‘Green Cross Coda’, a newly commissioned Public Information Film directed by Quentin Tarantino in reportedly running £40 million over budget. With a body count of 150 and rising, the Home Office is considering pulling the plug, saying that it only wanted ‘a lovely film that helps children be aware of the dangers when crossing a road, given by the nice friendly Green Cross Man’.
Tarantino responded: ‘Green Cross Preacher Man has parental abandonment issues and a retributive compulsion that needs to be conveyed and resolved in 20 seconds, the road is the metaphor and in the Coda he finds his salvation! I can get this movie done with real-time financial support and a little frikkin’ latitude.’
PIFs first emerged during World War II from the need to identify German spies hiding amongst the general populace with ‘Hello Jerry! Explain the LBW law’. Post-war, public health was on the agenda with ‘Pants down, cup and cough’, ‘Don’t give your head lice names’ and ‘If one’s hack is black’, which compared a ‘handkerchief oyster’ to the ‘thoracic rainbow chart’ to determine how many cigarettes were needed to restore vitality.
In the 1950s, a trilogy of PIFs extolled family values and the domestic farming industry within a sophisticated love story that became the inspiration for the ‘Oxo family’ adverts: ‘How will you attract a husband if you don’t eat meat?’ informed vulnerable young spinsters on the perils of vegetarianism, followed by ‘The way you boil my brawn’ and ‘It wasn’t lard that broke my heart’.
Many themes have been explored since, including ‘If it foams, leave it alone’, warning of the perils of eating floating fish from polluted waterways. Child safety in cars with ‘Don’t leave baby on the backseat, put it on the dashboard!’ and the ever-popular dental ‘You won’t get toothache Marjorie if I pull them all out’.
Along with Tarantino, the government are employing other successful Hollywood directors. Michael Bay’s kitchen safety PIF ‘Don’t put that in the toaster, asswipe!’ which came in on budget, despite the cost of transforming a toaster into a huge robot. Also in the pipeline are Woody Allen’s comedy about the security implications of children innocently hacking a nuclear facility, Martin Scorsese’s nightmare vision concerning back-street geneticists fertilising human eggs spliced with raw kebab DNA and Mike Leigh’s poignant northern melodrama about eating fistfuls of soil.