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Grief Encounter on LBBO


Since it debuted earlier this week, Liz Murphy's heart-breaking new film for Grief Encounter has been widely acclaimed. Little Black Book Online for their 'Your Shot' feature talked to Liz about how she made her emotional and poignant new spot. 

Grief Encounter 'Where's Mum?'
by Liz Murphy

Every 30 minutes in Britain a child loses a parent. Liz Murphy's new spot for bereavement charity Grief Encounter shows the immense effect the loss of a loved one can have on a young boy.


As he goes about his everyday life around the home, we begin to sense that something is missing. As he fends for himself, he is accompanied only by his toy bear. We leave the boy clutching a photo of a missing loved one. He gazes out the window and lets out a sigh that hints at something troubling and more profound - the heartbreaking and saddening question of 'where's Mum?'.


It's a deeply moving film that powerfully gets its message across without the use of any dialogue. Liz Murphy coaxes a performance from the young chap that is as mature as it is vulnerable as he negotiates a life now with his bear and the definite sense that someone is missing. The spot was printed onto film in post-production, lending to the feature film feeling.

The TV commercial spot is accompanied by a short documentary Liz also directed that increases the awareness of the important work Grief Encounter does with helping families and young people deal with bereavement. People who have directly benefitted from the charity's support give heartbreaking testimonies about their losses and explain how much the counselling and help Grief Encounter has provided them come to terms with life when a loved one is no longer here. The variety of stories from the people the charity has helped at first-hand are as poignant as they are inspiring - the film ending at an event organised by Grief Encounter that symbolises the newly-found hope the bereaved has found through the help and guidance the charity has given them.

"Persistant Faces"
The Drawings of William Steig

Covering a diverse array of styles, the illustrations of William Steig are charismatic and extremely memorable. He was a prolific artist, creating the illustrations and writing stories for over 50 books ("Persistant Faces" included), most famous of which, Shrek, went on to become the computer generated, multiplex-bothering behemoth we know today.


His original version of the famous green ogre is very much different to the film series, and more in line with the rest of his body of work: on the surface, seemingly simple and child-like, yet beneath offering an intriguing complexity and charm.


Steig created 121 covers for the New Yorker magazine and contributed hundreds of cartoons to the publication.


Entitled "Family Structure"

The fact that there's a dog playing violin and that isn't the most interesting thing about this illustration is hilarious.

Grilstad "The Lucky Pig"
by Jesper Ericstam

Jesper's does it again in this lovely little rasher of Swedish weirdness. 


A little girl gets a pot-bellied pig for her birthday. In a pink roll-neck wooly jumper. What could possibly go wrong?

This new one from Jesper sees a daughter's birthday treat turn into a father's worst nightmare. The fallout (aka droppings) of adopting a pig into family life takes his toll on our doting dad, with the climax of the film seeing him at his wits' end, standing over a frying pan filled with gently sizzling bacon...


It's another slice of what Jesper does best: a charming glimpse into an odd chapter of family life, with a hint of the bizarre making it endearingly unforgettable. 

Radiotjanst "The Whispering Game"
by Jesper Ericstam

A new one from Jesper, saying 'Tack' paying your TV licence in a very Jesper way.


The film follows in the footsteps of Jesper's previous little spot of brilliance for Nettbuss. This time though, a host of people over land, sea and snow (and their neighbour's fences) work together to deliver an important message of thank you. How very Nordic. 

As the message is passed around from person-to-person, Chinese Whispers-style, the film takes in an amazing array of Swedish backdrops, so it's no surprise Creativity Online described it as beautifully shot. And when coupled with Jesper's usual selection of quirky characters, it all makes for a pretty charming spot. 

Nice Shot: It's all in the presentation


Some treats that alleviated a bad case of the Mondays.

Nice Shirt at The Movies:
Wolf of Wall Street

Another post with some more yakking about movies.



It's a curious film, made more curious by fact of who it was made by. Watching the film, there's more then a whiff of all that Scorsese is doing here is just updating his 'Goodfellas' recipe - which is timely, as 24 years on from the release, other people are still trying to make their own version of 'Goodfellas' themselves ('American Hustle', ahem). It's a canny update - in 1990, Scorsese portrayed mobsters central figures of no-good: loud-mouthed, aggressive New Jerseyites in sweatsuits, rising up through the ranks of the mafia, doing unspeakable, often quite evil things ("dance, you little prick!”). Where as now, in a modern revision, it's financiers acting as figures of pure evil - this time the loud-mouthed, aggressive New Jerseyites in sweatsuits are rising up through the ranks of financial institutions doing upspeakable/unintelligible and quite often evil things. It's funny now that this is what “the arch criminal” is to us now. The dissection of the Mafia through things like 'The Sopranos' means we don't find these hoods scary anymore. It’s like the scariest most psychotic deviant we can now imagine is a guy who can sell you a stakeholder pension.  

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to sell sub-prime derivatives"
The kudos shadow that Scorsese casts over this film is interesting. The sheer bawdiness of some of the action is sometimes bewildering, to the point where it's not much of a stretch to describe this film a gross-out movie. The Tao of Scorsese, somehow seeming to separate the movie from other gross-outs like 'Dumb and Dumber' or 'There's Something About Mary'. You might snort at these comparisons but you only need look at the casting of Judd Apatow farts 'n smarts regular Jonah Hill as one of the main characters to see what's what. Still not sure? The scene where his character openly masterbates (whilst high) at a pool party over a sexy woman might persuade you (Question: is this the first masterbating character to have gotten nominated for a Best Supporting Actor/Actress awards at the Oscars?). At least in 'There's Something About Mary' they kept most things inside their shorts.

Scorsese directing Leonardo DiCaprio on how to really nail 'lude behavior'
Appropriately enough, the film’s title forms the acronym 'WOWS'(LOLZ!). It’s wild, shocking film that has a dangerous air running throughout. But do you ultimately care? Unfortunately not, unfortunately. And the movie, in its very knowing way, even recognises this. In a scene vaguely reminiscent of 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', L.D.C. explains to us, the audience, directly to camera, the intricate ways in which the phoney stock company he created is making a boat-load of money illegally. Only he stops explaining the scheme halfway through, correctly predicting that the scheme is actually quite boring and we, the audience, are not going to care. It's a clever move on behalf of the script, but also a very telling one. You're left wondering as the film ends what does it actually matter they got caught? You kind of know by this point, actually, no one's really going to get their ultimate comeuppance, and that perhaps that this isn't the point of the movie, so all you're left wondering is where all that money they sent to Switzerland went. Is it still there?


Put it this way, the film's about as good as this L.D.C. GIF from the movie. Which is great! But it's a GIF. If you like that, you'll like the film. 'WOWS' bangs and crashes, snorts and spurts its way through three hours (THREE HOURS! The excess of excess in the film becomes wearisome) with the last hour (THE LAST HOUR!) suffering having numerous opportunities to wrap things up, but unfortunately never taking one.  

One thing worthy of praise in the film was its attention to detail. Things like the way the production team got the exact stonewash denim colour for jeans, the way characters’ Rolexes (Rolexi?) got progressively gaudier and bling the more money they earned, the brilliant way in which the film blends all forms of media throughout the film, as we see TV shows, fake adverts for phoney banks and episodes of 'Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous' weave and overlap each other, heightening the film’s excessive tendencies. 


It’s weird: being released in the “Awards Season” almost works against it. It’s almost as if that if it were released in the summer, outside of the Awards Season kerfuffle, I’m sure I would really like it. It's like 'The Hangover IV: Platinum Amex' But in being swept up in the Awards Season tide, it doesn’t quite measure up as a great film ('Gangs of New York', much?). When it's good, it's really good. It’s just a shame there’s not enough of the good to make it great.  

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