Sunday, 5 October 2008

Joanna Quinn "Girl's Night Out"

Sunday Classic
Girl's Night Out
Joann Quinn

Beryl has been invited to a girls night out at The Bull - just a quiet night out with the girls, she informs her uncommunicative husband. Beryl's a large lady, works on the assembly line installing cherries on iced cup cakes, and reacts with a spot of fantasising when informed of the male stripper she and her fellow confectioners are due to see. However nothing in fantasy land has prepared her for l'actualité. With a raucous and quite sensational compendium of Cardiff voices and loud laughter, of which the loudest is Beryl, we join the girls in a spot of honest to goodness pub entertainment in which our heroine is the prize winner. Confidently drawn by hand with a robust style of caricature Girl's Night Out is a classic slice of working class life, genuinely funny throughout in a sustained assault on our tummy muscles, none more so than when Beryl actually sees the star turn and the repressed sexbomb is well and truly let out. Visually too it is cleverly put together. Note the use of red in the screenshots, the use of simple penciled, uncoloured drawing of the other ladies to draw attention as required to the central character, the introduction of strobe effects to hype up excitement levels, and always that rich soundtrack of voices. Indeed, although the movie was produced whilst in her graduation year, the voices were added professionally when it was shown on television. It is a delight to see an animator whose output is founded on drawing. Joanna is a natural cartoonist. Her humour belongs in that seam found at the seaside in saucy postcards as well as the culture of the working men's club scene in the UK, or at least in their premises beacause the men are locked out. I also am reminded of Alison Snowden's wonderful Second Class Post featured elsewhere on the blog. There's a similar sense of sadness, a recognition of the older or plainer woman's needs in a society that recognises only the beautiful, slim or monied.

Biography Born in Birmingham in 1962 and graduating from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1985, Joanna Quinn completed her Girl's Night Out two years later after obtaining funding from Channel 4 and the Welsh S4C. The movie obtained three awards at the subsequent Annecy Film Festival. Her commercial company, the Cardiff-based, Beryl Productions International, was set up with writer, producer and former college tutor Les Mills. It has produced award winning commercials for Whiskas cat food and Charmin toilet tissue, the latter not necessarily noted for its good taste. Joanna has made a selection of remarkable and idiosyncratic films: Britannia (1993 and featured on the Animation Blog), the Oscar nominated Famous Fred (1996) and in 2006, Dreams & Desires: Family Ties.

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