Canada, 1991. Directed by Kevin McMahon. 89 min. NR
This ambitious and skilfully realized documentary, a landmark in Canadian documentary films, sets out to capture the awesome beauty of Niagara Falls, the crass industries that have risen up around the Falls, and the odd obsessions of the people drawn to them. Director Kevin McMahon, a Niagara Falls native and former journalist at the St. Catharines Standard, investigates the high eccentricity and profound tragedy that inhabit this border town and tourist trap which is often referred to as the Canadian capital of kitsch. One man casually recalls the fools he has seen tumble over the Falls to their deaths, including his own brother. A Love Canal mother speaks with cold rage about the birth defects visited upon the children born near that chemical cesspool, while ecology experts show us birds and fish that surpass in their mutated hideousness anything in the town’s Freaks of Nature Museum. The film’s music was composed by NAC member Kurt Swinghammer.