Canada’s latest film delves into its archive in an attempt to raise spirits and remind us that boredom is OK
Stemming from the team’s itch to continue creating during lockdown, the film features clips from its impressive back catalogue and explores the creative potentials of boredom.
- 18 May 2020
- Ruby Boddington
While some creatives have been able to continue as usual, or at least tweak their practice during this period of lockdown, for many who work in photography and film, that has not been the case. Requiring large teams, studios, and lots of equipment, continuing to create in the same way they did previously has simply not been possible. It’s a problem production company Canada has certainly experienced as its teams across London and Barcelona have been working from home.
“It’s weird for us at Canada not to be making anything,” Canada’s head of research, Álvaro Gimeno, tells us. “This feeling set in quickly, and we found ourselves inventing things, itching to create and put our energy towards something.” The main goal, Alba Barneda (head of production) adds was to “raise spirits” and since the team wasn’t able to shoot during confinement, it thought “what if we look to our archive and give new meaning to the work we already have? Like a second life for the images we once created.”
The result is a compilation of clips from Canada’s impressive back catalogue, made in collaboration with Flirt agency, and features some very familiar faces (like The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and Rosalía) reminding us of the creative potential of boredom. Álvaro, who was responsible for diving into Canada’s archives, explains: “We talked about this concept of how boredom can be a breeding ground for creativity. So the structure of the film in two parts came rather quickly to us: the first part with more static scenes where characters look bored and a second part with dynamic scenes describing a burst of creativity. It was pretty straightforward.”
In order to refine such a mammoth task, the team imposed some conditions on Álvaro’s research. All clips should, of course, take place indoors, they should be taken from a fair amount of Canada’s iconic films and the complete roster of directors should be represented. “As I kept pulling scenes and played around with them in the edit, I started to create links between them,” he explains. “Some were more formal, others more conceptual, some helped to underpin the structure and others simply got along very well with a certain musical cue and just felt right.” It was nailing the soundtrack which really helped to bring everything together as it “brought the playful tone we were looking for – it created a juicy contrast with the images and its sort of funfair melody linked it to the evasion children experience when they get lost in their thoughts,” he continues.
A funfair is perhaps the best description for what Canada has produced as it certainly does capture the rollercoaster of emotions that anyone living under lockdown experiences, sometimes on a daily basis. Starting off somewhat slowly, even melancholic, the perspective of the film flips around the half way mark, as bizarre and surreal scenarios begin to play out. In turn, it mirrors that magic moment when you are so incredibly mind-numbingly bored that your brain can do little else but find creative and innovative things for you to do, even if it’s simply letting your imagination run wild.
On why the team chose to elevate this notion of creativity from boredom, Álvaro says that while nobody gets bored on purpose, they wanted to remind everyone that embracing boredom within your creative process can lead to great things. “Boredom just happens every now and then and there’s nothing wrong with it,” he adds. “So I think it is more about not feeling guilty or anxious if you get bored, and just relishing all the positive things that can come out of it.” Continuing to point out that we live in a time where it seems like you are not even allowed to be bored and that inefficiency might as well be a “mortal sin”, Álvaro concludes that “boredom is definitely underrated. We need to protect it as it can be the seed of reflection and creativity.”
Alongside the film, creative agency Flirt has created a series of stills which riff of the concepts of embracing tedium and allowing yourself the luxury of being unproductive. Using clever copywriting alongside stills from the film, each image pokes fun at the monotony of most of our current routines in a knowing and sarcastic way. This, Chloe Cordon, Flirt’s creative director tells us was to acknowledge the pressure many have felt to be “finishing the never-ending passion project you have on the go, starting a new one, creating new art or writing or learning a new skill or something,” during the lockdown. And to say exactly the opposite: “Permanent productivity isn’t the message we want to get across, and we wanted there to be a side to the campaign that reassured people that whatever they’re doing, it’s cool, it’s creative, and it’s important.”
Finally, on what he hopes viewers may take away from the team’s deep dive into its archive, Álvaro firstly says that he’d be glad to know that it actually helped someone to stay home. But, “on a deeper level, if a single soul has felt somehow inspired by it to create something of their own, that’d be cool. Even deeper, if someone actually decodes the underlying boredom/creativity discourse, that would definitely make me very happy.” However, if it simply makes someone’s day a little more pleasant that would, in turn, make Álvaro’s day.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.