British Public Information Film: Broken Glass (1973)

Alex Davidson, Digital Producer for the British Film Institute (BFI) and former curator for the BFI National Archive was spot on with his comments on this 28-second British Public Information Film masterpiece, Broken Glass (1973) .

“While ‘Charley Says’, ‘Splink’ and ‘Lonely Water’ may remain among the most famous COI (Central Office of Information) films, the films were at their best when the output was at its simplest. ‘Broken Glass’ eschews animated cats, complex acronyms and the Grim Reaper in favour of a brutally minimalist approach, and is all the more effective for it”

The film pays close attention to sound and movement. The ambient beach sounds; seagulls and waves combined with the boy’s breathing and running through small puddles of water, set up a terrifying narrative. What is unclear but engaging, is that the young boy while running briskly over the dunes and onto a desolate beach seems distracted at something overhead. The moment of impact reaches its climax as the footage is frozen to the sound of seagulls and the narrator’s enunciation of the word ‘Glass’. Rhythmic montage, as they say in the trade.

 

 

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