Atom Egoyan really pulled one out of the bag when he picked Skip Tracer to screen at the Vancity Theatre for National Canadian Film Day on April 19. The 1977 film offers a fascinating window into Vancouver the way she used to be—cold, mean, running with desperate characters fighting to survive on the edge of nowhere.
Here’s what we wrote last year when this cult film par excellence returned to the Cinematheque for one of its periodic (and always packed) engagements:
“Made a little more than 10 years before Expo by rookie filmmaker Zale Dalen, Skip Tracer captures Vancouver as a frigid city-on-the-brink, full of isolation and hard light, the perfect interzone for its tale of cold-blooded debt collector John Collins (David Petersen) whose sociopathic cool begins to crack as he races for his fourth consecutive “Man of the Year” award at a seedy finance company.
“Skip Tracer is really coming out of the reality of that time,” says [director Zale] Dalen, in a call to the Straight from his home in Nanaimo. “I’m very proud of lots of things about it, and one of them is that it was kind of predictive. This whole consumer society was just gearing up. That’s a lot of what the film is about and people recognize that as kind of an interesting historical thing.”
He was clearly tapping into a fresh current of global anxiety that transcended the film’s regional voice. Skip Tracer was met with considerable domestic acclaim on its release in 1977, but an intense cult devotion took hold in the UK and Germany in the ‘80s. With each homecoming, it returns to a denser and ever more callous Vancouver.
Read the full story here.
Zale Dalen will be in attendance when Skip Tracer screens at 4:30 p.m. at the Vancity Theatre at on Wednesday (April 19). Admission is free. National Canadian Film Day 150 is the world's largest film festival, featuring more than 1,700 free event across Canada.