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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...


Canada, 1987
... ... Life Classes stands as the definitive 'life-trans-formed-by-art movie, and MacGillivray's most fully realized film to date, a gently satirical yet deeply moving portrait of self-discovery. ..… More »


Canada, 1990
... ... With Understanding Bliss Bill MacGillivray returns to the emotional terrain and sheer filmmaking passion of Life Classes, bring­ing forth a new story about the power art has to transform … More »

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