It is a truism that many top film-makers spend lucrative if uncredited time working on television commercials. It may be sad to think that their consummate talents are being devoted to trying to persuade people to buy one brand of toilet paper rather than another, but it is not entirely a waste: in a bad week on TV there may be more pleasure to be had from the occasional amusing commercial than from most of the dross purporting to be entertainment.
Here are three examples of advertisements currently appearing which, quite inexplicably in some cases, I have enjoyed watching:
1. A double-glazing company has a series of vignettes following the making of a commercial to promote their services; most of these are fairly feeble and become tedious with repetition, but there is one in which the director asks the cameraman "How was it for you?". The cameraman, clearly a decent if boring fellow rather like Laura's very nearly cuckolded husband in Brief Encounter, replies, with an ineffably lovely smile, "Oh yes, going really well, isn't it?".
Now, this is a very unlikely exchange between two film professionals, and I cannot explain why it makes me feel warm all over.
2. A supplier of fitted kitchens have a new version of their ad which features a male and a female dancer prancing around a fitted kitchen. This is serious high-class stuff—arabesques, glissades, fouettés, battements, pliés, tours en l'air, that sort of thing.
It is all completely pointless and tells you absolutely nothing about the ease with which their cupboards open or the quality of their worktops, but is a joy to watch.
3. This one begins with a rear-three-quarter shot of a girl's feet and ankles; she appears to be standing naked in a field. The camera moves upwards past her bare calves, knees, thighs and a pair of admirable buttocks then, as it moves further up, she turns her face towards us, gives a shy smile and, horror of horrors, we see that she has a tooth missing!
This brilliantly conceived and executed commercial has been made with a view to persuading us to buy some kind of product which stops your teeth falling out.