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Canada, 1983 (MIFF 1992, Spotlight MacGillivray)

Director: William MacGillivray

Bill MacGillivray's first feature, little appre­ciated at the time of its release and previously unseen in Australia, is a small gem. Stations is a road-movie-on-rails that replaces the cliches of the genre with a choughtful gaze, as a seemingly successful man in his early thirties has cause to consider the direction of his life.

Tom is a successful television journalist whose career suddenly fumbles when a docu­mentary he is making on the question of failure leads to the suicide of one of his closest friends. After an imposed vacation he is assigned a more grass-roots story, which involves taking the train coast-to-coast to capture aspects of the Canadian identity, interviewing the 'average' Canadian at whistle stops across the country. As a chapter of Canadian history has closed with the gradual disappearance of the railroad, so too for Tom, who by the time he reaches Newfoundland, has- reached the end of an epoch in his fife.

Stations clearly signals the major preoccu­pations to be found in MacGillivray's later work — characters seeking to clarify and take charge of their lives; the quest for Canadian national and regional identities; the impact of modernization; and the interaction of art and life in 'daily use'. Quite ahead of its time, Sta­tions employs the self-reflexive use of images (television, video, Polaroids, home movies, etc.) to understand and articulate personal his­tories and comment on the action. With its fragmented narrative, existential concerns and meditative modalities; Stations is reminiscent of early "Wim Wenders and surprisingly mature for a first feature, while its explorations of identity, memory and the relationship between the individual and landscape are qumtessentially Canadian.

See also...


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