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Virtual Cinema Presents “British Arrows”—Greatest Hits Edition November 25, 2020

By The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Tags: virtual-cinema, mfah, films, british-arrows, greatest-hits

A popular tradition in MFAH film programming goes virtual! It’s time for British Arrows, the annual celebration of advertising ingenuity.

To anyone who may be new on the scene, here’s a brief history from the London-based organizers: “For over 40 years, British Arrows has been championing, awarding, and celebrating the innovation, bravery, and artistry of moving-image advertising. Technology and media have changed beyond all recognition, but the essential aspects of craft have remained constant. Talent, dedication, innovation, and professionalism have never gone out of fashion.”

Best of the Best
The 2020 edition is a fast-paced “greatest hits” survey featuring ads from 1976 to 2019. It works on two levels: a retrospective of filmmaking styles, and a history of the evolution of products and technology. Rounding out the selection are the winners of a timely “Made in Lockdown” competition.

Creative and Cinematic
These mini-masterpieces are creative and cinematic, getting their message across in a succinct time frame. Part of the fun as you watch is trying to identify the product each ad is promoting, because often the reveal doesn’t come until a logo appears at the end. While you watch from home this year, why not challenge your friends and family to see who can name it first?

Roller Coaster
When it comes to the British Arrows, always count on an emotional roller coaster. Get ready for drama, romance, nostalgia, fantasy, comedy—and lots of singing and dancing. Then there are the public service messages, conveyed with poignant impact. In the mix this time out: girl power, glamorous women, sculpted bodies, mischievous kiddos, animals, sports, music, and a Wes Anderson–directed entry. Celebrity sightings include David Beckham, Kevin Hart, Diana Ross, and Snoop Dogg.

So grab a cup of tea or a pint, spread some marmite on your bread (all subjects of ads in the program) and settle in to enjoy.

British Arrows: Greatest Hits WATCH HERE Your ticket ($12) supports the MFAH and provides a 3-day pass to the film. SEE THE TRAILER


Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.