Fires Were Started (Jennings, 1943): Phoenix Cinema, 2pm
This 70th anniversary screening of one of the greatest British documentaries will be introduced by film historian, author and academic Ian Christie.
Time Out review:
Jennings' one venture into feature-length drama-documentary narrowly
escaped being brutally chopped down by the publicity men at the Ministry
of Information. Certainly it lacks the tight narrative structure common
in good commercial films, but Jennings is a strong enough film-maker to
ignore formulae and conventions to build his own unique structures.
Here he used real firemen and real fires - kindled among the blitzed
warehouses of London's dockland - but with the aim of creating something
more than documentary realism. It is the epic quality of the firemen's
struggle that excites Jennings, and his celebration of the courage and
dignity of ordinary people working together in the shadow of disaster
makes the film extraordinarily impressive.
Here is an extract.