Release date: April 14, 1974
Canadian distributor: New Cinema Enterprises
Montreal Main explores the growing friendship between Frank, a man in his late 20s, and Johnny, a 12–year–old boy. This friendship comes increasingly to trouble Johnny’s liberal but conventional parents. It even troubles the gay community on the Main where Frank hangs out. A parallel story explores the troubled courtship between Bozo (Allan Moyle), Frank’s best friend, and Jackie (Holden), a young woman visiting Johnny’s parents. These intertwining narratives gravitate around two opposing worlds, two competitive philosophical attitudes. The existentialist position represented by Bozo and his gay friends, Stephen (Lack) and Peter (Brawley), doesn’t assume it knows the emotional priorities of existence. These characters discover their emotions through experience, by acting out different roles – in Bozo’s case, often with sadistic insistence. The essentialist position, on the other hand, represented by Jackie and Johnny’s parents, assumes that the emotional priorities of human nature are a given. One simply has to mature into them. Caught between these life assumptions are both Johnny and Frank—Johnny because, at 12 years of age, he is not yet an independent agent, and Frank, because he is so afraid of who he is and of what he might become. These two attitudes are crosscut throughout the film, often with ironic effect.
Most of the cast in Montreal Main were not actors and this is the only film they ever made. With the exception of Allan Moyle’s character, the rest of the cast used their real first names.
Also see: Montreal Main: Uncertain Identities.