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Tim Cawkwell's Cinema

Intelligible writing on intelligent film, plus some poetry


Although 2020/21 was a year to forget, it is most likely to be a year we shall remember more readily than others. In private response to the new public covid reality which has coincided with a sense that politically, socially and culturally we have passed through a watershed year, I wrote a sequence of poems, IN THESE TORRID TIMES. They are fourteen in number, ranging from poems of one page in length to others of several pages. They include ‘Three Ages of the Nation’, ‘Empire with Chinese characteristics’, a letter to Dominic Cummings, ‘In praise of Norfolk’, ‘Johnson, Our Chief of Men?’ and two covid odes.

60 pages, 18 x 12 cm

20 colour photographs

r.r.p.: £10 ISBN 978-1-9169062-0-4 

Can be ordered form Waterstones in the UK.

You've reached the homepage for Tim Cawkwell (see About Me). This website is a platform for my writing on film, whether in the form of blog-type entries or of essays. I have published a number of books (e.g. co-editor of ‘World Encyclopaedia of Film’ 1972, 'Film Past Film Future’ 2011, 'The New Filmgoer's Guide to God' 2014) and have launched (February 2013) my own imprint, Sforzinda Books, as a vehicle for these and other of my own books to be available in digital form. For more details go to the 'My Books' page.

There are four main sections to the site:

1 'Essays, ideas' consist of pages on individual films or film-makers or just a filmic idea that has caught my attention. This section has largely been succeeded by my blog.

2 I admire many film-makers but have a particular fascination for the films of Robert Bresson.

3 I responded very strongly to the arrival of the American underground films in the UK in the late 1960s, which spurred me to become a film-maker myself. Should we call this cinema experimental, underground, artists' films? I have no strong view, but have settled on avant-garde.

4 I have a particular focus in my mind on the way the cinema connects with religion and philosophy.

My 'camera and pen' emblem needs explaining. The phrase ‘caméra-stylo’ was coined in 1948 by the French director Alexandre Astruc to describe a cinema which was ‘just as flexible and subtle as written language’. Thirty years later I liked to use the phrase to describe the technique I used in my film-making days of drawing directly on the film strip using a calligraphic pen (long ago it would have been a goose feather cut to make a quill). Now, nearly 70 years on from 1948 I like it as a way of describing the art of writing about the cinema, and created this emblem to visualise the idea.

For details of the books I have written (film, travel, cricket) go to My Books.

early May 2018 saw the launch of my dvd LIGHT YEARS: THE FILM DIARIES OF TIM CAWKWELL 1968-87 / 2015-18. The film is composed of the 8mm material I shot between 1968 and 1987 which I have digitized and re-edited with added voice-over and sound. This second stage is as important as the first in its way, which is why I have included it in the title of the film. It is over three hours long and can be considered as a bildungsroman or narrative of self-education, making the personal public.

The dvd is available in the LUX online store - go to: and at the BFI shop:

For a 2-minute taster on YouTube, go to: or on Vimeo, go to: