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Flowers on a One-Way Street

Year: 1967
Language: English
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 57 min
Director: Robin Spry
Producer: Joseph Koenig
Writer: Robin Spry
Cinematographer: Douglas Kiefer, Martin Duckworth, James Fogel
Editor: Christopher Cordeaux
Sound: Russel Heise, Ron Alexander, Roger Lamoureux, Victor Merrill
Music: Ravi Shankar
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada
Robin Spry’s first major film is one of the best documentaries from the sixties to cover that brief moment in time when the hippie revolution was in full flower and hopes for implementing lasting social change ran high. Flowers on a One-Way Street takes as its subject a typical sixties "people versus power" confrontation: the attempt by young people to close Toronto’s Yorkville Avenue to traffic and the resistance by civic authorities. The resulting conflict began on the street, but the climactic battle was played out at a council meeting at City Hall.

Focusing on the leaders from each side (David Depoe of the Company of Young Canadians and Allen Lamport of Toronto City Council), the film offers a painful delineation of the generation gap and the frustrations of liberal social action. Production of the film itself provoked controversy in Toronto, where newspapers and police accused the National Film Board of initiating the street demonstrations, and in Montreal, where the nervous NFB management came close to cancelling production because of this reaction.   With music by The Beatles.

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