The programme of British Contemporary films opened with THE PARIS YEARS – IGOR CHEZ PLEYEL which was backed by Channel 4 and was one of their rather more experimental offerings. At twenty five minutes I found it over long considering the lack of action or story. PLAYERS directed by John Halas was in the conventional cartoon mould but failed to get any applause from the audience, probably because of its war theme. The ‘Animation and Persuas¬ion’ films had attracted an anti-war element to the audience. Similarly THE SECRET ARMY by Jon Brooks got the silent treatment although his THE VIEW got a good response.
THE HISTORY OF GREASE directed by Ian Moo Young demonstrated that even a seemingly mundane subject can be put over with humour.
There were numerous TV commercials in this section. I sometimes think that the adverts on TV are the highlights of the viewing evening. To name but a few there was BABYCHAM – PARTY directed by Paul Vester of Speedy Cartoons, SWIMSONG directed by Richard Taylor telling us to learn to swim, UNITED – WE’RE DELIGHTED from Cucumber Studios, SUPER SOFTIES – CHERUBIM directed by Russell Hall of Richard Williams Animation. HEINZ SALAD CREAM – EGG from Richard Purdoin showed how effective coloured pencil work on a white background can be.
The British Contemporary Films: New Directions opened with another twenty five minute Channel 4 offering called LEOS JANACEK – INTIMATE EXCURSIONS. It is described in the programme as an ‘operatic spectical’ but it is a puppet film that lacks movement apart from monotonous camera pans past simple sets repeated over and over again.