To launch Shadows of Progress, the post-war documentary season, BFI Southbank welcomed John Krish to screen new prints of four of his short films followed by a discussion of his work chaired by Senior Curator of Non-Fiction Patrick Russell. The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953), Our School (1962), They Took Us to the Sea (1961) and I Think They Call Him John (1964), demonstrate his unerring ability to develop the documentary form and compose deeply felt, compassionate essays on the people at the centre of his work.
Krish recounts a career in the pay of government departments who could never provide an appropriate brief. Surviving in this sector of filmmaking crystallised a working philosophy and a deep introspection on the meaning of his work. He insists that a director must be a part of and not apart from his subject, a view which contributes to a considered sense of the hierarchies of truth in cinema. Krish is an engrossing speaker and it is hard not to be compelled by his argument that whatever the claims of different forms, reality and authenticity in film are impossible to pin down.