‘Humphrey Jennings: Of Images, Poetry and Pandaemonium’

Evans, Owen (2017) ‘Humphrey Jennings: Of Images, Poetry and Pandaemonium’. In: Newland, Paul and Hoyle, Brian (eds). British Art Cinema. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9781526100870 (In Press)

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Abstract

The inclusion of Humphrey Jennings, the great documentary filmmaker, in a collection exploring British art cinema might cause eyebrows to be raised. This chapter will argue, nevertheless, that he belongs in any such survey. It will argue that he needs to be seen first and foremost as a poet in the broadest sense of that word, whose entire oeuvre is characterised by a fascination with images, and that any appreciation of his films needs to take into account the full scope and diversity of his work. He can thus be seen as an example of the ‘expressive individual’ David Bordwell has argued is fundamental to art cinema (1979: 720). Indeed, by virtue of his polymathic abilities, his musings on formal and stylistic art traditions and his own practice, Jennings might be seen alongside the likes of artists-as-filmmakers Pier Paolo Pasolini and Andrej Tarkovsky. As such, any study seeking to provide a more nuanced and broader understanding of British art cinema should find space for Humphrey Jennings, especially at a time when his film work has been re-released for the benefit of contemporary audiences.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humphrey Jennings, Art cinema, British cinema, Documentary
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Media
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Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 16:27
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/9825

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