Year: 1976 / 2009
Original Format: 16mm
Running Time: 30 mins
Directed and Produced by: Ron Mann

Made by Ron Mann when he was 16, Flak is a gritty improvised drama screening for the first time in 30 years as part of this retrospective. Influenced by John Cassavetes' Shadows, Michelangelo Antonioni's The Red Desert, and above all, Robert Kramer's classic film Ice, Mann's working title was Viva La Dynamite, a phrase borrowed from Anaïs Nin. 

But Flak isn't about blowing stuff up-it's about inaction. The film emphasizes boredom, inertia, and our tendency to talk about problems while being unable or unwilling to act. 

As the film progresses, its ragtag protagonists wander the city, work, play street hockey, and sit around debating political change. Suffering because of polluted air from a nearby gypsum plant, one young man registers a protest with his member of Parliament; another advocates bombing. Both efforts appear impotent. For Mann, Flak was a metaphor for the apolitical spirit of the 1970s. Raw, direct, restrained, and impressive, 

Flak is a look into an unpolished Toronto of the past, and an insightful window onto current social predicaments. - Astra Taylor.