When Canadian filmmaker Clarke Mackey was eighteen, his mother gave up a promising career as an abstract expressionist painter to become a full-time political activist in Toronto. The year was 1969. Eleanor Mackey joined the Maoist group called The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). This group advocated for the overthrow of capitalism and the imperialist state. It was headed by a charismatic ideologue and his even more dogmatic disciples. Clarke’s brother Paul (aged 13) and sister Eva (aged 11) both joined the movement along with his mother. No one was prepared for the danger and turmoil that followed.
In this new documentary, Mackey digs deep into the visual and audio archives to tell a tale filled with youthful idealism, hubris, slapstick comedy and police brutality. Through the story of his family and other activists, Mackey explores the political upheavals of the late 1960s in Canada and what lessons they might provide for today.