Long before 'Reality TV,' Canadian filmmaker Allan King caused a stir by mixing people's private and public lives in his 1969 documentary A Married Couple. This observational cinema piece, which took an unscripted look at the urban Edwards family, was deemed too contentious to air by commissioning network CTV on the grounds of excessive nudity and obscenity. Nevertheless, the documentary was accepted by the Cannes festival, and it is now cited as a milestone in realist filmmaking. In Allan King's A Married Couple, Zoe Druick examines the film in the context of late 1960s cinematic and cultural movements. Through a scene-by-scene synopsis and an analysis of contemporary responses to the piece, she traces A Married Couple's influence on documentary and Canadian filmmaking. The fifth volume in the Canadian Cinema series, this work is an accessible and engaging introduction to a controversial film and its fascinating director.
Zoe Druick is an associate professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University.
1. Introduction 2. Observational Feature Filmmaking and the "Dramaturgical Perspective" 3. A Married Couple as Documentary Melodrama 4. Promotion and Reception 5. Imitation of Life? Toward a New Theory of Documentary Mimesis 6. Conclusion: The Legacy of A Married Couple 7. Appendix