The Great Northwest
PROD CO Rodeo Film Company
In 1958, four women explored 5,200 kms of the Pacific Northwest and assembled a scrapbook of photographs, notes and ephemera gathered during their travels. More than 50 years later, Matt McCormick stumbled across this keepsake in a thrift store. Uncommonly inspired by the scrapbook, he set out to recreate the friends’ journey, winding his way through Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. And while Yellowstone, Glacier and Crater Lake National Parks all receive their requisite visits, McCormick also calls in on dive bars, burger stands and kitschy souvenir shops.
With skilfully composed shots of landmarks evoking immaculate postcards, this emerges as a poetic examination of how a half-century has impacted these majestic landscapes and roadside attractions. On some occasions, the degree of preservation is astounding, with sleepy communities seemingly untouched by time. Similarly, the sight of a lone buffalo roaming alongside a highway or cattle clogging another stretch of road suggests that, in some respects, the region remains untamed. Granted, "progress" has claimed its share of victims. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell: they paved "the wickedest city in America" and put up an interstate highway. Sure to strike a chord with admirers of FOUND Magazine or Douglas Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada, McCormick’s film will also resonate strongly with anyone who’s ever been taken aback by the Northwest’s myriad wonders… "A glorious celebration of roadside Americana…” —Mark Andrews, Screen