Keith Beattie

in Humphrey Jennings

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078552
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701836 | DOI:

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This chapter examines the legacies of Jennings' films in relation to the history and memory of the British home front during World War II; a number of trends and specific works from the field of film and television; and ongoing questions of national identity and patriotism. Although Jennings' films may not seem directly dedicated to one's dilemmas, they can still stir and inspire with their imaginative and moral impulse, and continue to do so precisely because they continue in various ways to raise issues relevant to the present. However, within acknowledgments of the importance of Jennings' films to the history of documentary representation, certain assessments of his filmmaking have unintentionally denied legacies by arguing that his work is too idiosyncratic for emulation. This may well be the case when referring to Jennings' use of collage and ambiguity, formal characteristics that are not commonly copied or duplicated in documentary filmmaking.

Keywords: legacy; World War II; patriotism; moral impulse; documentary representation

Chapter.  4764 words. 

Subjects: Film

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