Very Nice, Very Nice (1961)

When Very Nice, Very Nice was released in 1961, it was immediately embraced by the new generation of hipsters, academics and artists. The film is sharp, jazzy, confrontational and darkly comic. It announces itself straight off with opening shots of office buildings, followed by an off-screen voice intoning, “In this city marches an army whose motto is—bwah, bwah, bwah.” Those three blasts of a car horn burst the documentary balloon; rapidly, we’re shown two signs, “No” and “Buy.” Lipsett has playfully set up the audience, awakening them from their torpor of receptivity and challenging them to engage with his film. Marching bands, drumbeats, old-time piano rolls and jazz music highlight a soundtrack made up of a collage of audio material. Moving in counterpoint are visuals that range from still photographs of individuals, images of crowds, rocket ships, the hydrogen bomb and various iconic historical figures.(NFB: Arthur Lipsett – Focus on Animation)