'Experts in the Field: Rhetoric and Aesthetics in the Agricultural Documentary'
We will watch both Ditching, made in 1942, and Foot and Mouth, made in 1955. These films belong to a subgenre of agricultural documentary – the instructional farming film, the dominant form of agricultural documentary in the 1940s and 1950s, when these two films were made. An analysis of these two films will raise historiographical questions, both about the specific cultural contexts within which the films were produced and about the way in which the canons of documentary film are constructed. In developing this analysis, the paper aims to re-examine the aesthetic contribution that key films in the subgenre made to the British documentary and agricultural discourses.