This film is currently unavailable

That’s Entertainment/The Conjuror’s Assistants

Frame by frame analysis of documentary footage taken at a children’s Christmas party.

Documentary 1978 23 mins


That’s Entertainment/The Conjuror’s Assistants is an attempt to reveal some problems inherent in vérité documentary such as voyeurism, the nature/extent of a vérité intervention and audience “passivity”. A frame by frame analysis of just 100ft of documentary footage taken at a children’s Christmas party, the film shows the young man “entertaining” the adults and children and his two young assistants, the a younger boy and an older girl, and the reaction of the audience – men and women supervising children of both sexes. The visible materiality of the film is used to distance the action and encourage a reading the film as a 'text.

Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op.