How to Be Eccentric: The Films of Richard Massingham | Chicago Reader

How to Be Eccentric: The Films of Richard Massingham

This program by the British Film Institute collects 15 works by Richard Massingham, who left a career in medicine in the late 1930s to head a small British film company specializing in public service announcements, ads, and quirky shorts, in which he also acted. The doughy and befuddled Massingham is a delight as he demonstrates how to post Christmas packages, observe the rules of the road, prevent the spread of germs, and bathe in five inches of water as a wartime conservation measure. Most of the films run only a minute or two and are fired by a childlike enthusiasm for the illusions of cinema; the four longer pieces—especially the postwar lament What a Life! (1948)—offer warm but mordant takes on everyday tribulations of the era. 82 min.

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