Directed by Robert Vas • Documentary • 1959 • 27 minutes
Director Robert Vas was himself a refugee from Hungary, having arrived in London only three years earlier when he received a grant from the BFI to make the film. Despite its slightly incongruous use of voiceover, the film was adopted by the Free Cinema movement for its stylistic contrast of contradictory images and sound and its focus on the dispossessed.
With its enquiry into themes that are just as resonant in today’s society, and its uncompromising outsider’s view of an inhospitable 1950s London, Refuge England is a fascinating example of Free Cinema. Director Vas went on to become a very important documentary maker at the BBC.