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Making Things (Happen)

The Past: Revisited

‘Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your own wisdom’
– Charlie Parker

1940's kidsjpg

1940s’ Street Youths.

This project was completed by James Fitch, the idea of the piece is to see if the effects of the British Council Film Collection (BCFC) films are still the same when the music is changed. All the music was selected from Radio X’s, ‘Best of British‘ survey, these songs include.

The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

Courteeners – Not Nineteen Forever

Oasis – Half The World Away

The Jam – London Calling

The Libertines – Don’t Look Back Into The Sun

The idea of the piece originated after I had watched a few of the BCFC films. I realised there was no possible way I could relate to these videos. Instead I decided to use music as a commentary for the films, and use the songs as a way to express my opinion.

The 1940s was an interesting time for film, a lot of it heavily revolved around creating propaganda, or promoting Britain after the War. Most of the videos I watched fell into these categories. But some still managed to document British pastimes quite well, for instance Cricket shows the English preparing for the final day of the 1946-47 Ashes series (it was originally scheduled for 1940, but due to the War, it had to be postponed a bit). It shows how important sport is in this country, and the power it has to unite a nation even after such horrific events.

A film I chose called Dartmouth was focused around the Naval School in which young boys prepare for a career in the Navy. The original film is mainly used as propaganda for the war effort, showing how extensive the preparations were. However when I watched this film on mute, for me it became more about the naivety and innocence of youth.

The films used in the creation of The Past: Revisited are part of the British Council Film Collection, 120 short documentaries made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played.

View, download and play with the Collection here.

The films I chose were:

City Bound



Development of the Rabbit

Development of the English Town


Originally the plan was to make a music video for a modern song, however this was changed as it was more interesting to make a piece that could spark conversation, as it also allows for people to question their ideas of 1940s’ Britain.

I wanted to make the video a little rough around the edges, as this adds to the comical notion of the video itself, it is 10 minutes long, and has 4 chapters, and can be viewed below.


James Fitch