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1900 - 19491950 - 19591960 - 19691970 - 19791980 - 19891990 - 19992000 - PRESENT

As the new medium of film started to attract the interest of artists such as Hans Richter and Ferdinand Leger, the first part of the 20th Century saw the beginnings of a vibrant film culture in which British film clubs like the London Film Society played a part, and in which wider art movements such as Surrealism made an impact. By the advent of the war the appearance of a new personal filmmaking style from American artists such as Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren was becoming apparent.

History details are written and researched by Lara Thompson. Lara Thompson is currently working on a phd about the intersection between film and photography in contemporary cinema. She works for the British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection and lectures in film studies. 1950-1960

Still from Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein, 1928

KEY EVENTS: 1900-1949


Hans Richter makes Rhythmus 21, one of the first abstract films, in Berlin


Diagonal Symphony by Viking Eggeling

Man Ray makes Return to Reason, Paris

Fernand Leger and Dudley Murphy make the 'cubist' film Ballet Mecanique, Paris


The Film Society is formed, London


The first publication of 'Close-Up' magazine, London/Zurich


Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali make Un Chien andalou


Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin is first shown in London by the Film Society

John Grierson makes his documentary The Drifters


Dziga Vertov makes Man With a Movie Camera, USSR

The Film Society funds Tusalava by Len Lye, London

National Avant-Garde Conference, La Sarraz, Switzerland


Borderline by Kenneth Macpherson, starring the poet HD and Paul Robeson

John Grierson sets up a Film Unit for the Empire Marketing Board

Night Mail by Henry Watt, with dialogue by WH Auden. Made by Grierson's film unit at the GPO


The Surrealist Exhibition, London

Trade Tattoo by Len Lye for the GPO film unit

London Can Take It Humphrey Jennings/Henry Watts


Maya Deren makes Meshes of the Afternoon, California

Stefan & Franciszka Themerson make Calling Mr Smith, London

Diary for Timothy by Humphrey Jennings


Kenneth Anger makes Fireworks, Hollywood


Sequence magazine founded by Lindsay Anderson, Gavin Lambert, Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson

First 'Cinema 16' screenings at Provincetown Playhouse, New York

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