The cinema and the public: a critical analysis of the origin, constitution, and control of the British Film Institute (1934)

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approaching the same authority on behalf of educationalists as a whole as that with which those colleagues can speak on behalf, respectively, of cinema exhibitors, distributors and producers. Moreover, their authority has been severely con- fined by the restrictive clauses in the Constitution mentioned above. (b) As for the three governors who are supposed to represent " public interests," they are the only ones that have, by the Constitution, to retire annu- ally ; the only ones, too, that may be removed by the members at any General Meeting. Their position is therefore—compared with that of the three trade representatives and, to a lesser extent, that of the three representatives of the Educa- tional Commission—insecure and also, it might be thought, invidious. Moreover, the three now in office—Colonel John Buchan, C.H., M.P., Mr. J. J. Lawson, M.P., and Lady Levita—were not even appointed by a General Meeting of members but by the other six governors. They have, that is, not been appointed by the State or by any independent authority or even by the members of the Institute, but by two interested groups who had already arranged that they should them- selves provide all the other governors. They can hardly be said, thus appointed, to represent ' public interests." It is true that in subsequent years they, or their successors, will be appointed by the members of the Institute. But they will then represent, not the members of the public but the members of the Institute —a large proportion of whom are engaged in the cinema trade, either as individuals or as branches of trade organisations— which is by no means the same thing. Meanwhile, Page 29