At the time it was released in 1971, the hockey meets hippie romance Face-Off was something of a revelation for most Canadians: it was the first Canadian movie many had actually paid to see; it was the first Canadian movie not only to address but to full-on bodycheck some uber-hoser themes as hockey, violence and the role of women in player’s lives, and it was the first — and remains — movie to contain 35mm footage of Canada’s game being played by real players. That the movie was something of a hit also helped pave the way for the Tax Shelter era just waiting in the wings: Canada could make commercial movies, Canadians would actually go and see them, and maybe — just maybe — we could actually compete with Hollywood on our own terms. Optimistic? You bet. Unrealistic? Arguably. But worth re-purposing an entire national industry? Apparently yes.
The movie’s star — alongside the luminous flower child and former Razzle Dazzle host Trudy Young — was the ex-model Art Hindle, who plays Billy, a promising young small town prospect who comes to learn — painfully — the sometimes ice and love don’t mix. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to love the ice more than anything. (As the coach, played by the stalwartly imposing John Vernon, keeps telling him.) Replete with period-specific conflicts pitting countercultural pacifism against organized-sport regimentation and brutality, some incredible real-life hockey action played by real-life players; and an irresistibly vivid glimpses of a Toronto mostly now vanished, Face Off is as thick as slice of pure Canadiana as anyone could ask for.
Art Hindle, star not only of Face Off but such Tax Shelter-era classics as Black Christmas, Porky’s, The Surrogate and The Brood, will be in attendance to talk about the film, the Tax Shelter industry, and the persistent dreams of a commercial Canadian film Industry.
None Currently Scheduled