Road trip movies in which the main character goes on a journey with his pet is not that unusual in the annuals of cinema although the pet is usually a dog (Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, 2008) or a cat (Paul Mazursky’s Harry and Tonto, 1974). What makes Janiksen Vuosi (English title, The Year of the Hare, 1977) decidedly offbeat is that the protagonist Kaarlo Vatanen (Antti Litja) bonds with a hare that his car has hit and nurses it back to health as they wander into the wilderness. Vatanen, a marketing executive, has become completely disillusioned with modern life and tries to abandon everything – his career, his wife, his possessions – and get back to nature, living off the land and the kindness of strangers. In the process, he discovers a new best friend in the wounded hare, which is never given a name.
Back in the days before the VHS home video market exploded and Blockbuster became the obiquitous rental store, the 16mm film library was still a viable business in the non-theatrical college and educational markets. The decline would begin in the early eighties and by the end of the decade most 16mm distributors would be out of business. But during the peak years, this film format was affordable and easily accessible to all types of organizations (churches, schools, businesses and prisons) and also individuals who ran private film societies. Continue reading →