Bloodied But Unbowed looks back at glory days of Vancouver punk

D.O.A., in the early days of Vancouver punk.

Filmgoers and music fans will have a chance to see two rarely-screened movies this month, including one about the early days of the Vancouver punk scene.

Bloodied But Unbowed is director Susanne Tabata’s look back at the city and its explosion of musical creativity in the late seventies and early eighties. It screens Jan 29.

And on Jan. 24, Vancity Theatre is showing Border Radio. It’s a 1987 indie road movie starring L.A. punk musicians, including John Doe of X, and directed by the woman who would make Wayne’s World. Here’s a closer look at the two films.

Border Radio—In 1981, The Flesh Eaters released their now-classic album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die. The record featured a stellar lineup of L.A. punk/rockabilly musicians, including John Doe of X and Dave Alvin of the Blasters. The band was fronted by writer Chris D., who along with Doe and other musicians/actors, stars in Border Radio. Criterion, which released the movie on Blu-Ray and DVD, describes it as “a low-key, semi-improvised postpunk diary that took four years to complete.” In an essay for Criterion, Chris Morris calls the movie “a compelling picture of the Los Angeles punk-rock scene of the 1980s: what it was like on the inside—and what it was like inside the musicians’ heads.” (9 p.m. Jan 24 at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St.; musician/actor Chris D. and film programmer Kier-La Janisse will be in attendance)

A scene from Border Radio (1987).

Bloodied But Unbowed—Presented as part of The Image Before Us: A History of Film in British Columbia, The Cinematheque presents Bloodied but Unbowed. Susanne Tabata’s 2011 film is a fast-paced chronicle of Vancouver’s exploding punk-rock scene. Featured are such acts as D.O.A., Pointed Sticks, Young Canadians, the Modernettes, the Dishrags, and the Subhumans. According to, “The local scene has even become a defining cultural moment in Vancouver’s sense of itself. Bloodied but Unbowed combines great archival footage, loads of music, and interviews with key participants.” Vancouver writer/performer Phil Smith introduces the film. (8:30 p.m. Jan 29 at the Cinematheque, 1131 Howe St; director Susanne Tabata will be in attendance.)

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