Shorts

Often how distinguished directors first cut their teeth, we shine a spotlight on the craft, scope and power of short film, including lyrical and impassioned examples from Terence Davies and Ridley Scott.

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  • The Body Beautiful

    This autobiographical narrative redefines female beauty and sexuality by reflecting on filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah's relationship with her mother. Onwurah's discovery of her sexual appeal as a young model is combined with an intimate account of her mother Madge's experience of desexualisation after h...

  • Boy and Bicycle

    Ridley Scott’s first film – featuring his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day to meander around Hartlepool on his bicycle – is a far cry from the director’s Hollywood blockbusters, a lyrical and highly personal evocation of the early sixties North East.

  • Children

    The opening film in Terence Davies' powerful Liverpool-set Trilogy introduces Robert Tucker as a withdrawn young boy, bullied at school and terrorised by a violent father. His strict Catholic upbringing hinders his sexual awakening and as a young man he's still living at home with his mother. A v...

  • David

    Told with authenticity and perception, David looks back on the life of a school caretaker in a Welsh mining town, from the marriage and birth of his son to the trauma of a pit accident.

  • Death and Transfiguration

    The anguished finale of the Terence Davies Trilogy opens with the death of Robert Tucker’s beloved mother, jumping forward in time to show an elderly Robert bedridden in hospital (an astonishing appearance by Steptoe and Son’s Wilfrid Brambell). Fragments of his past - a school nativity play, mal...

  • Eros Erosion

    Transience and desire, and the silence and concealment surrounding sexuality, love, death, AIDS, and the fear of bereavement, are all touched upon among a rush of abstract and allegorical connections in this artist film from 1990 by Anna Thew.

  • Life in Her Hands

    Your NHS Needs You. Specifically, if you're a woman you, yes you, should consider joining the nursing ranks. Even if (gasp) you're already in your mid-twenties. Enter Kathleen Byron, a great character actress best known for her role as an unhinged nun in Black Narcissus (1946). Byron's the star o...

  • Madonna and Child

    The second instalment of Terence Davies' masterful Trilogy finds Robert Tucker in middle age, with the clash of religion and sexuality taking its toll. A depressed loner who takes the ferry across the Mersey to work as an office clerk, Robert is haunted by nightmares of his own death and tormente...

  • My Ain Folk

    The second instalment of Bill Douglas’ revered Trilogy. Though life becomes ever harder for Jamie, so that he eventually ends up in a none-too-comforting children’s home, the bold, uncompromising assurance of Douglas’ very personal brand of realism ensures that the film effortlessly avoids the pi...

  • My Childhood

    Set in 1945, the first part of Bill Douglas’ poetic and profoundly stirring autobiographical triptych revisits his impoverished childhood, living with his grandmother and half-brother in the Scottish mining village of Newcraighall.

  • My Way Home

    Concluding his acclaimed Trilogy, Bill Douglas’ autobiographical film follows young Jamie as he leaves home to live with his paternal grandmother, only to be conscripted into the RAF. Ironically, military service in Egypt brings a sense of freedom and friendship unimaginable in his earlier years....

  • Terminus

    In his first cinema film, made at British Transport Films, John Schlesinger presents a day in the life of Waterloo Rail Station. Now a staple television format, this observational look at the workings of one of London’s key railway hubs was considered innovative in 1961, winning it awards at Veni...

  • Skinflicker

    Presented as found footage à la The Blair Witch Project, this chilling and provocative fake home movie presents the story of three dissidents and their plan to commit a revolutionary act on film. Will Knightley (father of Keira) plays one of the guerrillas who kidnap and torture a cabinet minister.

  • Amelia and the Angel

    In this charming early short from British cinema maverick Ken Russell, a young girl, cast as an angel in the school play, is distraught when her brother steals and damages her treasured wings. Pocket money in hand, Amelia traverses London on the hunt for a new pair in time for the play. Mercedes ...

  • Jemima + Johnny

    The friendship of a young white boy and a black girl reaches out across the generations in this uplifting mid-60s short, directed by South African-born actor and anti-Apartheid activist Lionel Ngakane. Against a background media narrative suggesting ever-worsening racial tensions, Jemima + Johnny...

  • White Men Are Cracking Up

    Masie Blue is an enigmatic Black Widow figure under investigation by detective Margrave for her involvement in the suicides of successful white men. Through the blurred lines of perception and reality, the myth of the black feminine mystique is explored under the guise of a murder mystery. Writte...

  • Ten Bob in Winter

    An early classic of Black British cinema about the intriguing social dynamics that arise as a ten shilling note is passed around the black community. A student borrows ten bob from a white man and then in turn lends it to a natty musician. Later, when the student meets an upstanding member of the...