>On Film Education and Appreciation

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Updated January 13, 2011
British Film Institute library in Dean Street in 1950s
BFI Library today in Stephen Street

Film Studies For Free loves the British Film Institute. It’s a remarkable cultural institution in many ways – one of the finest in the world. And its online film educational offerings are unrivalled, both at its main website and at Screenonline

Today, FSFF celebrates some newly published, online, BFI resources on the subject of film appreciation and education in the 1950s. As is its wont, FSFF has supplemented these links with its own curation of online items on international film education and appreciation. All links may be found below.



But FSFF has been dismayed to hear of proposed changes to the British Film Institute National Library (still going strong after 76 wonderful years) and the Viewing Service at the BFI. The proposals are outlined here. These changes are likely to have serious implications for the field and for research opportunities in film and television in the UK. If any of FSFF‘s readers are concerned about the proposals, you may like to make your views known to the BFI – possibly through the chairman Greg Dyke. If anyone knows of an online petition to register discontent about these changes please let FSFF know and it will happily publish the link. This has now been set up: Please sign!

Selected resources made available by the BFI in the 1950s to support film appreciation and education:

  • 20 Films to use in Junior Film Societies (PDF, 34.3mb) compiled by A. W. Hodgkinson (British Film Institute and The Society of Film Teachers, 1953) Identifies key feature films suitable for studying with young people. Each record includes a summary of the film, examples of critical opinion and suggested discussion points.
  • School Film Appreciation (PDF, 7.1mb) by A. W. Hodgkinson, John Huntley, E. Francis Mills and Jack Smith (King’s College School and British Film Institute, 1950) Practical notes compiled by educators in the field, detailing appropriate film titles and books for study, with advice for teachers.
  • The Artist the Critic and the Teacher (PDF, 1.9mb) (The Joint Council for Education through Art, 1959) Programme for a forum presented by The Joint Council for Education through Art on the relevance of the arts to education, held at the National Film Theatre. Participants included Lindsay Anderson, John Berger, Karel Reisz and Kenneth Tynan.
  • Film Study Material (PDF, 850kb) (British Film Institute, 1955) Catalogue of films and extracts available from the British Film Institute for use in film study.

Other Resources on Film Education and Appreciation:

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