of the herring fisherman once was an “idyll of brown sails and village harbors.” Now it had become an “epic of steam and steel.” The crux of the film charts a fishing expedition into the North Sea. After watching the film, you will feel as if you were actually on board hauling in the herring! “Silent” film with music scone. 107 minutes total. Documentary