Director Don Owen recalls working with Tom Daly and the legendary Unit B and his groundbreaking improvised drama Nobody Waved Good-bye.
This interview is part of Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts.
This captivating short documentary profiles the young Canadian long-distance runner Bruce Kidd at 19 years old. Kidd eventually went on to win a gold and bronze medal at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and was a competing member of the 1964 Canadian Olympic team. Directed by Don Owen (Nobody Waved Good-bye, Toronto Jazz), the film is luminously photographed by John Spotton and features poetic commentary composed and spoken by the great Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden. The camera follows Kidd’s sprightly movements as he runs on piers, practice tracks, and finally, in an international race. Oblivious to the clapping crowds and the flash of cameras, he knows full well that in the long run it is the cold stopwatch that tells the truth.
This fictional feature follows a twenty-something man who is struggling to define his position in the world in early adulthood. He has left their parents' home but still has not made an home of his own. Our protagonist’s alienation is palpable; for him life is a game, not because he chooses to make it so, but because he is unable to make anything more of it. But for those who befriend him and eventually turn him loose again, his game is not enough. Filmed in Montreal, this classic by Don Owen (Nobody Waved Good-bye) explores the time-worn rite of passage of finding oneself in a world not built for rakish playfulness.
This feature documentary follows up on 2 important NFB documentaries that captured the turbulent year of 1967, a time when social and cultural revolution, as well as generational change, were on everyone’s mind. The first, Christopher’s Movie Matinée, followed the travels of 14 Toronto teenagers over the course of the summer, while the second, Flowers on a One-way Street, documented the conflict between the hippies of the day and Toronto City Council, over the future of the Yorkville neighbourhood, then Canada's counter-culture capital. More than 2 decades later, the filmmakers have sought out some of the films' participants, not as an exercise in nostalgia but to discover what traces remain in the lives of those who most deeply felt the impact of the '60s
In this feature drama, a wife takes the courageous decision to leave her 5 children at home and accompany her husband on his yearly summer tour as an itinerant photographer. This despite housework, routine and 14 years of marriage having created a mutual indifference. They travel through a turn-of-the-century countryside of narrow lanes and old-time weddings, but most importantly, to an eventual rediscovery of each other.
This short fiction tells the story of Eddie, a young man who "borrows" a motorbike parked in front of a store and takes his girl for a spin—a brash decision with disastrous and alienating consequences. The film, a commentary on a society that often offers youth little purpose or sense of accomplishment, is a play-by-play exploration of the clash between young people's impulsiveness and society's need for law and order.
Don Owen’s groundbreaking short drama tells the story of two young women who go to the city to work in a dress factory, and who share a room to ease their expenses and their loneliness. The film shows the currents that brought them together and the facets of their natures that first made them seem compatible but eventually drove them apart. Their story reflects, to a degree, the situation of anyone who has ever shared the life of another.
This informal black-and-white portrait of Leonard Cohen shows him at age 30 on a visit to his hometown of Montreal, where the poet, novelist and songwriter comes "to renew his neurotic affiliations." He reads his poetry to an enthusiastic crowd, strolls the streets of the city, relaxes in this three-dollar-a-night hotel room and even takes a bath.
Guilty of loving life! A dramatization of an actual court case in turn-of-the-century Québec. A lively, outgoing woman is accused of murdering her husband in collaboration with the hired hand. The townspeople do not appreciate her robust personality and the proceedings in court degenerate to a judgment of her character. Filled with stunning visual imagery, this feature film captures the spirit of the time and place. Particularly useful for those interested in history, law or women's issues. With English subtitles.
A feature drama about a girl torn between two cultures, the English-speaking community of Vancouver where she grew up and the French-speaking Québec where the film opens. Her uncertainty extends to her lovers, one from Vancouver who wants to take her home and the other from Québec who would like to continue their pleasant, if inconclusive affair. The settings show a Québec winter and British Columbia spring.
The film reflects the dilemma of an urban family whose private world is no longer proof against strains from outside. The head of the family, a Montréal businessman tormented by a sense of failure, seeks a new self-image in an out-of-town affair. His college son is drawn to student causes and a night-club singer. The youngest boy, confused and insecure, wants to run away from it all; and the mother, caught in the middle, no longer feels adequate as everyone's guide and protector. It is a familiar theme portrayed in moving, human terms.