Friday, July 07, 2006

Let me preface this by saying that I think Donald Shebib's Goin' Down the Road is a truly great film. It's particular brand of half scripted/half improvised social realism (actors interacting with non-actors on the street/scenes filmed in crowded, open bars) predates similar efforts by Larry Clark and Harmony Korine by about a quarter of a century. There is no judgement in Shebib's unsentimental treatment of his characters lives, and the film is largely devoid of directorial cues telling the viewer how to "feel." The ending (a darkened mirror image of the film's beginning) is quietly devastating. If you've ever wondered what those old timers living in the Vancouver downtown eastside were like as young men, it's all here.
BUT... for most of my life the only thing I knew about Goin' Down The Road was that it was the inspiration for SCTV's Garth and Gord and Fiona and Alice, one of the funniest spoofs on canadian culture I'd ever seen. So if you've never seen that, pull up a chair.