European Tour ’73
(Canada, 15 min.)
Dir. Ross Munro
Watching another family’s home movies can often be a bore, but Ross Munro has fun sharing his family’s adventure in European Tour ’73. This energetic short doc sees the filmmaker reflect upon his family’s titular excursion to the other side of the pond. Munro opens up a box left behind by his father and revisits upon some Super 8 footage shot during the tour. He humorously plays the part of the ignorant tourist whilst pointing out all the sights they encountered along the way. Munro, his four brothers, and their parents breeze through London, Luxembourg, and (very briefly) Liechtenstein among other locales on a whirlwind tour that, seemingly, charts its path randomly and erratically.
There is method to the madness planned by Munro’s father, reflected in the zany style of the film itself, as the doc sobers up when the family arrives in Dachau, Germany. Reflecting upon the images of the family’s visit to the Nazi concentration camp, Munro grasps the significance of the tour for both his father and grandfather.
The film playfully acknowledges the juvenile lens through which the filmmaker viewed the tour at the time. Spunky animation mixes with the images from the family archive, while the introduction of black and white still photography late in the film helps guide its dramatic turn. Munro’s narration speaks of a young film geek who couldn’t stand the thought of missing an entire summer at the movies (welcome to 2020, younger Ross!) in a year that eerily parallels today. But the doc also speaks to the value of looking to the past to make sense of the present as the director narrates in a direct address to his sister, Sandra.
European Tour ’73 is a lot of fun as it shares one family’s personal slice of history. It imparts the value in passing these stories along between generations—or any friends and family members who weren’t able to take such a tour themselves.