Canada's Hollywood: The Canadian State And Feature Films

Canada's Hollywood: The Canadian State And Feature Films - Ted Magder This is a converted Ph.D. thesis, and it reads like it: it has that shape that academics recognize. Introductory theory, the meat of the matter, somewhat redundant summary, and a last few paragraphs in which the opinionizing, so carefully repressed through the bulk of the work, is allowed to break through. :-) It's also inevitably somewhat dated, having been published in 1993. Nonetheless, it does provide answers to a question that has occasionally perplexed me, and, I'm sure many other Canadians - why have successive Canadian governments, always so keen to trumpet nationalism in cultural matters as a major necessity to keep Canada from being swallowed by the US cultural behemoth, been so completely ineffectual in fostering a Canadian feature film industry, as opposed to their generally good success in radio and, one might argue, some moderate success in television?

Magder's book answers that question with an examination of the structure of the industry itself; with discussions of the alignment of Canadian commercial interests with the Hollywood machine over the course of the twentieth century; and with a look at the larger political movements (the Free Trade movement in the '80s, for instance, which clashed abruptly with emerging notions about restricting American distributors in Canada) that affected federal policy on the funding of the film industry. He does bring in some comparisons from other countries, such as Britain, faced with similar problems, but I would have liked more. Interestingly enough, he doesn't touch with a ten-foot pole, except by fleeting allusion, the one factor I would automatically add to his equation: the ingrained and learned disdain of Canadian cultural *consumers* for the Canadian cultural product. (I'd say it's not nearly as bad now as it was in my youth, when "Canadian literature" and "Canadian film" were considered to be near synonyms for "bad literature" and "bad film"). Hard to measure, but not hard to document, I would think.

Anyway, this was, for me, an interesting read.