Humphrey Jennings was born in 1907 and became not only a filmmaker but a photographer, literary critic, theatrical designer, poet, painter and theorist of modern art.
While studying English at Cambridge, he designed the first British productions of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and Honegger’s King David, and founded and edited Experiment with William Empson and Jacob Bronowski. By 1936 he was a leading Modernist and organised the International Surrealist Exhibition in London, along with Herbert Read, Roland Penrose and André Breton.
Jennings joined the GPO Film Unit in 1934. His early films, like those of Alberto Cavalcanti (with whom he often collaborated), were criticised by the documentary movement’s realists for their experimental qualities. He was described by film critic and director Lindsay Anderson 1954 as: “”the only real poet that British cinema has yet produced.