Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Temptations of Dr. Antoino – a Watchable Film

The unwellness continues. Sat watching a string of films the whole day. One I liked was Fredrico Fellini’s (Remember he was an ad guy and used to make ad films.) The Temptations of Dr. Antonio. I haven’t had a chance to see any of his films but I now have since World Movies is bringing such good films into drawing rooms. Thanks World Movies.

Now The Temptations of Dr. Antonio is about obscenity in advertising, with a little bit of intended pun, well, sort of. The subject matter is an advertisement positioned outside Dr. Antonio’s flat that say, “Drink More Milk, People of All Ages Should Drink Milk.” Innocent, it might seem to anyone. But the model is a buxom lady played by Anita Ekberg and the glass of milk is positioned just below her breast. So the analogy is clear.

Dr. Antonio rails against the ad, though it becomes an attraction of sorts, with picnic-ers and popcorn vendors thronging to it. The upset doctor goes from authorities including: the government and the church till he is accosted by Anita herself as a giant (indicating the giant reach of obscenity in advertising) tempting him and ultimately seducing him. The government official even congratulates him on liking such a good advertisement. Also, he becomes crazy in the meantime.

Wonderful, meaningful story, well shot, very authentic.

When I was Executive Secretary of the Advertising Standards Council (ASCI), in some previous incarnation, I used to deal with such issues of “public decency”. The rulebook stated there, “Ads should not offend public decency” or something such. But, I, and the panellists of the ASCI too were so much inured by the issue of obscenity and the issue of compromised morals that we didn’t realise what was wrong with such advertisements. Today when I see some ads on television I am like Dr. Antonio. But what can I do? Fall in love with such ads?

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