During the 1960s and early ’70s in Canada nationalism flourished. There was real concern about us becoming a branch-plant country to the United States. So we made an effort to develop the proper levers to control our economy. We also pushed our cultural distinctiveness by investing money in the sector and encouraging artists to create work that reflected our unique history and identity.
Don Shebib’s classic 1970 film Goin Down the Road is a perfect example of the cultural ferment that was going on then. It tells the story of two men from Newfoundland the Maritimes (then an impoverished region with a thriving fishery and little else) who leave the island region as many of their fellow “Newfies” had been forced by economic necessity to do, to seek work elsewhere.
This was pre-Fort McMurrary, so for the two men Toronto is the place to be. It’s a big culture shock, though. And Shebib captures their struggle to adapt very forcefully.
In 2011, Shebib made a sequel called Down the Road Again. This weekend, the RPL Theatre is screening both movies. Goin’ Down the Road shows tonight at 9 p.m. and Friday at 7 p.m. The sequel screens Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.
Here’s the trailer to the latter.
Also this weekend, New Dance Horizons is presenting a dance performance by Lee Su-Feh (pictured at left) of the Vancouver-based company Battery Opera. The performance is titled The Whole Beast, and it explores the theme of food, memory and desire. The Whole Beast runs tonight, Friday and Saturday night at NDH’s studio at 2207 Harvey St. at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 Adults, $20 Students & Seniors. For more info call 525-5393.