Listen to the City
Running Time: 68 minutes
Producer/ Directed: Ron Mann
Featuring: Jack Layton, P.J. Sole, Jim Carroll, Sandy Horne and Michael Glassbourg
Associate Producer: Colin Brunton
Screenplay: Ron Mann, Bill Schroeder
Cinematographer: Rene Ohashi
Art Direction: Barbra Dunphy
Editing: Elaine Foreman
Sound: David Joliat
Music Score: Gordon Deppe
I see a new world. Do you see it?
If you listened to the city back in 1984, here's what it told you: there are dark days coming, and the only way to survive them is by being rich.
Made during the re-election year of Ronald Reagan, the election year of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the very beginnings of the shattering saving and loan scandal that would come to look like candy store shoplifting a generation on, Ron Mann's rare early non-documentary movie is like a downtown artist's poster collage of DIY urgency: from the opening sequence, in which the poet/punk Jim Carroll rises like Lazarus from his hospital bed and takes to the streets with a vertical IV drip and a message about better days, to the ensuing satirical depiction of a corporation coldly deciding to cut the unprofitable heart out of the city it calls home, the movie plays as fearless, street-art inspired pastiche: part experimental polemic, part political cartoon, part video art installation, part performance prank.
Just as Jim Carroll passes through its ominous depiction of a ruined Toronto, so does bp nichol, P.J. Soles, the late Jack Layton, Barry Callaghan, the Spoons' Sandy Horne and fellow activist-documentarist Peter Wintonick. All kinds of people urging us to listen. And all these years later and it's still pissed off. Just as it should be. - Geoff Pevere, Film Critic