Goin' down the Road
Goin' down the Road (1970), Don SHEBIB's first (and perhaps best) feature-length film, is also widely recognized as marking the beginning of the FILM INDUSTRY in English Canada.
Goin' down the RoadGoin' down the Road follows the amusing but pathetic exploits of Pete and Joey, two unemployed Maritimers on their way to Toronto to seek their fortune. When the prestigious jobs they expected do not materialize, they are forced to work in menial, low-paying jobs in a bottle factory and a carwash. Joey gets a waitress pregnant, marries her and moves into a dream apartment with furniture bought on time. Meanwhile, Pete has higher ambitions which also go unrewarded. When their seasonal jobs disappear, they are forced to move in together. Desperate, they decide to rob a store at Christmas. After botching this job too, they decide, in desperation, to head west.
Goin' down the Road (1970), Don SHEBIB's first (and perhaps best) feature-length film, is also widely recognized as marking the beginning of the FILM INDUSTRY in English Canada. It takes as its theme the path westwards Maritimers have historically taken - first to Toronto, the "centre" of English Canada, and then "out west" as a source of cheap migrant labour. Documentary authenticity, social realism and artistic sensitivity fuse with Shebib's ongoing filmic pre-occupation with the subject of male friendship and male bonding. Pete and Joey, the film's offbeat, working-class protagonists, fit into the tradition of buddy/loser road movies released in North America after the phenomenal success of Easy Rider in 1969. However, the uncanny precision with which they capture and dramatize a dilemma in which many English Canadians find themselves - how to construct a national identity from an acute awareness of regionalism, class diversity and marginality - link them inextricably with the Canadian experience.
Testimonies to the film's landmark status in the arena of Canadian feature filmmaking (and Canadian culture generally) include its selection in 1992 as one of 7 fiction films shown at the NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA to celebrate the 25th anniversary of TELEFILM CANADA, and its inclusion in 1996 as one of 10 films honoured with postage stamps to commemorate 100 years of cinema in Canada.
See also Canadian FEATURE FILM.