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Pushing Boundaries: Canadian Vintage Independent Films

The Calgary Cinematheque is pleased to present “Pushing Boundaries: Canadian Independent Films of the ‘60s and ‘70s”, a series devoted to four rare and important works of Canadian cinema, including: High (Larry Kent, 1967), Montreal Main (Frank Vitale, 1972), A Married Couple (Allan King, 1969), and The Rubber Gun (Allan Moyle, 1977). These films represent a forgotten moment in Canadian cinema, featuring gritty, urban themes and direct cinema techniques.

The Event
Pushing Boundaries takes place the weekend of November 21 and 22, 2008, and a number of events are planned as part of the series.

Pushing Boundaries: Screenwriting Panel
The Department of English, University of Calgary, and the Calgary Cinematheque present a panel on the art of screenwriting.
When: Friday, November 21, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Where: The Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary
What: The panel will feature four Canadian independent directors – Larry Kent, Frank Vitale, Allan King and Allan Moyle – and will be moderated by the critic, scholar and teacher, Geoff Pevere. This event is free and open to the public.

Pushing Boundaries: Friday Screening
Screening Times: A Married Couple, Allan King – 7:00 PM & High, Larry Kent – 9:00 PM
Date: Friday, November 21
Where: The Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Road NW
*directors in attendance * Intro and Q & A by visiting film critic Geoff Pevere.

Pushing Boundaries: Saturday Screening
Screening Times: Montreal Main, Frank Vitale - 7:00 PM & The Rubber Gun, Allan Moyle, 9:00 PM
Date: Saturday, November 22
Where: The Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Road NW
*directors in attendance * Intro and Q & A by visiting film critic Geoff Pevere.
**Reception to follow.

Individual screenings: $12 Non-members, $10 Members/Students/Seniors
Two-pack: $20 Non-members/ Members/Students/Seniors
Four-pack: $30 Non-members/ Members/Students/Seniors

High (Larry Kent, 1967, 80 min., 16mm)
A young, amoral couple living amorously in Montreal and Toronto, and unable to make ends meet, take to seducing men and robbing them. Kent’s most experimental film to date, leaping between black and white and colour stock and featuring a hallucinogenic credit sequence, it was banned by censors on its premier screening at the Montreal Film Festival, but subsequently supported by Festival jury members Jean Renoir and Fritz Lang. One of the original English-Canadian auteurs, Larry Kent produced, wrote and directed a number of enigmatic, personal and powerful dramas during the sixties and early seventies.

Montreal Main (Frank Vitale, Montreal, 1972, 88 min, 16mm)
Frank Vitale stars as a gay, misunderstood, 1960’s-ish artist living on Blvd. St.Laurent, who befriends a gay teenage boy from the suburbs. His friends and the boy’s parents struggle to come to terms with the relationship. Notable for dealing with members of Montreal’s marginalized gay and artistic communities, this film is an exploration of age difference in a homosexual relationship in a very personalized way. Frank Vitale shot and starred in this, his first feature film, after co-directing Country Music with Allan Moyle in 1971. Montreal Main was showcased at the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema in 2005.

A Married Couple (Allan King, Toronto, 1969, 96 min., 16mm)
One of the key films in this period that tested the boundaries of documentary and fiction. Shot over ten weeks, as a documentary about a couple experiencing problems in the seventh year of their marriage, it was released as a fiction feature. In focusing on moments of conflict, King fashioned a very dramatic film out of the seventy hours of footage obtained. One of the most successful and durable filmmakers to emerge in Canada during the 1960’s, Allan King built a career upon challenging the conventional wisdom of what Canadian filmmaking ought to be. His many documentaries and fiction features include Warrendale, Who Has Seen the Wind, Termini Station and Dying at Grace. In 2002 he was given a retrospective at the Toronto International Film Festival, showing seventeen of his films.

The Rubber Gun (Allan Moyle, 1977, 86 min., 16mm)
The sequel to Montreal Main, featuring many of the same characters playing themselves, with Moyle playing Bozo, a sociology student who believes that drugs have a positive effect on group dynamics. He becomes involved with Steve, a gay artist/drug dealer who is also guru to a street community. Bozo completes his thesis on Steve while the film’s audience is left with a very negative impression of the drug culture. Allan Moyle is a Canadian film director who has made several commercially successful films in the United States and Canada, including Pump Up the Volume, New Waterford Girl and Weirdsville. The Rubber Gun reflects the sensibilities of his community of Montreal filmmakers in the seventies (he was an actor in Montreal Main) and the fast and loose “direct cinema” style of the time.

Geoff Pevere
Geoff Pevere has been writing, broadcasting and teaching about movies and media for over twenty years. As a critic, his work has appeared in numerous international publications, periodicals and anthologies. The first program coordinator of the Toronto International Film Festival's Perspective Canada program, he is also the co-author of the national bestseller Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey. Currently, he is a book critic with the Toronto Star.


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