Return to tiff.’s home page

Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Shopping Cart

Cowboy and Indian

Year: 1972
Language: English
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 45 min
Director: Don Owen
Cinematographer: Douglas Kiefer
Editor: Don Owen
Sound: Jim Jones
Music: Robert Markle, Gordon Rayner
Narration: Don Owen
Cast: Gordon Rayner, Robert Markle
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

Cowboy and Indian, a medium-length documentary made for the NFB in the early seventies about the artists Gordon Rayner and Robert Markle, explores male friendship. The film represents one of Owen’s most positive views of the artistic process and, to a lesser extent, his hometown. Markle, Rayner and assorted friends (including Owen, painter Graham Coughtry and actor Michael Sarrazin) drink, smoke pot, jam, paint, and drink some more. Art and play are again virtually synonymous here, though Owen never implies that creating art is merely a walk in the park. In some ways, it’s his most haunted film, full of intimations of mortality, but wildly vibrant and exuberant nonetheless. Once described as the most expensive home movie ever made anywhere, Cowboy and Indian is an account of a very different Toronto than the cold, hostile one portrayed in Nobody Waved Good-Bye. Here the city actually provides the possibility of community. In addition, Owen and his subjects take aim at stereotypes and cliches, satirizing the conventions of Hollywood movies.

By: Steve Gravestock

Related Entries