The Bitter Ash

Canada On Screen: Feature Films
Canada 1963. Dir: Larry Kent. 79 min. DCP

FREE SCREENING | In 1963, a 26-year-old UBC student named Larry Kent wrote and directed the first modern and truly Canadian feature made in Vancouver. Produced for a mere $5,000, this stylish, scandalous drama set against the sexual revolution was also, arguably, the first modern Canadian feature, predating Donald Owen’s Nobody Waved Goodbye by a year. Kent’s brash film follows the sexual shenanigans of a young man torn between adult responsibility and the freedoms offered by the emerging counterculture. Set to a free jazz score and imbued with New Wave visual energy, The Bitter Ash announced itself as something new and vital in Canadian cinema. A notorious nude scene saw it banned in many locales, but also made it highly popular on Canadian campuses! “A big piece of Canadian and B.C. film history ... The Bitter Ash is to Vancouver what La Dolce Vita is to Rome” (Brett Enemark).

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The Supreme Kid

Canada 1976. Dir: Peter Bryant. 90 min. DCP

FREE SCREENING | Rare screening! Writer-director Peter Bryant’s amiable comedy was the first feature made by an alumnus of the SFU Film Workshop, an important incubator of 16mm filmmaking in the 1960s and 1970s. (“What the Workshop does,” Bryant said in a contemporary Cinema Canada article, “is get people involved who are really interested in making films. No courses, nothing. That’s all they want to do.”) His episodic road movie follows Ruben (Frank Moore) and Wes (Jim Henshaw), two hippy-hobos who meet motley characters and have misadventures as they drift around B.C. Helen Shaver has one of her first big-screen roles, as does Terry David Mulligan. Praised for its easy-going attitude and feel for character and pacing, The Supreme Kid was one of the first B.C. indie features to screen at an international festival, appearing at Karlovy Vary (and Toronto). DCP courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

There will be a 15-minute intermission between The Bitter Ash and The Supreme Kid

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Introduced by David Spaner, author of Dreaming in the Rain: How Vancouver Became Hollywood North by Northwest (2003).


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This special Canada On Screen presentation of The Bitter Ash screens in conjunction with The Image Before Us: A History of Film in British Columbia - Take 3.

Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 6:00pm on Friday, January 30. For more information, call 604.688.8202.