Confessions of a Foyer Girl, along with Down and Out, was one of Aardman's earliest attempts at using an audio recording of a real-life situation as the basis for an animated short, and formed part of the Animated Conversations series conceived by Colin Thomas and Bill Mather for BBC Bristol in the late 1970s. In this instance, we hear a foyer girl who works at an adult film theatre reflecting upon a variety of subjects, from her own hectic lifestyle to the sexual orientation of a friend, to a gruesome murder case making the headlines. She's nearing the end of her shift and cannot wait to get off (she's utterly exhausted, though hasn't ruled out the possibility of another night on the town), but still has plenty of words to share with her quieter colleague Jane.
Confessions of a Foyer Girl finds Lord and Sproxton in an unusually arty mode, juxtaposing the animated sequences with snippets of stock film footage, and regularly positioning the claymation girl in front of the live action images to give off the impression that she's talking before a screening in a darkened auditorium. The title of the short is an obvious nod to the raunchy British sex comedies that were popular throughout the decade, starting with Confessions of a Window Cleaner in 1974 and ending with Confessions from a Holiday Camp in 1977, although it also refers to the manner in which the cinema functions here as a kind of confessional, enabling the girl to divulge assorted information about her personal life before an audience of voyeurs. The titular "confessions" are not, in actuality, particularly sensational, the most unsettling revelation concerning her extreme sleep deprivation. Between work and her nightly routine of wild partying, she doesn't have a lot of time left over for sleeping and has apparently been functioning on caffeine pills for the past few days. Even her reflections upon the darker aspects of the world around her (namely, the postmortem of a murder victim, as reported in The Sun) are framed within the context of more mundane conversation, the discussion instantly switching to the much more trivial topic of facial masks and which are the best on the market. Cynical viewers might be inclined to dismiss the various stock film images interspersed throughout - industrial sparks, car chases, police arrests - as flashy attempts to enliven an inconsequential monologue, but they provide an effective contrast between the action-packed imagery of the cinema screen and the more muted, everyday drama playing in the foyer outside. A particularly striking moment involves the girl becoming momentarily startled by a giant pair of eyes behind her, evoking a self-conscious sense of voyeurism, and that we are surreptitiously observing the private musings of an individual whose activities would normally escape our attentions. In this sense, the conversation happening upon the sidelines of the cinema has effectively become its main attraction.
Availability: Included on the Aardman Classics DVD.