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:: Monday, July 28, 2008 ::

Film Review: Phill, Bagpuss and Friends

I attended the Phill, Bagpuss and Friends event as part of the Encounters short film festival at the Watershed yesterday.

Hosted by Phill Jupitus along with Loaf of The Dragons' Friendly Society and animator Brian Cosgrove the event celebrated the work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin of Smallfilms.

It was great to sit in a room full of nostalgic 30 to 50 somethings and enjoy these great pieces on animation again. Not that there is anything technically spectacular about them; it's the story telling, the pacing, the eccentricity, the music and the general mood that make them unique. Not to mention Oliver's voice.

There were a few things I'd never seen before. Like the "terrifying" Pogles episode "King of the Fairies" (watch when the witch appears). And I'd never even heard of Pingwings, which is brilliantly funny and touching at the same time, not just in it's naivety as they hadn't thought about the lighting problems shooting animation outdoors.

The BBC 4 documentary "Ivor the Engine" and the story of "Smallfilms" is on YouTube in three parts.

Oliver is now 84 years old and is in a retirement home so the event was being recorded for him. Keen to send him a message about how much his work is loved Phill Jupitus insists on all of the camera equipment being rearranged at the end so the whole audience can wave to him and send him their love. It was a funny, fantastical and heart warming afternoon.

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