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date: 21 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Canadian cinema has evolved precariously between the myth of its encounter with an implacable nature and the sense that it is the product of a deterministic technology. Both positions derive from the Canadian intellectual tradition, particularly as articulated by Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan. Frye stands behind Bruce Elder’s work on film philosophy, which, paired with Frye’s notion that movies derive from melodrama, provides a productive framework for understanding the work of both Guy Maddin and John Greyson. Similarly, McLuhan’s writings on technology inform the work of David Cronenberg and Joyce Wieland, while Atom Egoyan has taken up McLuhan’s notion of the global village. Complicating these influences has been Canada’s proximity to the most powerful film empire on earth, which has tended to push it toward documentary film—as in the work of John Grierson—and away from the commercially oriented products generated south of the border.

Keywords: technology, Frye, McLuhan, Bruce Elder, Guy Maddin, John Greyson, David Cronenberg, Joyce Wieland, Atom Egoyan, John Grierson.

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