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Green, and unusually sunny

The Douglas Coupland-scripted film 'Everything's Gone Green' (already abridged to 'EGG' by some) screened for the third time this blindingly sunny morning, and was again overrun. This is a star-struck city where the free news rags regularly report which Hollywood greats have been spotted drinking in local bars or letting their dogs foul the pavements, but locals are forever irked by the fact that their city so rarely stars in films as itself. In EGG, it does, and Vancouverites are happy.

It is equally revealing that even before the film has gone on general release here in Canada, the debate is already going on as to whether or in what way it deserves being called 'Canadian'. This being maybe the last place on earth where 'nation building' is apparently still policy, film boards and bookshops alike make special provision for what they call 'Canadian Content', also known as Can-Con. So is Coupland's film Can-Con? Independent-minded film artists round here resent the description, blaming can-con stipulations for formulaic references to a somewhat plasticky Canadian-ness in national film output.

EGG certainly does not deserve association with that. One could argue the Coupland is Canada's most successful literary export. Moreover, he does capture a very peculiar Pacific-Northwestern atmosphere (which, inasmuch as British Columbia is part of Canada, certainly is Canadian). There are mountains, beaches and woodland - but then, those things are hard to avoid in this spectacularly sited city. The film never gives the impression of driving home a point, whether about Canadianness or anything else. If anything, its loose narrative and somewhat elliptical character development share a Coupland-ian atmosphere familiar from his writings, and one feels that neither the author nor the viewer have much reason to worry about where this story belongs.

Then again, the lingering sense of rootlessness, the patchwork identities, the shallowness of urban history which this film touches upon light-handedly do very much belong to Vancouver and Western Canada. For viewers abroad, EGG presents a window on more of what characterizes this region than just the scenery, and its gentle humour and observant eye should translate. Along with Vancouverites, then, the proponents of 'Can-con' should be happy.


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