Much has been written on the spirit of revolution at Essex, and if you’re a current student, or someone joining us who has done their research, you’re probably aware of the history of rebellion and revolution that has gone on around our Colchester campus, that really earns us the tagline, ‘Rebels With A Cause’. What is lesser known is a pretty cool claim to fame in filmic history…
If like me, you’re a bit of a cinema snob, the likelihood is that you’ve probably heard of Jean Luc Godard. The extremely cool filmmaker worked predominantly in the 50’s and 60’s creating movies that trail blazed the French new wave movement such as Breathless and Masculin Féminin. His movies were rebellious, counter-cinematic and subversive of the conventions of mainstream film.
In 1968 Essex had its famous revolutionary festival, where students held protests, overtook the chancellor’s office, and drove a Fiat 500 into a fountain. Alongside all of this, we were also host to Godard during this time, for his shooting of British Sounds, a revolutionary television documentary which was banned from London Weekend TV for its controversial topics. It features Essex students creating protest banners during the festival along with other footage such as workers speaking about poor employment conditions.
While obviously as a university we don’t hold any particular political views, we do pride ourselves on being challenging and rebellious, it is for this reason that Godard’s historic presence here kind of makes sense and to me as a film student, the thought of such a cinematic god being historically present on our campus is one of my fave geeky facts about Essex.