This film is part of Free
Return to Life
John Krish’s deeply compassionate documentary on the resettlement of refugees in Britain; made to mark World Refugee Year 1959.
A refugee family comes to terms with living in England and adjusting to a new language and culture. John Krish’s deeply compassionate documentary on the resettlement of refugees was produced by Leon Clore, on behalf of the Central Office of Information, to mark International Refugee Year 1959.
Although Clore was then known for his association with Free Cinema talents Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, Krish’s approach to the material is largely at odds with the Free Cinema ethos, although he does characteristically cross the boundaries of documentary and fiction by using real-life refugees to play characters in a fictionalised narrative. Director John Krish's empathy for his subject may have been influenced by his own family's immigrant background; his father and both sets of his grandparents had come to Britain as Jewish refugees from eastern Europe. The deeply compassionate treatment of this theme, following an opening section drawing attention to Britain's history as a haven for refugees, serves as a reminder that the UK was not always as keen to demonstrate the 'hard line' approach to immigration and asylum that it tends to favour today (particularly when addressing its own citizens).