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CTV Television Network, 1989. VHS cassette, 30:00 min., $50.00
Distributed by CTV Program Sales, 42 Charles St. E., Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1T5

Grades 6 and up/Ages 11 and up
Reviewed by Virginia Davis.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Quick-cut techniques of modern TV and the punch of pop music capture attention in this strong message against drinking and driving. A teen couple at yet another drinking party dance to a battle. She: "You shouldn't drive." Watching is a silent male - and his eminence grise begins to fascinate.

The boy begins the classic protests, each parried in a snappily edited response by our suddenly talkative "Watcher." "I'm OK; I'm not that drunk" precedes a dramatic sequence showing a helmeted driver tackling an obstacle course after one... then more drinks. After four drinks the deteriora­tion in his driving skills needs no comment. Protest number 2, "I'll be careful; we won't be stopped," is quickly shot down. She is stopped - and the Watcher reviews the conse­quences: ninety days in jail; driver's license suspended for twelve months; criminal record for life. Protest number 3, "What can happen?" earns a barked "Lots" and a colour-slide sequence of mauled human bodies. Most memora­ble - a severed foot. Ultimate protest number 4, "It's not like I'm hurting anyone but myself," is met with a sequence of close-up comments from grieving relatives remembering young people gone forever. The final is a young mother reviewing the permanent brain damage of the child beside her, her surviving child, and the final sound is of the inhuman wail that is now the girl's only sound.

Back to the central couple: he gives up the car keys and the two exit to a cab. A vicious accident suddenly appears, and the boy comments. The cabbie responds, "I didn't see anything - but there was a terrible accident right there twenty years ago. Stupid, drunken driver killed himself and his girl friend." Suddenly, a death certificate that has been intercut several times appears in completion. The hand of our Watcher attaches a photograph to it. It is, of course, his. He was the loser on that night twenty years ago.

A final sequence reviews the appall­ing statistics for Alberta (alone) on highway deaths and license suspen­sions. This is the first major reminder that the video was produced for the Alberta Solicitor General to educate young people. These local figures in no way destroy the video's power as an addition to any program warning of the dangers of substance abuse.

One small reservation concerns dramatic timing. In spite of the high effect of the sequence of relatives' statements, the segment is too long. It's out of balance with the previous response sections - and there is a loss, instead of the desired gain, in emotional impact. This is, however, a minor concern in what is a fine piece, selected as a "Notable" non-print production for 1990 by the panel convened by the CM Editorial Board that presented the CLA Notables at the annual Canadian Library Association conference in 1990.

Virginia Davis, Maclean Hunter Library Services, Mississauga, Ont.
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