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Essentially British?: Return to Life (1960)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Main image of Essentially British?: Return to Life (1960)
35mm, black & white, 29 mins
DirectorJohn Krish
Production CompanyBasic Films
SponsorsCentral Office of Information
 Foreign Office
Focus Questions
In the Classroom

Refugees make the often difficult adjustment to a new life in England.

Made in World Refugee Year (1959/60) and intended for screening in embassies across the globe, Return to Life's opening section draws attention to Britain's history as a haven for refugees. The bulk of the film, however, explores the feelings of one refugee family, newly arrived in the UK, as it accustoms itself to a new homeland. A deeply compassionate and sensitive film, Return to Life crosses the boundaries of documentary and fiction by using real, but unrelated, refugees to play the central characters.

Follow the link In The Classroom at the top of this page for teaching suggestions linked to History and Citizenship. In Focus Questions you'll find suggestions for questions to focus students attention whilst watching the film, which will also help to develop their understanding of film language.

Video Clips
1. The refugees arrive (1:19)
2. Josef's story (0:52)
3. A stranger's clothes (1:53)
4. Mirko's friend (1:43)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related BFI Mediatheque Titles

Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)

Related Films and TV Programmes

Thumbnail image of Refuge England (1959)Refuge England (1959)

Read more about this film

Thumbnail image of Return to Life (1960)Return to Life (1960)

Read more about this film

Related Lessons and Resources

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)

What will Britain look like in 50 years time?

Thumbnail image of Krish, John (1923- )Krish, John (1923- )

Director, Producer, Writer