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Nobody Waved Goodbye

Nobody Waved Good-bye

(Départ sans adieux)

Year: 1964
Language: English
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 80 min
Director: Don Owen
Producer: Don Owen, Roman Kroitor
Executive Producer: Tom Daly
Writer: Don Owen
Cinematographer: John Spotton
Editor: Donald Ginsberg, John Spotton
Sound: Roger Hart
Music: Eldon Rathburn
Cast: Lynne Gorman, Jack Beer, Ron Taylor, Toby Tarnow, John Vernon, John Sullivan, Claude Rae, Charmion King, Julie Biggs, Peter Kastner, Robert Hill, Ivor Barry
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

This docudrama is key in the development of English-Canadian cinema. Universally panned by Canadian critics on its initial release, it was later so warmly received in New York that it was re�€'released in Canada, where it achieved considerable success (and a number of "second�€'thought" re­views).

Peter (Kastner) is an 18-year-old who lives with his parents and sister in a middle-class wasteland in a suburban Toronto in the early 1960s. Peter rebels against the moral and material values he thinks his family stands for. He argues with his parents, mocks his sister's fiancé (Taylor) and skips school. He borrows his father's new car without permission, is arrested for dangerous driving and must report to a probation officer (Sulli­van).

His girlfriend Julie (Biggs) shares his resistance to parental values but tends to accept her mother's (Gorman) directions. After an argument with his mother, Peter leaves home and gets a room in a lodging house and a job as a parking attendant. The owner (Vernon) implies he is allowed to cheat the customers as long as he doesn't con the regulars.

When his parents learn he has failed part of his final examinations, they offer to pay for extra tuition if he returns home and stops seeing Julie. He refuses, and when Julie also leaves home, he asks his father for a loan so they can go away together. When his father indignantly turns him down, Peter, in a rage, steals money and a car and drives off with Julie. Realizing what he has done, Julie demands he go back. Peter refuses; then Julie tells him she is pregnant and insists that he stop. He lets her out then drives away alone.

It was the first film entirely pho­tographed with the lightweight, NFB�€'invented camera and the Nagra sound recorder, which had the capability of synchronizing sound and picture. The shooting script was only about 30 paragraphs long and merely described the scenes. Dialogue and acting were improvised, and each scene was shot in chronological order, often using a handheld camera and lapel mikes in place of a boom.

Despite its technical roughness, the result conveys an ex­traordinary sense of intimacy, immediacy and spontaneity that focuses more attention on the characters and the theme (which is more an attack on middle�€'class values than a portrait of adolescent rebellion). It has retained its freshness and appeal and its concerns seem no less relevant today. Nobody Waved Good-bye was originally slated as a half-hour docudrama on juvenile delinquency for the NFB.