For the launch of The Space we chose to showcase a mini-festival of first or early films by major British directors, from the BFI National Archive. Together they offer a fascinating insight into the filmic and narrative worlds of six diverse film makers: the earliest dating from 1958 and the most recent from 1996. Peter Maniura, Launch Curator, The Space.
BOY AND BICYCLE
(Copyright British Film Institute)
Tony Scott, who died in August 2012, stars in an atmospheric first film by his older brother Ridley, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day in Hartlepool.
His bike trip takes him from the beach, to a funfair and to a deserted shack, as we listen to his random thoughts (everything from fish shops to women’s hairy legs).
Boy and Bicycle is truly a family affair, as Scott’s father drove the car used for the many tracking shots, while both of his parents make cameo appearances.
Made on an old 16mm spring-wound Bolex camera in 1962, the BFI provided Scott with post-production funding, and the film was finished with a score by John Barry.
The BFI went on to fund brother Tony Scott’s first short film, One of the Missing in 1969 and featurette Loving Memory in 1970.
Ridley Scott went on to forge a major career in Hollywood, with sci-fi blockbusters Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) among his numerous credits.
He also directed Roman epic Gladiator, which gained him one of his three Oscar nominations.
Scott’s latest science fiction outing, Prometheus, is due to be released in the UK in June 2012.