By MAXWELL SWEENEY IT was blasphemy to present the mediocre and sprinkle it with holy water, said Fr. Agnellns Andrew, 0.F.M., when he emphasised the need for a high standard of religious productions on radio and TV during a talk on "Cinema and Television: Harps and Haloes" during the Cork Film Festival last week.
Fr. Agnellus, who suggested that the Festival's programme might be extended next year to include a new category, recordings of television shows, cornmented on the importance of television in religion.
On an ordinary Sunday, only 5.000,000 out of Great Britain's 50,000,000 people went to church; but about 25.000,000 listened to or saw religious programmes on radio and television.
It was therefore true to say that both media reached five times more people than all the bishops, priests, and parsons put together. This meant that, at last, religion had access to the minds and hearts of almost everyone in the country, if it had anything worthwhile to say.
As for the Cork International Film Festival itself, the organisers of it have made a virtue out of necessity. After its first year (this is its fifth) the International Film Producers' Association has. as part
of its policy of restricting the festival circuit, not approved it as a competitive event for feature films.
Now Cork has established itself, rather in the manner of Edinburgh, as a festival for documentaries, educational films, and cartoons, and it gives awards in these classifications.
Major film producers are invited to send features for screening, for it is features which bring in the public, but American and British producers have been seemingly disinterested-the only major producer-distributor group in England to be represented was Columbia Pictures with "The Three Worlds of Gulliver", which, despite its clever use of the Superdynamation technique for "shrinking" human figures, never rises to much more than mediocre entertainment.
But the continental countries have made the most of the opportunities for displaying their wares. Poland, with a delegation of four, has been emphasising the work of the post-war Polish cinema with such pictures as "Ashes and Diamonds", "Eroica". and "Night Train".