Arthur Lipsett's first film is an avant-garde blend of photography and sound. It looks behind the business-as-usual face we put on life and shows anxieties we want to forget. It is made of dozens of pictures that seem familiar, with fragments of speech heard in passing and, between times, a voice saying, "Very nice, very nice." It was critically acclaimed and plays frequently in festivals and film schools around the world.
Arthur Lipsett was an artist in the animation studio who eventually started making live action films – but live action with a difference. The sensibility is that of an animator – cut with extraordinary precision, not one frame too long or too short. Very Nice, Very Nice is composed with still images and is a wickedly funny and terrifying examination of modern life. When teaching in Norway in recent years, I always showed it to my film students. Its impact was tangible. Although made in 1961, it has not dated at all. Lipsett was a true original, and much of the sound and imagery for his films was found in the trim bins of the NFB. Trim bins were the receptacles where one put one’s outtakes. Following Grierson’s dictum, Lipsett found the extraordinary in the ordinary.Donald McWilliams
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