Psychotronic NFB: BABY BLUES (1990)

The National Film Board of Canada may be the nation’s venerable award-winning public film producer and distributor, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t weird gems lurking on the fringes of its impressive back catalogue.

As the NFB makes its films available for online viewing, it has so far passed over some of its strangest and coolest  titles such as HOT WHEELS, BEYOND KICKS  and GENTLEMAN JEKYLL AND DRIVER HYDE,  but there are occasional entries available for instant viewing that are worth checking out. This new column, “Psychotronic NFB,” attempts to filter through the earnest docs on social problems,  overserious animation and World War II newsreels to uncover the NFB’s weirdest works.

For our first entry, we’re looking at the NFB’s 1990 teen sexuality “conversation starter,”  BABY BLUES. Nobody does teen melodrama better than Canadians, and director Annie O’Donoghue pretends DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH didn’t already tackle this subject ad nauseum with her 24-minute ode to Jason and Kristen, two teens that like to get their freak on before heading off to cool group dates at the bowling alley. This one’s got it all–a soundtrack of hot sax licks, sniggering 25-year-old “teens” inflating condoms, field hockey action, infomercial production values and  badly dated fashions. Underneath it all, though, this is the same old “mental hygiene” style of educational short as seen extensively in the early 1950s.

Bizarrest moment: There’s a few (where does the jean-jacket wearing “voice of reason” disappear to?) but intercutting Kristen mixing the chemicals to take a pregnancy test with Jason making tea almost made me spit my cup of chamomile all over the screen.

Lesson learned: Being a pregnant teen is challenging enough, but then you also might get the “blues”! Guess they all should of paid attention in health sciences class…

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